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How to Successfully Sand Your Wall Cabinets

by Greg Keefer

You can create a new and beautiful finish on your wall cabinets by using proper sanding techniques. Look at the sanding process as the building block for the rest of your refinishing project.

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1. Preparation: Take the handles and drawer pulls off. If you leave hardware on your wall cabinet, you can cause inadvertent damage.

2. Start with good wood: Fix the defects on your wall cabinet doors and facing before you start sanding. Sometimes, you can draw out dents by letting a moist cloth sit on the dent for a half hour or so. Then, lightly apply heat to swell the wood. Repair nail holes and minor damage with a quality filler.

3. Go with the grain: Sand in the direction of the grain to avoid the scratchy look produced by cross-grain sanding. Stay with the grain on the inside of tight corners on molding and rails.

4. Hand sand with blocks: Crumpled sandpaper edges gouge and scratch, wear unevenly, and, eventually, take off as much skin as wood. Use hand sanding blocks for consistency. You can use a folded piece of sandpaper for tight spots, but do so with great care.

5. Sand sparingly: Overzealous sanding creates more problems than it solves. Belt sanders are especially prone to overuse. Electric sanders easily gouge the wood, tend to pull uncontrollably, and can leave unsightly marks when tipped or pressed improperly. When the cabinet piece looks smooth, stop sanding.

6. Keep the wood clean: When you change sandpaper grits, or notice sawdust build-up, wipe the wood thoroughly with a moist or specialized cleaning cloth.

7. Check your project: Repeat steps, if needed, to ensure your wall cabinets are as beautiful as they can be.

By using proper sandpapering techniques, you can create a successful wall cabinet refinishing project.

About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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