This woodworking tips card is about breaking the edges when sanding. We all know to sand the faces of our projects. However, sometimes we forget that the edges and the corners are important too. In fact, breaking the sharp edges is critical to getting a good finish. Here is why.
Breaking Sharp Edges and Corners
The reason that breaking the rough edges and sharp corners of your piece is important is for a couple reasons. The first is that wood finish does not stick to corners. The second, sharp places run the feel and enjoyment of your piece.
Finish and stain will not stick to a corner. It may color the area, but one bump or scuff and it will be gone. When you look at a corner or edge up close, it is very small. Small places like this do not hold finish very well.
When you are sanding your project, make sure to create a small radius on all of the edges and corners. This makes a transition between the two faces. It also creates an area that wood finish adheres to better than a sharp corner.
As you are sanding, treat the faces of the board first. As you sand the faces, you will naturally go over the edges. Once they are done, round the edges and corners to make the radius. If you do the edges first, when you sand the faces you will end up having to go back and add the radius again. So, do the faces first.
Breaking the Edges to Create a Good Feel
The second reason that breaking the edges and rounding the corners is important is that when you handle the piece, you do not want to feel sharp areas. Pointy corners and sharp edges are not fun to handle. They are noticeably different than the rest of the piece, and don’t feel smooth to the touch.
Take the time to break down all the edges, and carefully inspect the piece. With caution run your fingers along the edges and check for the radius. When you encounter an area that you missed, or that needs more work, start sanding.
Continue in this way until all the sharp areas have been addressed. Do one last inspection, and you are ready to finish the piece. With the edges and corners broken, the piece will handle better and finish better too.
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