How to Sand in Grooves: 7 Tricks and Tips for your Ease

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “small things matter.” Today, we are here to talk about the small things that matter in woodworks.

Sanding is a significant and mandatory part when you are doing some woodwork. It is indeed not an easy task; especially, when you need to sand in the grooves. If you are not aware of how to sand in grooves in the right way, things might be frustrating for you.

As an interior designer, I’ve always preferred delicate detailing. It includes a lot of grooves and ridges. So, when the wooden works needed sanding, I was a bit baffled as to how I’m supposed to sand the grooves without making massive efforts.

Hence, I learned a few simple tricks to sand the grooves. And I’m here to share them with you to help you out in your wood work!

how to sand in grooves

Why can Sanding Grooves be Tricky?

People sand as a preparation step for applying painting or varnish, to smoothen rough edges, to remove chunks and chips, or as a finishing touch to your DIY project.

There are varieties of detailed designing done on home projects, including- furniture, doors, windows cabinet doors, table legs, and so on. These details are further emphasized with grooves.

While you are keen on doing some sanding in this woodwork, the grooves can be a tight spot to reach.

You might ask, “why?” Well, we generally use traditional sandpapers or sanders for sanding. But since groove spots are narrow, these tools may not cover these places efficiently.

You do not want to spoil the design, but you want a smooth sanding over the grooves, does it sound difficult now? No worries, folks! Just give a thorough read to the easy ways to sand in slots stated below.

How to Sand in Grooves – 7 Simple Tricks

Several products can come handy when you want to sand in slots or turnings. I have listed some of my favourites here. Have a look!

Trick-1: Using a rubber contour sanding or steel wool

Are you aware of contour sanders? If not, let me explain.

These are handy yet useful sanding tools that are double-ended. They can easily sand both convex or concave surfaces.

rubber contour tool to sand rounded edges
Rubber Sanding Grips => Check Price on Amazon

You can generally find them as rubber pads; One end of which has a convex profile while the other has a concave one. They are parted by a narrow and longer flexible section, which people may use for sanding purposes as well.

The contour sanders are manufactured in different sizes, and you can choose the ones suitable for your project. These handy tools are excellent for sanding the grooves as they prevent hand fatigue, radius distortion, or abrasive slippage.

I’ve used them myself, and I was quite happy with the result. Take one of the rubber contour pads that match the groove area and keep on sanding!

Instead of using sandpapers, steel wool works just fine for sanding both large and congested surfaces.

sand large congested surfaces with synthetic steel wool
Sanding more with 3M Sanding Sponge>Check More=>

“How can they possibly sand surfaces?”, many may ask. The delicate strands of steel wool give tender cuts on the surfaces that result in sanding.

There are coarse to finer grades of steel wool available in the market. The less rough categories are generally used for sanding in tight places, including grooves.

The advantage of using steel wool instead of sandpaper is that they offer flexibility and compressibility to help you reach difficult spots to sand. You can compress them to sand moldings, edges, or grooves.

If you like the idea of using this tool, keep in mind that you need to brush the remaining steel bits after the sanding to make sure prevention of rusting in those spots.

Trick-2: Using a Woodworking File

It is a handy tool for sanding in tight places. Now, where can you find one of these, or do you make them yourself? Let’s know!

Yes, these are easiest to make! Take a paint stir stick, cut a slice of sandpaper to fit around it well, finally use all-purpose glue or adhesive to stick the sandpaper on it. Voila! Your DIY sanding file is ready to go.

make DIY woodworking sanding file
Rasps and Files => Check Price on Amazon

This tool is not only easy to make but effective for sanding in grooves as well. Try it!

Read more to know: how to sand the wood with Rasps and Files, it’s effective for sanding smooth.

Trick-3: Make use of a Hose Sander

Are you in trouble for sanding the grooves and other curvy contours as well? Try using a radiator hose.

hose sander to sand wood in curvy contours

Not clear about what that is? Well, let me tell you how to make one.

Take a radiator hose and look for the straighter part. Chop it off with a hacksaw, clean it thoroughly inside and out. Adhere to it a piece of sandpaper with an adhesive back, and it’s ready for both coarse and lighter sanding in the grooves.

Trick-4: Modify your Sandpaper

“Duct tape and sandpaper for sanding in grooves.”How cool does that sound?

The hard-to-reach places can is reachable for sanding using the combo of these two materials. All you need to do is attach some duck tape on the back of the sandpaper and cut it in smaller strips.

Duct tape sandpaper to Make Durable Sandpaper
Make Durable Sandpaper by using Duct Tape and Sandpaper=>Check on Amazon =>

For delicate yet firm sanding, this trick works great. Removing dried glue or wooden splits to sanding lathe turnings and grooves, this is a useful trick. The only backlog is this might take more time than general, but it’ll work just fine.

Trick-5: Use a DIY Sander

Apart from grooves, there are also other hard-to-reach places in shutters and louvred doors.

How about making an oscillating sanding tool right at your home with way lesser cost than the ones available in the market?

diy sander for shutters louvered doors

Take a dull blade and cut the sandpaper customized as suitable to the blade surface, and glue it on the surface with a spray adhesive. When the sandpaper wears out, just peel it off and use a new piece to adhere to the blade.

Trick-6: Using Curved Backers

Grooves, profiled edges, coved moldings, and other curved shapes can be challenging for giving a sanding attack on them.

You can find these curved accessories of different sizes and shapes in the market, and you can also make a DIY backer at home. You can use scraps of styrene or dowels to make the backers.

curved backers for snading curved wood surface
Sanding With Curved Backer => Check on Amazon=>

You can also make spline slides out of tempered hardwood to sand the curves and grooves. I suggest using self-adhesive sandpapers for use in these backers.

Trick-7: Using Emery Boards or Discs

Typically, you can also use emery boards for woodworking. The best ones generally have one side covered with fine-grit abrasive and the other with medium grit.

Emery boards for convex edges of woodwork
Emery boards for convex edges of woodwork:

They do a great job of sanding or cleaning up both narrow flat and curvy edges of wooden work.

Sanding discs with hook and loop are amazing for sanding jobs; especially, you can reuse them multiple times before you throw them away.

hook and loop sanding disk sanding any spot
Sanding Made Easy with Hook and Loop>Check More=>

They have a wide range of grit numbers for efficiently carrying out sanding in any spot. They are easy to handle and operate, as well. Try using them o the grooves, and they’ll surely do good work.

Besides these tricks, you can also try out folding the sandpapers to make smaller sanding surfaces, so that they can reach the grooves.

These tricks worked fine for me, and I’m sure they’ll prove to be helpful and handy for you as well. Apart from the basic methods, let us now see how you can sand the grooves in particular woodwork including doors, decking, furniture, and so on.

Trick-8: Using a Rotary Tool [to Sand Grooves in Furniture]

The ornate carvings of the furniture can be quite tricky to sand. But you don’t have to worry, because you can use a variety of products to do the job.

If you want to use purchased products from the market, you can use emery boards or sanding discs.

How to Sand Furniture Grooves
Sanding fast with a Rotary Tool [for Wood Craft]=>
Emery boards are narrow enough to reach the grooves of the carvings. The problem is it might take a bit too much time as you have to do it all manually. You need to do the work without haste since this is a delicate task; you don’t want to ruin the designs.

As for me, I would suggest using a 3M Roloc sanding disc because this is what I used, and trust me, I got great satisfaction using it. You just need to put the drive on the top of the drill, and you are ready to go.

Remember to progress slowly for a better outcome.

How to sand grooves in Cabinet Doors

You can use typical sandpaper for sanding the surface of the cabinet doors. But when it comes to sanding the corners and slots, you might as well consider thinking about alternatives.

sand Cabinet Doors grooves
Sanding With Detail Sander:[Dremel 8050]=>
I would suggest using a sanding sponge or use folded sandpaper for this purpose. Remember to be gentle and attentive while you do the task. After you have done the sanding, do not forget to brush off the dust from there.

How to sand grooves in Decking

There may be slight grooves in the decking as well. This place needs a good sanding.

So, what you can do is –

  • Look at the groove sizes
  • Look for a wood slat that would fit the groove loosely
  • Wrap some sandpaper around it and sand the grooves like a thin sanding block.

You can also use stable and stout handles to wrap the sandpaper and sand the flat areas.

How to sand grooves in Table Legs

It is mostly a challenging task to sand the table or chair legs. Since the legs may be irregularly shaped or may have ornate carvings, you cannot expect to sand the grooves in the legs that easily.

In this case, you can use the oscillating or rotary tools, but I’d suggest making use of your hand this time.

The straighter parts are easy to sand, and can you can do it with sandpaper in your hands. For the carves and moldings, you can use a fine grinding attached rotary tool to remove the stain, paints, or solely for smoothening.

To avoid the reshaping of wood, remember to use the tool at a low speed. You can also consider using 150 to about 220 grit sandpaper scrub pad to work on the turnings.

How to sand grooves in Beadboard

For sanding in beadboards, I would suggest sanding with hands or using a dry hand sander. 220-grit sandpaper would be the right choice for this.

Now what to do for reaching the grooves? You can use multiple products in this case. Steel wool, sanding file or handmade sanders, etc. for details can be used here.

If you are working with steel wool, it might take a lot of time because there are long grooves on the beadboard, and you don’t want to make so much effort that may result in health issues as well.

You can use rolling sanding discs or a sound sanding file to make progress faster. I would suggest using a scrub pad or rolling drive put over the drill to get your work done in less time and with less effort.

Final thoughts:

When you start the job of sanding the carvings, moldings, and grooves, different problems may arise. But these easy to follow tricks and tips will surely help you through the process.

Let me give you an important reminder. Do not forget to brush off the sand, dust, or metal parts that accumulate within the grooves after sanding, because they may lead to rusting, a lousy finishing and a faulty coat of paint if you are planning to paint over them.

If you know how to sand in grooves and what to do to make it easy for you, do not delay and get going with the refinishing of your favourite wood projects and more.

Last Updated on December 29, 2020 by Rogers Weber

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