What’s the best way to sand wood by hand?

Choosing the right grit sandpaper for hand sanding wood is the first step. Sandpaper is defined by grit and grit, and each grit contains different grits. There are five different grades of sandpaper: from very fine to very coarse. For everyday work, sandpaper with a grain size of 40 (coarse) to 220 (fine) is most often used. The choice of the appropriate gradation and grit depends on the condition of the wood. For example, if the wood is bare and only needs to remove minor imperfections, 180/220 grit fine sandpaper will suffice.

The quickest way to sand wood by hand is to select the correct grit of sandpaper, press harder, sand along the step, and move quickly. For more complex components, such as doors, large, flat surfaces are sanded first, followed by moulds. For hard-to-reach flat areas or corners, sandpaper can be wrapped around the tip of a putty knife or paint scraper.

Grinding process

Wood can be sanded dry and sometimes even wet. Dry sanding is faster and gives a good enough finish for painting and varnishing. However, if you are looking for a super-smooth finish, you can add water as a lubricant. Choosing the right wood hand sanding tools will ensure a smooth, even finish. For larger, flat surfaces, it is worth investing in a sanding block. You can easily make it yourself by wrapping sandpaper around a piece of wood or cork.

MDF typically has a smooth finish, so it rarely requires extensive sanding. However, if you are painting MDF, you will need to sand the surface to improve paint adhesion. Always remember to wear protective glasses and a mask, because MDF can generate a lot of dust that contains glue, and we don’t want to inhale that.

Steel wool can be used as a substitute for sandpaper for more difficult tasks. If you have trouble accessing hard-to-reach forms or details with sandpaper, steel wool is an alternative. Its main advantage is that it can take any shape, allowing you to sand those hard-to-reach areas. It is available in different grits, just like sandpaper, from very fine to very coarse. It can also be used for other tasks such as removing rust from metal, cleaning grout, removing paint from glass, and removing wax and polish from wooden furniture.



Sanding wood by hand is a skill that requires some precision and the right tools, but ultimately gives you much more control over the process and final finish. Whether you’re an experienced DIYer or just getting started with DIY projects, these tips will help you achieve a professional finish.

Scroll to Top