I have a love-hate relationship with sanding. It’s tedious, dusty, and shows progress in agonizingly slow increments. (Who’s inspired now?) However, the tool geek in me loves sanding. It puts you in touch with the work in a way only repetition can. Sanding knocks down saw marks; evens up pieces; removes paint, blemishes, and wood filler; it flushes and feathers drywall and plaster repairs, and opens wood grain to allow a finish to penetrate. It makes whatever you built “look like it grew there,” to quote a woodworker friend of mine.
It’s hard to love sanding, though, if you’re using the wrong tool for the job. Just because a tool is for sale doesn’t mean it works. Here are my 5 go-to tools for sanding everything from new wood to old plaster.