34 Clever Handy Hints for Your Woodworking Projects

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The Brown Paper Bag Trick

You can always make a finish smooth by rubbing with fine sandpaper and rubbing compounds, but that is a lot of work. And there’s almost always a little dust that settles onto the last coat of finish before it dries, even when you spray fast-drying lacquer. And with slow-drying varnish, there’s always dust stuck to the finish.

Unless you’re aiming for the ultimate in smoothness, rubbing the surface with a folded brown paper bag is usually sufficient. A brown paper bag is abrasive enough to flatten the dust nibs but not so abrasive that it scratches the finish—as long as the finish is fully dry. As long as the dust isn’t excessive and as long as the particles aren’t large, you can make the surface feel smooth with this paper bag trick. You’ll be amazed at how well it works!

Sandpaper Cutter

Cutting sandpaper is a quick way to dull your scissors or utility knife blade. Instead, I fastened a hacksaw blade to the edge of my workbench. I slipped a washer behind the blade at each of the mounting holes so a sheet of sandpaper to easily slides in behind the blade. I fold the paper where I want to cut, just as a reference. — Kim Boley

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