The Craft of Block Sanding

Block sanding does have a basic set of guidelines to follow, but it is far more than following a procedure. Going from good body work to really great, can mean breaking that procedure. 

The basic guidelines are block sanding in a cross hatch pattern at 30 degrees, holding the block parallel to the shape of the panel, etc.

When the sanding becomes a craft or art; more than following the procedure, is by really knowing what’s needed.   Here are some ideas to pay attention to when block sanding:

  • Choosing the correct block. True Blox all flex differently, and picking the right one for what you’re sanding is important. A bigger block isn’t better, it should be able to follow the general shape of the panel without too much effort.  There’s a reason there is 34 different sanding blocks, pick the one that works. 
  • Feeling the panel. Because of the blocks being hard, and how they flex, you can feel the shape of the panel as you’re sanding.  Pay attention and use that as a guide to how it needs to be sanded.
  • Sanding direction. Sometimes, an area might need a lot of sanding in just one direction, and that’s ok.  Always (usually) try to sand perpendicular to what needs to be blocked down. 
  • Holding the block at a slight angle. This helps avoid choppiness in the panel vertically.   The blocks flex, even if it’s slight, so they are able to do this.  And, this is one reason sanding blocks should be able to flex, even if it’s a very small amount. 
  • Do what it takes to make it right. 

What it all really comes down to is paying very close attention to what’s happening. Know exact how something needs to blocked as you’re sanding. Notice things like if the metal is a little bit loose and the panel is sinking as you’re sanding. 

If you just follow the procedures and go through the motions, it is very difficult to make better work. Turning it into a real craft, is when you start noticing more, and create exceptional work.