• Flush the ply with the cork.
    Flush the ply with the cork.

Although the random orbit sander has found a place in nearly every woodworker’s shed, there are times when it just does not deliver the desired results. This is when the humble cork sanding block comes into its own.

Yet even then the cork block has its drawbacks. One of its greatest weaknesses is also its greatest asset. The reason for this is the inherent quality of the cork’s ability to mould and form itself to the contours it rides over. Examples of where this is undesirable are when sanding inlays, edgebanding, motifs or when you need a sharp crisp edge on corners or tops. In order to get that flat edge the supporting surface under the abrasive paper has to be firm and flat — which cork is not.

Here’s an easy fix:

  1. Buy a new cork block.
  2. Find some scrap plywood (10 or 12mm thick is fine).
  3. Cut the thickness of the plywood to be used from the face of the cork block.
  4. Attach the plywood blank to the new face of the cork block with contact adhesive.
  5. Clamp in a vice for a few minutes.
  6. Trim off excess plywood.
  7. Now you have a very versatile cordless sander!

Another trick with the cork block is if you are sanding contours on cornices or other shapes. Router the corresponding shape into a cork block and this makes for much easier and more accurate finishing. Hover your mouse  over each photo below to see the caption.

Steve Hay presents Woodworking Masterclass on 31 Digital, for viewing times see www.woodworkingmasterclass.com

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