Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I need to sand down some wooden blinds because they are about a millimeter too wide for the old window frames they are going into.

I'm trying to figure out a cheap and easy way to sand down about 6 sets of these blinds.

Does anyone know of a good cheap sander I could buy to do this job?

Does anyone know the best way to do this?

share|improve this question
1  
Have you considered just renting or borrowing a belt sander? –  Eric Petroelje Jan 6 '11 at 21:48
    
It seems like rental could work, but the price of a cheaper sander probably isn't much more. Then again, I've never tried to rent a sander so maybe they are super cheap. –  Mark Rogers Jan 7 '11 at 0:04
add comment

5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

As 'cheap' is one of the requirements -- I'd probably go with a random orbit or even just a vibrating palm sander. You can get some decent models for $50-60.

I would recommending one of the 1/4 sheet models, where you can use any sand paper that you cut down to size, rather than the fancy shapes that require you to specifically buy sand paper made for that model. (the circular random orbit might be an exception ... the holes help to clear out sawdust faster and keep the paper from getting bogged down as quickly, but if you're going for cheap, 1/4 sheet's still your best bet in the long run).

I'd loosely secure the whole bundle with a ratchet strap or something similar, jog the slats so they're well aligned (stand it on end and tap it on the ground), then tighten the strap, and sand the edges down.

If the slats are really thin, and you fear them breaking, either add another strap close to the edge, or even just bundle it up with tape. (if you don't want to deal with tape residue, use cling film or similar first, then tape it)

share|improve this answer
4  
I recommended you get multiple types of sandpaper for the sander. Start with something coarse (probably <=80 grit) to grind them down. Then, use finer sandpaper (120-220) to smooth the edges. Depending on the wood, you may also need an intermediate grade of sandpaper to smooth it out. You may also want to consider sanding a bit from each side of the slats, instead of doing it all to one side, so they look more "symmetrical". –  msemack Jan 5 '11 at 16:28
3  
And if working with a sander is a new experience for you, I highly recommend practicing with the various types of sandpaper on some scrap wood first, preferably wood that is similar hardness to your wood slats. –  msemack Jan 5 '11 at 16:34
add comment

You really want cheap? Get one of those rubber disks in a shaft that you can put into an electric drill and fit it with sandpaper, suitable disks of which are usually sold at the same place. It shouldn't cost more than a few dollars all up. Perhaps surprisingly, this is likely to cause less tear-out than things like belt or orbital sanders because it's easier to achieve good control.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your best bet for sanding would be a belt sander. It will take it off in a hurry with agressive belts. You probably want to use something like 80 - 120 grit. An ideal solution would be to get a table mounted belt sander with a fence to rest the wood againt. A hand held belt sander will work OK, you will just have to clamp the wood down and hold the sander off the edge, it will be harder to keep it square.

A radial chop saw with a fine tooth blade would work OK too, but you will probably have to go back and round the corners, at least to take off the point. If you use a chop saw, then you can take off more to give the blinds some comfortable clearance so they won't be jamming when raising and lowering. You didn't say that you were going to take the blinds apart to cut. It might be difficult to cut in a chop saw without dissasembling.

share|improve this answer
2  
I'm not sure I'd go with the hand-held belt sander ... it'd be better to go slower with an orbital or palm sander than try to deal with using something as agressive as a belt sander like that. –  Joe Jan 5 '11 at 15:48
5  
If he really only needs to shave off 1mm, it seems like a belt sander is overkill. –  msemack Jan 5 '11 at 16:16
add comment

I upvoted Joe's answer. However, I thought of an alternative tool to consider: an oscillating multi-tool.

They can sand small/narrow areas (just how big are your slats anyway)? They also work well as a little power saw or grinder.

If you really only need to shave 1mm off the edge of the blinds, the cutting features may not get much use. However, if you have other DIY projects, you may be able to get better use out of this tool.

My mother-in-law got me one of these for Xmas, and I have used it a few times now. Seems to work pretty well, although I've mostly used it for cutting. http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_00923465000P

share|improve this answer
add comment

You don't need a sander for this; use elbow grease.

Get some sand paper and do it by hand. You have good access to the ends and you don't need precision/smoothness. Gang them all together and have at it.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.