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If I need to sand things (usually wood), I regularily use sand paper attached to a cork sanding block with pins:

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Currently I need to sand the inner of a drilled hole (40mm diameter). The above block doesn't work here, and I need something round. I tried using a regular cork:

enter image description here

It works as an emergency solution, but it is too short (hole is 45mm long, the cork is around the same length). It makes my hand hurt and I have trouble getting it done properly.

I need a longer cylinder! At least 10cm long. Smaller diameter (1-2cm) is desirable. It must be a material similar to cork: Strong enough not to break when I handle it with force, but soft enough to get the pins inside.

It seems that cylindrical sanding blocks are a market niche. I could not find them anywhere (local diy store, google). What can I use? Preferably something that is not too special/expensive. Are there any everyday items that serve the purpose?

3 Answers 3

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A sanding drum is a common device, commercially made. Some use a clamp mechanism to hold flat paper,

sanding drum with paper grip image source https://www.woodcraft.com/product_images/sanding-drum-3-x-3-x-1-2/5843c03c69702d0253000209/large_thumb.jpg?c=1480835132 no endorsment implied

some use manufactured sanding sleeves preformed to be round.

Sanding drum, expanding typeImage source https://www.woodcraft.com/product_images/sanding-drum-3-4-x-2/5845112469702d19cc000161/large_thumb.jpg?c=1480921380 no endorsement implied

Sanding sleeveImage source https://www.woodcraft.com/product_images/sanding-drum-replacement-sleeve-3-4-dia-x-2-length-50-grit-12-pack/5843c08169702d025300029c/large_thumb.jpg?c=1480835201 no endorsement implied

If cooking up something homebrew, using a slit to hold the sandpaper is one good method that does not have the obvious limitations of pinheads or nail heads poking out. You just need to turn the improvised drum in the direction that pulls on the sandpaper as it wraps the rod from the slit, not the other, which would push.

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  • I guess it depends what you want to sand. I find that these can be difficult to control—likely because the force is cantilevered.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 12:28
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Now that I think of it... A wooden rod (soft wood like spruce/pine) should work. Is easily available in different diameters at a diy store and can be sawn to desired length. Just hammer some nails into it to hold the sand paper!

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  • 5
    This is exactly what I came here to say. However, better than nails (since they are metal and could easily cause more scratches than the sandpaper is removing if you're not super careful), use some spray adhesive to hold the paper to the dowel. You could use CA glue and blue tape to hold it on if you can't find the magic formula of glue strong enough to hold, but weak enough to pull off when it's time to change the paper. Also, just a block of pine 2x4 makes an excellent sanding block and probably costs a lot less than a cork block.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 21:38
  • Or cut the sandpaper long enough that some of it protrudes out the hole and you can hold it down with a finger.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 14:31
  • @FreeMan In fact, the cork sanding block cost around 3 dollars; a meter of pine/spruce board is around the same price here. So yes, the board is cheaper (you can make like 8 sanding blocks from a meter) but in that price range, I rather opt for convenience than price alone. :)
    – Kjara
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 18:39
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One solution I found was to cut a slot about 3mm wide axially on a cylinder of the correct diameter.

Then fit both ends of the sandpaper cut to length - allow enough to go into the groove.

Lock the paper in with a rod - I used a bit of coat hanger, you might try matchsticks or similar...

Punch it down sufficiently so it does not touch the work.

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