I have small, thin items measuring roughly 4"x2" with a depth of only .33". I need to sand the back of them down evenly, and have been using a belt sander to do so. However, I'm a little nervous about how close my hands are to the belt while sanding such a small item.

What can I do, or use to maximize my safety while sanding such small and thin items with a belt or disc sander?

5 Answers 5


Make a piece of board that looks like the following with some small 0.1 to 0.2 inch thick strips glued to it. This board would be long enough that you can hold it safely near the belt sander. The pocket in the middle will be the periphery size of the small item that you want to sand.

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Stick a piece of double stick tape into the cavity bottom to hold your piece in place. Now you can hold the part up against the belt sander with ease. The length of the board will also help to eye the angles and keep it straight to the sander.

It may even be possible to use the double stick tape alone on the board without the containment cavity.


As a woman who sharpens knives for a hobby, I always keep a pair of "fillet gloves" around. These are the gloves a lot of fishermen use when filleting their catch. The gloves are made with (to quote the manufacturer Rapella) "...A comfy blend of natural and synthetic fibers with stainless steel provides the best protection ever.... “

Although the gloves can be hot, I don't have to worry about taking the skin off my knuckles, or cutting myself. I sharpen so many different sizes of knives that I prefer to use these then to keep different jigs on hand to use. I also don't want to stop to build a special jig, when I can just put the gloves on and keep going. They are hot, however, better hot than cut or sanded fingers. I have been sharpening knives and scissors since 1976, since I started using these gloves I have never been cut or sanded. Even before, I was only cut once. Once was one time too many!

  1. Hand sand - it's a small, thin item...you can cut a sanding belt and lay it out on the edge of bench, or glue it to a board, and surf the item along it with your fingertips on top. Power sanding may save a few seconds if you never have to stop and apply bandages, but once you do, it's not faster in total.

  2. Clamp it with a block or fixture so that the item only drops 0.25" or so into the clamping fixture or vise. You'll need good sharp jaws, not ones that are all rounded over on the top edges.


I used a potato. I am sanding 1 inch diameter and about 1/4 inch deep disks cut from the branch of apple wood to make Norse Runes. I cut a circular depression out of the potato, about 1/8 inch deep and seat the wood in that, then use the potato as a grip while sanding. It protects my hand and does not mar the wood.


Take a piece of wood and glue the piece you want to sand to it with removable glue. When finished sanding remove from wood.

  • Remove hotglue with mechanical shock or heat. Remove wood glue with water. Remote cyanocrylate and other 'super glues' with acetone. Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 4:09

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