Sanding is a crucial step of woodworking that cannot be skipped over, though you would like to.
Especially when you are sanding in grooves, it requires a good deal of patience and precision.
Since it’s a labor-intensive task that requires a bit of elbow grease, the idea might be frustrating if you haven’t ever sanded wood grooves before.
The problem is, if you are into the task of sanding table legs or the legs of a chair, you will be facing your own special kind of challenge – you are not able to sand them flat like you do when sanding other types of flat wood projects.
But worry not; sanding rounded table legs is tricky, but it is not entirely impossible.
Below, I will offer a few tricks and tips to help you sand even the most difficult types of antique furniture legs. So, let’s tune in…
Best Tools for Sanding Grooved Table Legs
The first thing to know is you won’t be able to sand a grooved table leg that is round with a typical sander.
If you need to sand in grooves, you’ll need to follow specific steps to get the job done.
Here are some tools you can use to accomplish this task.
1. Rubber Contour
Rubber contour products, to sand grooves, are particularly useful in that they can be used on both convex and concave surfaces.
Essentially, they are rubber pads that you can manipulate.
The rubber contour sanders come in various sizes that you can use to suit the project you’re working on.
The tool is excellent for sanding grooves while also preventing fatigue in the hand and limiting any radius distortion.
All you have to do is bend the pad to fit the groove and start sanding.
2. Radiator Hose Sander
A radiator hose sander is another great option for sanding grooves or curving areas. It is also quite simple to make.
To begin, take a radiator hose and look for the horizontal area you want to work with.
Using a hacksaw, you can chop the pieces off to the size you want to work with and clean them off.
Grab a piece of sandpaper and attach it to the hose using adhesives.
Once you have completed this, your radiator hose is ready to go. You can then use it to sand in grooves with ease.
3. Steel Wool
Instead of using sandpaper, you can use steel wool in grooves.
Steel wool comes in coarse and fine grits like sandpaper; coarser options are usually better for sanding in tight places.
Steel wool is quite flexible as opposed to sandpaper, so you can mold it to fit grooves, edges, and more.
However, you’ll need to brush away any wool bits that come off after sanding before moving forward with your project.
4. Power Tools
There are a number of different power tools that you can use to accomplish this type of job, which will not only provide more efficient sanding but can also cut down on the total amount of time needed to do so.
The Detail Sanding Cones are one of the best ways I have found to sand down edges, curves, rounded corners, and tiny groovy areas.
Below is a video that will tell you how to attach and use these detail sanding cones to the mandrels and how to sand your carved furniture with them.
These sanding cones are excellent for a wide variety of complicated sanding projects that involves irregular surfaces.
Below are a few other tools to get the job done.
A Dremel is suitable for sanding in small, tight spaces, including curved wooden legs and inside grooves.
The main benefit of Dremel tools is that they are small enough to tackle hard-to-reach areas and are, therefore, commonly used for sanding table legs that cannot be sanded using a regular sander.
The tool has three different heads that you can change depending on your needs. These are saw heads, rotating heads, and oscillating heads. It also may come with custom heads if you need to do something particular.
B. File Sander
A file sander, commonly known as a mini belt sander, is also a good choice for hard-to-reach areas.
It’s commonly used for sanding with great detail and can be used to get into narrow, tight areas.
C. Detail Sander
This sander is commonly used for corners, thanks to its triangular sanding pad.
It’s similar to an orbital sander, except it is particularly useful for sanding corners and flatter areas of rounded table legs.
5. Modify the Sandpaper
To get into intricate grooves, use duct tape to change the sandpaper setting.
Some areas of rounded legs are not easy to get into, but using sandpaper and duct tape may help you do so.
All you need to do is place some duct tape on the back of a piece of sandpaper. Once they are attached, cut them into smaller strips.
These strips can then be used to sand smaller, hard-to-reach areas in no time at all.
A Few Additional Hand Sanding Tools
As for manual sanding, you have a few options for getting into those hard-to-reach areas of round legs of tables and chairs that comes with designer grooves:
a) Emory board
An Emory board is relatively narrow, making it easy to fit into tiny grooves.
The downside is that it can take quite a long time to sand something properly.
b) Sanding disc
A sanding disc is best for manual sanding since it doesn’t take as much time.
It is recommended to use a 3M grain sanding paper and do it slowly so as not to ruin the results.
c) Woodworking files
Tools like files and rasps are a bit old techniques in woodworking.
These may take a long time, but they are quite effective for tiny grooves and other such areas when you want to sand them by hand.
d) Curved Backers
Coved moldings, profiled edges, and grooves can be challenging to work on, but if you grab a curved backer in size and shape you need, you can better wrap around them and sand down the edges.
Besides all the above, you are free to get creative and make your own woodworking tools to lightly sand the different areas of table legs.
Sanding With Chemical Stripper and Sandpaper
Chemical stripper products like liquid sander deglosser can be found online and in stores.
You should use a paintbrush to apply the stripper to the area that needs sanding, following any specific instructions on the package of the stripper.
Below are some steps you can take to sand with the items mentioned above:
- The chemical stripper will usually need about 20 minutes to sit on the area to be sanded.
- After that, use mineral spirits or water and pour it on the chemical stripper. Allow the table legs to dry for a full day before moving on.
- Using 120-grit sandpaper, you can sand away anything that’s left of the stripper. You will notice that some of the areas are still difficult to reach with this method, at which point you can use a brass toothbrush.
- Finally, use 220 grit sandpaper and go over the legs once again. This will make sure they are as smooth as possible. Be sure not to sand too hard and instead use a light touch.
Though sanding round table legs and grooves can be challenging compared to sanding flat areas, some techniques can be modified to help you out.
For starters, you can cut the sandpaper into strips and then move them back and forth to sand and shape an area.
Should the sandpaper tear, simply stick some duct tape on the back to fortify it and keep going.
Hi, I am Mark Garner a professional carpenter, woodworker, and DIY painter. I live in the small city of Peoria, Arizona as a semi-retired woodworker. I have started this blog with a simple motive to help you with my wood experience in this sector. If you like to know more about what I love doing and how it all got started, you can check more about me here.