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In the following article, we're going to cover some of the basics of guitar sanding. While it may seem fairly obvious, in essence, correct preparation will make or break the quality of your guitar kit's finish so it makes sense to take the time to do the job properly. Just like in a recording studio it's much more difficult to fix a problem down the track so take the time, be patient and you will achieve a great result.
The purpose of sanding is to create an ideal surface for finishing and to do this we need to create a smooth surface. You want to work with the grain so sand in the direction of the grain (back and forth with the grain) never sideways. However, the grain on the edges of your guitar will run in another direction, in this case always sand in one direction and not back and forth.
We have spoken about your work area in our Guitar Finishing Safety article so we won't go into much detail in this article, suffice to say you want a clear area and your guitar should be protected by either cardboard beneath or ideally carpet. Just be careful if using a carpet that anything that could scratch your guitar e.g. grit, screws, shards of metal are removed to ensure you don't get any scratches.
The reason I prefer carpet is the guitar can be set down and in most cases, won't move regardless of how much force you are applying when sanding.
You should ALWAYS use a sanding block on the flat surfaces of your guitar. Don't use a rubber block or something flexible, as all that will happen is the block will expand and allow for bumps on your timber and simply smooth them out rather than remove them.
Always use a hard sanding block. If however, you are sanding a guitar with plenty of contours you should use a flexible sanding block as the contours will make it almost impossible to do a good job with a rigid sanding block.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions.