TikTok's Genius Wood Sanding Hack Uses A Common Bathroom Staple

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

For woodworking enthusiasts, sanding wood requires some elbow grease. Aside from that, polishing nooks and crannies of wood projects takes significant effort. Although using a piece of folded sandpaper can be a workaround for spots where a regular sander doesn't fit, this method can be cumbersome. The sandpaper may wrinkle, and using it this way can be hard on your fingers over extended periods. In line with this, Tiktok user @pagesofemma suggested a simple woodworking tip: using nail files instead!

While folding sandpaper into squares or thinner strips might work initially, they tend to become less effective over time due to flimsiness. In contrast, nail files offer a sturdy yet flexible alternative, being slim enough to navigate tight spaces and move around curves. Nail files also come in various shapes, making them easier to handle. Additionally, nail files are available in a broad spectrum of grit sizes, ranging from very coarse (around 80 grit) to very fine (between 400 and 900 grit). This range offers versatility for different sanding needs. However, it's important to note that sandpaper has a broader grit range than nail files.

Should you use a nail file for your woodworking projects?

Nail files can serve as a convenient alternative to sandpaper when the latter is not suitable. They're also excellent for intricate sanding tasks, particularly for sanding hard-to-reach places. There's no harm in using one (or several) if you have them lying idle in a bathroom drawer. However, purchasing one or a few in different grits for a single project may not be practical. 

If you're a hobbyist who frequently needs such tools, buying nail files in bulk can be cost-effective (a 20-pack is available on Amazon for $8.99), especially if you buy them from a dollar store instead of a high-end beauty shop. However, it's important to note that bulk purchases typically include nail files with one or two grit levels (if they are double-sided), which may not be ideal if you require a variety of grits. With that, sanding twigs or sanding sticks, which are sold in bulk and contain different grits (a set of 5 bags of 20 is available on Amazon for $13.99) could be a more budget-friendly choice.

Alternatively, you could create a customized sanding stick. This involves attaching sandpaper to a paint stir stick. This method allows for easy replacement of sandpaper and the creation of multiple sticks with various grits of sandpaper. Such homemade sanding sticks are typically more ergonomic, offering a larger grip that reduces strain on your fingers and wrists.