I am looking for some recommendations on sanding irregular surfaces, like rifle stocks.

I have tried a random orbital sander but it is not giving me satisfactory results, and also it is difficult to handle the orbital sander on this type of structure.

This is what I'm working on:

Rifle stock

Inside of rifle stock

  • 3
    Hi, welcome to Woodworking. Unless you don't sand at all, I think the standard recommendation here would be a random-orbit sander (with a soft pad backing the paper). But "elliptical surface" is ambiguous in English, I think we need a photograph or at least a sketch to be sure we know what you're working on (as well as the scale of the job). "random orbital sander but it is not giving me satisfactory results" In what way or ways was the surface not satisfactory? It might also be helpful to tell us what wood species you're working on.
    – Graphus
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 10:20
  • Is this a 2-dimensional ellipse or 3-dimensional? i.e. have you cut the ellipse into the edge of a long board (in which case, something like a drum sander would do the trick), or is it a bowl in an elliptical shape, in which case a ROS seems appropriate for the outside, but hand sanding or card scraping would be appropriate for the inside.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 14:19
  • Welcome to WW.SE! Please edit this question and tell us what it is you are trying to sand. A picture can often clarify things a lot.
    – user5572
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 18:55
  • @Graphus@freeMan @jdv I have edit my question and add the image exactly what Im trying to sand..thanks in advanced...
    – pradeep
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 9:03
  • A) You can only "ping" one person per post using @<username>. it's OK, we'll probably all find it... B) oof... that's complex! I've never sanded a gun stock before, but my guess is you'll have to do it by hand. You may still find card scrapers useful, but you may also end up with flats doing that - I'd wait until those with more experience chime in. C) That's a nice looking piece of work so far! Keep at it!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


You could try a sanding disk on a drill. Similar to what is used to sand wooden bowls, for example here.

It looks like the challenge with the orbital sander might be its size, thats why a small sanding disk on a drill might allow you to approach the gunstock on more comfortable angles.

  • 1
    Could you expand on this some to indicate how this would work and how it would be better than the issues the OP is having with his ROS?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 14:51
  • thank you @NicoTek...Let me try that...
    – pradeep
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 9:21
  • 3
    Based on the recently posted photo of a gun stock, I'm struggling to see how a "sanding disk on a drill" will help. Again, some explanation of the recommended technique would be most helpful. It may be fully explained in the link, but links die. As a user from other SE sites (and with a "mod diamond"), you should know to include relevant bits from the linked site.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 12:14

For work like this you need a collection of sanding blocks in various shapes, and sanding sponges, possibly cut into custom shapes.

For faster removal this is one of the few situations where small rotary tools like a Dremel will come in handy. Almost certainly you will find all sorts of shaping and sanding attachments suitable for crafting rifle stocks. I suspect a single web search for "dremel gun stock" will yield all sorts of opportunity for parting with your money.

Once you've shaped and sanded down to some level with a rotary tool, then I think you should switch to hand sanding using sponges, and store-bought and hand-made blocks. Again, don't reinvent the wheel here; people have been making weapon stocks out of wood for centuries. See what other people are using, possibly on another SE related to gun-making.

There is absolutely no tool better for gauging fairness and smoothness (all paramount for rifle stocks) than the human eye and hand.

  • thanks a lot @jdv
    – pradeep
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 4:16

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