I've got small patterns cut out, about 5cmx5cm, from 12mm ply wood and glued together to form 24mm thick pieces.

I need to file down the sides to get closer to the pattern (that I drew on the pieces) as well as having the sides at about 10 degrees tapered. (I'm building a mould and the 10 degrees is the release angle).

My question, as a lazy hobbyist, is, how do I sand down the edge of the ply wood at 10 degrees off square? (I have a flat hand file, sand paper, mouse sander, table mounted disk sanding machine)

Thank you in advance...

3 Answers 3


On your table mounted disk sanding machine; build top on the table sloped at 10 degrees.
This only works on convex forms.
For concave parts us a piece of wood at 10 degrees to aim your file.

  • 1
    I've made a 10 degree guide and it looks like it will do the job of keeping the file and or chisel. It makes it easier, but not easy ;)
    – TungstenX
    Sep 23, 2015 at 6:38

Although it's possible to do this sanding manually I would definitely not want to attempt it myself! It would take an age and anyway I prefer not to do this kind of work entirely by sanding, because turning wood into dust is not what I took the hobby up for, but if I had to I'd want to use a belt sander (the power sander ideally suited to bulk removal, and capable of good accuracy if used with care).

Given only the tools you list I would prefer to use the file for the bulk of the work, but whether that's a good way to go is highly dependent on the file (single-cut or double, how fine, worn or not worn etc.)

Even though I'm a big fan of rasps and files and consider them under-utilised in woodworking they still make dust, and I'm a firm believer in the motto shavings > dust, which in this case means I would prefer to have the bulk of the shaping done prior to using a file — by paring with a chisel or carving/whittling knife (very sharp of course).

  • Thank you for your response. I've tried the chisel (using the guide I made) and the problem is the it seems to chip out chunks in the different layers of the ply wood. But the rasp is a good idea, which I'll investigate further.
    – TungstenX
    Sep 23, 2015 at 6:42

Having read and reread your question, I think that I now understand what you are trying to do. One of the most inexpensive hand tools you can get is a coping saw. Use a vice or some kind of clamp to hold the wood in place and gently make your cuts, eyeballing the ten degree angle.

  • Thank you for your response. I've cut out the pattern using a jigsaw (coping saw). I'm not doing this often enough to "eyeball" it.
    – TungstenX
    Sep 23, 2015 at 6:40

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