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I'm currently working on a cutting board with a rectangular cutout for a handle. I used a jig saw to cut out the handle, and need to sand the edges of the cut. It's the first time I've tried one of these, and I was wondering what are some good methods for sanding the edges of the cutout.

Here is a photo of the project for reference:

Current state of cutting board

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I'm currently working on a cutting board with a rectangular cut out for a handle. I used a jig saw to cutout the handle, and need to sand the edges of the cut.

Here's what I would suggest.

If you're still not done with the design, I would consider making the ends of the cutout rounded, similar to the image below. If this is not to your taste, please move on past the line break below.

rounded handle

This serves two purposes: first, the handle is more comfortable to hold, and second, it's easier to smooth with no sharp corners.

If you have a router, I would use a roundover bit on the handle to smooth the transition. If you don't have a router, continue on to the next step.


Now, if you want to keep the sharp inside corners like you have now, I would recommend using thin sanding belts to reach inside the handle opening. You would work the sanding belt in a back-and-forth motion, like you were flossing your teeth.

They also make thin belt sanders that can do this the powered way. Harbor Freight is not my favorite tool company, but their tool is shown in the example below.

sander


Please also read this related Question where the OP has an issue similar to yours. @Graphus's answer involving using a scraping chisel would work here.

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  • Thank you, @grfrazee. I am open to the rounded corners idea, which leads to the question of whats the best way to round the corners without a router? I have mostly only hand tools to work with, I do have a cordless drill with forstner bits, but I'm not sure how that would work for rounding. – mattmar10 Apr 27 '16 at 16:08
  • @mattmar10, forstners and cordless drills aren't a particularly good solution. If you have a drill press, I'd wedge a scrap piece in the handle hole to fill it, and then use the forstner to drill the half circle of the handle end (the scrap piece will keep the bit from walking). Otherwise, you should be able to cut that curve with a fine enough jigsaw blade, but test this out on a scrap piece first. – grfrazee Apr 27 '16 at 16:10
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    @mattmar10, for next time, I'd recommend using the forstner bit to do the rounded ends first, then connect them with a jigsaw to complete the handle hole. – grfrazee Apr 27 '16 at 16:11
  • That makes a lot of sense. I will try that next time. For this time, would a large rasp work to round out the corners? – mattmar10 Apr 27 '16 at 16:22
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    Those finger sanders eats wood for breakfast. One second without concentration and you have dented your hole. I'd go for a manual approach. Rasp. File. Sandpaper on a stick. Patience. – LosManos Apr 29 '16 at 14:15

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