The joy of sanding sponges


Originally published at:



Wouldn’t sanding a sponge be rather frustrating and not joyful…

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Sanding sponges do come in handy for brick mold and gel coat on kayaks.

and well, this too:


Sounds like animal cruelty to me (can you be cruel to animals that don’t have nervous systems?)


Sanding sponges makes their systems plenty nervous.


The joy of sanding sponges

Not to be confused with sponging Sanders.


Funny, that’s exactly what the marketing says!

So, why does 3M make the ordinary ones still? It’s like buying Monostat 7 when Monostat 3 is RIGHT THERE.


Welcome to the 21st century where you have to be fairly well off to afford the sort of things that give you the opportunity to perform manual work. (Houses, boats, home workshops don’t come cheap.)


Well I read it at first as “The joy of sending sponges.” And I thought about some sort of chain letter thing that I hadn’t heard of before.


They are also supremely useful for aging and weathering clothes, especially leather. Want to make that brand new jacket look broken in? Hit it up with one of the super fine grit sanding sponges.


Sponge washed jeans?


When I was a professional sander, we made these by gluing huge sheets of sandpaper onto huge sheets of spongy stuff, and chopping them up on a bandsaw.


My eyes cannot unsee the horror of those jeans.


Yeah, it’s weirdly true. I was 30 before I could have enough space and time to try even the barest modicum of woodworking without taking up a ton of room in an otherwise cramped house.


In my experience, sanding sponges are great at smoothing out irregular surfaces but not so much at flattening them. For the latter, I find sandpaper sheets and a rigid sanding pad more effective.

Skeptics: @frauenfelder’s not parroting the 3M advertising department’s claims. Both their 5X sponges and sheets really are much more durable. Five times more durable, I can’t say. All I know is that I spend less on sandpaper now.


Come on, you know this.

  1. Because in offering two products, they shift the decision making from “is a sanding sponge necessary for my project” to “which sanding sponge would be best for my project?”

  2. By offering a range of price points, they can capture a wider range of budgets and commitments. “I won’t spend $10 on this one-off project, but $3? Sure.”

e: Not sure how that translates to Monostat, but whatever.


can’t say enough good things about sanding sponges.


I dunno, I have cleared out about a hundred square feet in the basement to churn stuff out and it’s mostly because the kids. Before them I did everything in the living room of the cramped New York apartment or out on the stoop itself.

Most of the time you just need the patience to use a jigsaw when you know we’ve invented table saws.


You can also just back a sheet of thin (so flexible) sandpaper with a sponge.


There are lots of different Scotch Brite scrubbing pads too.
The thin green ones are good for sanding bike frames before painting, as they get into those little spaces right next to the welds.