I don’t know about you but in my own wood working projects the least fun part has to do with sanding.

Even when I use a belt or hand sander there is simply a fair bit of work, dust and mess in the process.

Now as I build cigarbox and found-object guitars, 99 percent of the time at very least (even with metal bodies) I’m using wood for the neck… so sanding is a certain part of the work.

Of course when using some sort of wood for the body sandpaper helps keep things nice and smooth. Well, when you finally finish and rub in stain or some other sort of liquid finish, paint or whatever…

Most wood working involves 2 or even 3 or more grades of sandpaper… and sometimes steel wool. If using one’s hands and arms and not some sort of mechanical sanding machine I can tell you it’s a great process for building strength… but also a bit of pain if only done with a sanding block (hunk of wood one wraps the sandpaper around) especially if done over an hour or more depending on how much wood must be smoothed.

Now- the end of the work is SWEET!

But whew, to -get- to the end is at least for me, a bit unfavorable.

The obvious spiritual association in reality is sometimes called “dying to self”, God’s hand on our life via difficult circumstances and via people we may not want to be around.

Our climate (it’s getting HOT in Chicago as I type) or perhaps non-answers to prayer (at least -when- we want ’em) and on and on it goes… all of these are useful tools in the hands of a loving Father Who knows EXACTly what we need in terms of our own rough edges and areas where when others reach out they may well get a splinter or two!

Another point is that when using any sort of stain and or finish, unless enough care and time is taken in the process sanding marks and other blemishes become obvious and even accented. Not good.

Genuine love is sometimes like sandpaper. When we need it most we may run from the process -I cannot deny the pains of true love.

But as a guitarist, what a wonderful feel on a neck that has been shaped and fully sanded smooth. Like a little baby’s skin, it’s amazingly soft and one can speed up and down such a guitar neck very quickly due to the long and careful work of sanding.

There is pain and effort, patience and not-so-fun stuff involved in the process… but what a great result!

We must learn to accept this part of God’s hand shaping our life. His patience and timing are exquisite. It’s not always a pleasure for us -but the end result is amazing and truly a gift for God, ourself and others.

Thanks for stopping by and considering, -Glenn



  1. You might consider card scrapers or even hand planes. There is an economical process for hand woodworkers that involves starting with the tool the removes the most material and progressing to the tool that removes the least. You use the same process with sandpaper. Now, I haven’t mastered the process, or even the tools involved, but I attempt it because I don’t like sanding.
    A co-worker gave me a shaving horse a few years ago and I found a really nice but inexpensive wooden spokeshave in an antique shop. I use these to shape the back of the neck, mainly because I prefer a typical guitar neck profile. Shaving a neck this way is probably my favorite part about making a CBG, apart from the part where I get to play it. If you like the rough-and-ready look, you can leave the corners created by the facets, or you can smooth those with a scraper. You almost don’t need to sand. I also use the shave when excavating the area under the soundboard if it’s a through-body neck.
    Not sure of the spiritual implications of my ramblings, but there you have them.

    1. Thanks for this Michael, yes, I’ve used those as well, not so much the spokeshave as the others. When I’m really in a hurry I’ll use wood rasps (coarse and fine) then a bit of paper to finish. But great input, thanks!! -Glenn

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