Some of the best ideas are also some of the
simplest! And that saying seems to hold true for the Renrut
sanding block. For those who prefer hand sanding instead of
power sanding, and I guess there are some benefits to the
traditional ways, the Renrut sanding block may well interest
The Renrut Sanding Block
Sanding is probably not every woodworker's favorite past
time, in fact, it probably isn't any woodworker's favorite task!
The advent of power sanders made this task much quicker and
easier, but along with that came clouds and plumes of dust in
the working area and associated health hazards that come along
with it. Hand sanding is not immune to this either, but there is
generally less airborne dust from hand sanding then there is
from a ROS or belt sander.
With power sanders of all shapes and sizes
designed for just about any sanding task, and sanding pads/discs
being very affordable through mass production, there are very
few reasons to hand sand anything it would seem.
But, what you do lose going the power sanding
route is that "direct" feeling of working on wooden material
with your hands. It probably the same reason many prefer hand
planes over power planers, or drill and chisel over powered
mortise machines. In fact, there can be much joy to hand sanding
a woodworking project.
I, like most of you, probably don't like hand
sanding because it can be quite uncomfortable, if not painful,
working away material using a piece of sandpaper wrapped around
a cork sanding block, or using those foam sanders which are
costly and don't last terribly long. Most hand sanding devices
are not terribly comfortable, or easy to use.
So along comes the Renrut Sanding Block. And
indeed, when I first looked at it I thought it would probably be
the most uncomfortable sanding block I had used to date! But
after picking it up and grasping it in the use position, my
first thoughts seemed like they would be invalid quite quickly.
The Renrut looks a little like your normal block
of wood you might rap a sanding sheet around, but with some
major differences. It is made of what appears to be pine wood,
produced from renewable resource farms and also features an
adjustable "tension" system comprising of a hardwood block and
screw assembly. So what's this for? Well, unlike ordinary cork
sanding blocks which use sheet sandpaper, the Renrut Sanding
Block uses sanding belts made for powered belt sanders. The main
advantage of using sanding belts is that they are designed and
produced for use on powered sanders and are generally much
tougher and hold their surface a lot longer than normal sanding
sheets. Using a sanding belt designed for a power tool in a
hand-use application, you can expect to get a lot more use out
of one belt than you can with several sheets of regular
The "tension" mechanism I mentioned above works
in a similar way to a powered belt sander tension system, but
without the spring. Basically, you fit a cloth-backed 457mm
(18") sanding belt (commonly available from hardware stores)
over the Renrut block, then you turn the screws on either side
of the block clockwise to force the hardwood block on the end of
the Renrut to move outwards from the block. This essentially
"clamps" the belt onto the sanding block and keeps it there. No
need to hold the sandpaper against the block with this hand
tool. To release the belt, just remove the tension by loosening
the screws. Simple and easy. The two screws are recessed into
the side of the block on an angle, so there is no screws
protruding from the block. In addition, the recessed section of
the block that houses the screw also provides a place for thumbs
and forefingers to sit on the side of the block.
The block itself has a rectangular prism shape
with rounded front and rear ends, although the long sides remain
square to ensure flat surface sanding. The top and bottom faces
are machined flat and the width of the block is sufficiently
wide to comfortably fit in the hand with stretching of fingers
or "pinching" of fingers, like you might do with smaller, narrow
The Renrut is marketed as a sanding block for many different
trades, and indeed it could be used effectively across many
specialist trades. The manufacturer lists the following
applications as suitable uses for the Renrut. I'll list them (in
bold) then discuss the result based on my use of the sanding
block for these functions.
Woodworkers - Great for shaping with a course belt, and for
those with arthritis or other problems of the hand
Yes, true. I quite enjoy using the Renrut for
most sanding tasks on the larger scale. Because of its size,
it is not suitable for all sanding tasks, especially where
tight corners or sanding block access is an issue, but for
boards, table tops, rails, panels and anything else that
requires sanding a flat surface with good access for tools,
the Renrut is ideal. The Renrut is becoming an almost
overused accessory in my shop come sanding time. I probably
never thought I would say it, but I prefer using it over
power sanders in many instances. On the flip side, you wont
see me tossing out my power sanders anytime soon however
Builders - Fitting doors by breaking the edge, final quick
I can't say I have used it
much for door work yet, but the application and results can
be easily predicted.
Shapers - Shape your work quickly and easily
True for finer shaping and sanding. A
specialized power sander/shaper will be even easier and
quicker, but if its just a small job then the Renrut is
probably easier, given that you probably have to pull out the
power sander, plug it in, set it up etc etc. You can take the
Renrut straight off the shelf and be sanding immediately.
Tilers - Remove the sharp edge of tiles
I never really thought of using the Renrut for
this task until I read it on the manufacturers site, and given
that I am right in the middle of some major home tiling jobs,
I tried it out. Yes it works for removing sharp tile edges,
but it honestly didn't get a whole lot of use in this
application for me.
Painters - finish sand before repainting without making
Yes this will work for this with the proper
sanding paper for painters. I find very little need to sand
between coats of paint of most things, except maybe boat
hulls, but the paint should stick to itself well enough to
avoid sanding if it is of decent quality. I quess if you
painted unevenly somewhere or have blemishes of some kind
after the first coat then it would be useful to have a
comfortable sanding block.
Makers - Excellent for MDF and plywood
Personally, I try to avoid using MDF full stop.
Cutting it is bad enough! Sanding it... hmmm, pass. But of
course, no matter the material, the Renrut sanding block works
in pretty much the same manner anyway so it should be fine. I
found it useful on CD grade plywood to knock off any rough
surfaces and definitely useful for removing furring or
chipping of cut plywood edges to clean them up. It works well
- accurate sanding of rebates, doors, sills
Because of the Renrut block's hard, flat
wooden faces, you can accurately and cleanly sand most flat
surfaces quickly. Where it particularly shines is in
combination use with a hand plane and a shooting board for
mitered or angle joints. Once you have planed the joint
smooth, the Renrut can be used with a shooting board or jig
for final fine-tuning to ensure a perfect joint fit.
Plasterers - works great for small plastering jobs
Yes it does indeed work fine for small
jobs, but I would probably choose another method for anything
larger. Sanding plasterboard compound or joints creates a
massive amount of fine dust. This generally clogs most
sandpapers quite quickly. I have found the mesh sandpaper
designed for plasterboard sanding to be much more effective,
but this only comes in small strip sheets and not in belt form
for use on the Renrut, although you probably wouldn't use it
on this tool anyway even if it was available in belt form.
Also, for larger plastering tasks, you really want to get
yourself a powered sander with excellent dust collection to
remove as much fine plaster dust directly at the source before
it can get airborne. So yes, ok for very small plaster
repairs, but there are better tools around for larger jobs.
Plastics, Craft Workers, Handyman and more . . .
I can tell you it comes in handy for very fine shaping of
acrylic sheets, because I used it for that just the other day
to knock off a sharp edge following a cut. The benefits are
also easily evident for handypersons engaging in hand sanding
The Renrut Sanding Block is a simple, but effective tool for
sanding large surfaces or in any sanding task where you do not
need to get into tight places. It's ability to use cloth backed
power sanding belts means you can get a lot more sanding out of
one belt than you can with many sheets of sandpaper because
power sanding belts are generally much more durable and longer
lasting. And when one section of the sanding belt becomes worn,
either flip the Renrut block over and use the other side, or you
can rotate the belt around the block to expose a clean section
of the belt.
Priced at a little over $20 each, any
tradesperson, woodworker or DIY enthusiast would probably
recover the cost of it in excess use of sheet sandpaper quite
easily. Sure, sanding belts cost perhaps 4-5x more per unit but
my guesstimate is that the belts last at least 10x longer,
perhaps more like 15x longer than a single sheet of sandpaper in
hand sanding tasks.
Renrut Sanding Block Photos
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The Renrut Sanding Block
The "tension" mechanism. Tightening the screw forces the
hardwood block at the end outwards to "clamp" the sanding belt onto the
Use durable power sanding belts 18" in length.
Securing a sanding belt onto the
Renrut Sanding Block.
Great for flat face sanding of virtually anything.
Ok for small plaster jobs but there are better options
for larger plastering tasks.