I am always building or fixing something in my shop. It ranges from new hydraulic lines to matchbox car wheels but with the majority of the work I do in my shop sandpaper plays a pretty heft role in the success of each project. You know that when you get in the midst of working on a project the last thing you want to do is go on a manhunt for that one $@# tool you need. Sandpaper is the oddball out when it comes to "tools" and often in lieu of searching near and far for that sheet of 180 grit you know was just on the table you instead grab a new sheet from the box. And, if you are like me, you end up with 20 folded pieces of 180 grit scattered about the entire shop or, even more likely, 100 folded pieces of sandpaper of various grits. Somewhere between a cyclone of frustration and accidentally sucking the second sheet of sandpaper into my vacuum system I came up with this nifty sandpaper organizer. I had the plastic tool box thing sitting around and literally collecting dust (got it for free at a garage sale) and decided it was time to make some actual use with it. Best part is, it only took about 30 minutes to solve my abrasive woes, and oddly enough I didn't need to use sandpaper to build it.
Step 1: Not Much to It - Design and Cut
I started with my free plastic tool box but you could use pretty much any kitchen caddy or plastic tote. I had some off cut pieces of 3/16" MDF that I decided would work the best and would be, well, free. I used my glue gun to affix them to the plastic box. I have used this for over a year and not one thing has moved, so the glue gun works perfectly. You will have to figure out your spacing based upon your box's length and how many different grits you plan on organizing on each side. I also dedicated one side to folded 1/2 sheets of sandpaper and one side to sanding discs since I use these two configurations the most in my shop. I would say that a spacing of 1" to 1-1/2" works the best, so aim for that.
Cut your spacers:
Measure the width and depth of your interior dimension of the plastic box and cut as many spacers as you need from your stock. I had to make some perpendicular pieces for my sanding discs as you can see in the images.
Step 2: Glue in Your Spacers
If you cut the spacers just tight enough they will hold tight with friction and you can easily put a bead of glue at all four intersections. You don't need to go crazy here, it's not like the sandpaper is going to jump out or through a nitty gritty party. I would say you can probably go 1/2 way down the corner of the spacer with glue. It will get tougher as you work towards the end and you might need to put glue on the spacer for the last one and slide it into place, just don't burn yourself. I used a sharpie to mark where each grit goes.
Step 3: Organize Your Sandpaper, Insert, and Smile :)
There is something so satisfying about organizing something, especially when you organize it for good. Get out yer' lasso and haws and round up all dem sandpaper slices that have ridiculed for so long, their time has come to be corralled. Any cruddy sandpaper can find its way to the trash and the rest of it can be organized by grit and put into place.
Oh pure joy! Now your sandpaper caddy can be brought out during projects and put back with sandpaper in tact! No one really likes sanding, but when you know exactly where everything is the sands of time are more on your side.