Reducing Ding and Dent Damage During Material Handling

      Tips for smart setup and careful material handling that can help you avoid costly labor for filling and sanding damaged surfaces. April 12, 2011

I feel as though too much time is spent sanding in my shop. Of course I realize that there is no way to avoid this step and I will always resent having to pay to have such mindless work done. But, it seems like we should be able to eliminate the need to fill and sand dings and scratches that happen during the processing and handling stages. How do you avoid the hundreds of tiny little accidents that increase filling and sanding time?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
Make a list of what causes them and eliminate the source. The use of filler is a reflection of poor quality. Fix that attitude too.

From contributor J:
Not to be critical but always resenting having to pay to have such mindless work done is a bit harsh! I mean really, we work with wood, and wood doesn't come smooth like plastic so no matter what you do there will always be surface prep that must be done. A couple posts ahead of mine it was suggested that you review your steps and see what you can do to reduce or eliminate the dents and scratches you find in your work, excellent advice. Go a step further and watch your employees as they handle materials and show them better ways to handle and move the material. Chances are that if they are bumping things and causing scratches etc. they are likely trying to carry too much or items that should be handled by two or more people are being handled by only one person. This could result in much bigger problems than a few scratches! I really hope you're just having a bad day and that once it passes you'll find a more positive approach to things!

From contributor Y:
Keep parts clean and free from debris right from the start. When dirty parts are moved and stacked they wear on each other. Keep work surfaces and machine beds clean and scratch free. Also look at the sheets when they are received, some are not always in the best of shape. Then consider how you store material (lifts) and how each sheet is taken from the lift to be processed. If one guy is dragging a sheet at a time out he may need a helper to lift instead of drag. In the end I would be happy to have guys that look for the dents and scratches and fill them before painting. I am sure they dislike sanding as much as you dislike paying for it. Work together to solve the problem I am sure the shop guys already know where it happens.

From contributor K:
When it comes to wood components, ff's doors, drawer fronts, end panels (less sheet goods) one of the last steps is a final run through the widebelt. This takes all the darn itís out of everything. From there it gets r/o sanded, dust removed then onto the finish rack. You really only need to be super careful at the end.

From contributor U:
I know there is always filling and sanding to be done when working with wood, but I too hate to work on those self inflicted scratches that could be avoided. We pad our storage racks with cardboard strips and carpeting to keep from creating drag scratches that is caused by sand or grit sitting on our storage surfaces. We keep our infeed table clean of grit also, on our cutting table/chop saw setup. We do a lot of tall work that passes through doors that are too low, we pad the top jams with carpet or sponge rubber so when we do bump them, there is no damage. Not only do we minimize the damage, but it lowers the level of frustration in the shop.

From contributor L:
We try to always order full units of material, saves all the vendor induced dings. There will be times when you have to order a few sheets, some vendors are worse than others! When we went to roller conveyors to move panels it reduced the amount of dings we had to deal with. There is one more step we need to do: install the overhead crane and vacuum lift to eliminate sliding panels when loading the saw or router. The last two years have been hard on money so only minor upgrades have been done in the shop.

From contributor S:
As Contributor Y says clean work surface is key. I have a blow nozzle at every work station, especially anything with a feeder. Then itís all in manually handling of material.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article