advise on sanding alder panels.

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One thing I may not have made clear. You want to feed the stock at the fastest rate (10fpm) on the Performax to minimize the potential for burning. To give you an idea of how light you'll be adjusting the height of the drum - with both motors off, place the stock under the drum and lower the drum while spinning it by hand. Lower it until it will not spin by hand and stop. Now back off (raise the drum) until you can again spin the drum - it will be rubbing on the stocking. Remove the stock, now start both motors, feed the stock in at a slight angle and let it go thru. Without making any adjustments, flip the stock and put it thru.
Now take a pencil and draw a couple of lines (one on each side of stock) and feed it thru again - both sides. If you adjusted the drum properly (light touch) you should still be able to see the pencil line on about 90% of the stock. Since you haven't tweaked the settings yet or know the secret handshake for minimizing snipe (yes - snipe does happen on a drum sander). Keep in mind that the drum and paper will warm up with use. You may have to tighten the roll after a bit of use. So be aware that as the paper and roll warm up, any resins in the stock will cause instant loading up of the paper and a long burn streak/s will occur on the stock followed by a loud "Ah Sheeeeeeeeet.....!". Can't overemphasis it enough - light passes, 1/8th turn max on drum height adjuster or pay the piper. You will anyway......;-)
When you get your Performax, come on back and ask how it's to be setup. There's a couple of minor tweaks and a very small modification you can make to the head adjustment which makes life a bit easier. If you get the WoodTek, hopefully somebody here can offer some advice but at the moment, no one is jumping in and saying anything about a Woodtek - have you noticed?
Unless you have some reviews or others saying it's a good machine I wouldn't let a 3hp chiwanese motor be the decision maker. Get your hands on one or at least make an agreement with the store you deal with about returning it if you don't like it (and watch the restocking fee's).
Bob S.
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Is there some way to jig up a portable belt sander to use it like a, well, narrow wide belt sander? I mean if all your boards are getting planed to the same thickness how complicated a sander do you really need? I do a lot of intarsia and need a supply of 1/8" thick wood, and I'd like to resaw it myself, but then surfacing it all, I don't need, have room for, or could afford a 30" wide or even 16" wide sander to sand 3 inch wide boards.
-Leuf
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Uncle Don also had a home made machine. There is one much like it in a book. The Workshop Book by Scott Landis from Taunton press, Page 82. It's called a stroke sander. A flat table holds material while a long belt moves over the material, without touching it.You use paddles that look like jointer push blocks with well waxed bottoms to apply pressure to the back of the belt, wherever you want the sanding belt to do its work. Does the same job as a belt sander without digging the edge in or popping a wheelie and marring your work.Never changes direction to cross the grain of your expensive and fancy hardwood either. I KNOW we would all miss that! wouldn't we?
Tom in KY,it's after midnight, what am I doing up on a Friday night writing to you guys?
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First of all, kudos. Wonderfully clever ideas. I like to see fresh ideasthey're a bit rare these days.
I have had my share of sanding issues in my history. First thousands of loudspeaker boxes (started off as a hobby business). They were mostly made of 32nd" walnut veneers on high density particle board. They were assembled with v-grooves and then glued with RF adhesive technology. Then the sanding. After a long time of research and talking to a lot of mass production types, the same answer kept popping up. Stroke sanders.
They're basically a very long belt which moves close the work under it and then the belt is pushed down, manually, with a pad which travels on a set of rails. That way you cover a lot of area, quickly.. and flat. here's one example, albeit a big one: http://www.industrial-supply-store.com/machinery/machine8.php I got mine from a defunct piano factory in Rochester NY back in '88.
They're mighty versatile machines and come in a variety of sizes.... at auctions too.
It's one of those deals: beg, borrow, whatever...just do it... you will never regret it.
Drum sanders are not what you want. IMHO.
Respectfully,
Rob
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