I can't find anyone in Ottawa to thickness sand my table top, so I've
decided to make my own thickness sander. (Yes, it will be alot of
work, but hey, I need a new project to work on anyways).
I'm currently investigating the drum of the sander. On the web, a lot
of people mention they use well-casings or steel pipes for the drums.
I'm a little weary of the thought of using a solid metal drum though
-- First, when the metal gets hot (and it will get hot), it will
expand. I'm worried that the expansion may lead to an uneven
thickness in the final product. Secondly, I'm not sure what type of
adhesive to use with metal and sandpaper such that you can remove the
sandpaper easily when it's done, and that won't give way when the
It would be nice if I could use an expandable rubber drums like the
ones on an oscelating sander. This would make it very simple to
replace the sandpaper -- just buy oscelating sander sleeves.
Unfortunately, I want the drum to be 22" wide, and I'm worried
that the standard 1/2" shaft may flex over that distance.
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?
Ok, the drum is a 1/2" steel bar, with MDF circles sandwiched together.
I used 3/4" MDF, and the drum is approx 24" long. It spins on some
pillow block bearings.
To "true" it up so that it's parallel to the table, make a board about
18" long, 3" wide out of mdf, and cut a belt sander belt (100 grit
should do the trick) so it's one big strip, and use some spray adhesive
to glue it to the board. Turn the drum on and take a pencil and mark
up the entire drum. This will give you an idea of when you've sanded
enough. Adjust the height of the table so that it barely is touching
the board, and move the board back and forth through the length of the
drum so that you are sanding the drum. With the pencil marks, you'll
be able to see the high and low spots as you sand off the pencil.
Don't try to true up the whole drum at once with a sanding board as
wide as the drum. When I tried this, the drum would just go nuts and
start deflecting as the sanding belt grabbed too much drum. Reminded
me of the washboard effect on a dirt road.
The sandpaper for the drum is the velcro strip variety. You buy a
strip of the "hook" side of velcro which has adhesive backing, and you
spiral that onto the drum. Then the sandpaper spirals on going in the
opposite direction, at least, that's what I did.
Replacing the sandpaper should be a snap, however, I STILL haven't
replaced it after many board feet. I bought two different grits, and I
believe I had 100 on there right now.
Take a look at my site and I have resources for all the supplies listed.
Larry Bud (in firstname.lastname@example.org)
| Here's mine!!!
Good web page! I think I'll add this to my "TO-DO" list.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
I was looking through some old issues of _Fine Woodworking_ yesterday,
and came across a design for a drum-based thickness sander in the
Nov/Dec. 1990 issue (#85).
This one had a drum made from particleboard cut into rings and layered,
with the occasional solid slab for solidity (actually, I think it was
narrow enough that they only had solid slabs at the ends, but on
something wide enough for a table, I'd think you'd want some in the
The sandpaper was attached by clipping it in place with a dowel that fit
into a groove in the drum and was held in place by springs. Also, the
drum was covered in permanently-glued-on rubber sheet.
It seemed like a pretty useful article, and probably worth tracking down
a copy if it's anything close to what you're looking for -- there was a
lot more information in it than I can write here!
The "bmoses-nospam" address is valid; no unmunging needed.
I'm pretty sure I saw a thickness sander the last time I was at Clarence
Creek Wood Select (http://www.woodselect.ca/fr /),
just east of Ottawa. I don't know how wide it was, but it could be close to
your 22". Call and ask.
- Owen -
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