Monday, September 13, 2010

A Sanding Board

The sanding board pictured is the converse of a sanding block -- the abrasive stays puts and the work the gets moved against it. The cast/machined router base in the photograph is what led me to come up with this.

I bought the router a long time ago, used it once for something inconsequential, then had no further use for it for quite a while. Then something came up that called for a router mounted in a stand. I acquired a stand and mounted the router in it. Something looked amiss. Peering across the surface of the router table, I could see that the table had a pronounced convexity to it. I dismounted the router and the convexity went away. I put a straightedge across the router's base and there was the source of the convexity -- what was supposed to be a dead flat metal plane was pronouncedly convex; not too impressive.

I figured it was far too late to take the router back to Sears, so I set about devising a way to fix it. I had this piece of dead flat 1 1/16" thick melamine-clad particleboard on hand (I know not where it came from.) and it struck me that it might make a fine sanding board. A bit of work to devise a clamping scheme for the paper got me the board you see in the photo, and it worked just fine. A sheet of medium-fine aluminum-oxide paper got the router base flattened in short order.

Since then, the board has proven useful again and again. Many small objects are much more easily sanded by presenting the work to the sandpaper, rather than by presenting the sandpaper to the work.

The sanding surface available is 8" wide; only 1" of a 9" x 11" sheet's width is lost to the clamps. The clamp angles in the photo were made from some ancient salvaged mini-computer cabinet parts. 1/8" x 1/2" steel bar stock would work as well; you just want the clamps not to protrude up above the surface of the sandpaper. I installed six 6-32 tee-nuts in the board's underside for the clamping screws. Clamping with wood screws directly into particleboard would be a bad idea; the threads would eventually strip out.

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