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Sanders for dummies

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  • Sanders for dummies

    I have been working out of a Diana Thompson book about boxes, wow, she is so great but I'm tired of sanding by hand. What kind of sander can I get that is not too expensive and will help a non-tool-user to even up these little rough spots?

    And, another question I've been having a bit of trouble with...the boxes I've been making are almost all unique shapes, but I do have a couple of square boxes I drew up and I'm having a horrible time actually cutting them square. The best method I've found so far is to draw a square on paper and put that on top and cut it out, although I must say I still suck at cutting straight lines ;p

    Thanks for all the great advice I've gotten from here. Nearly everything in my living room except my chair is something that somebody on this board recommended!

  • #2
    I use a black and decker mouse sander, sees to do the job for me and has a few different size attachments so for me it seemed to be the best choice. hope this helps.

    You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus...Mark Twain


    • #3
      That mouse sander works pretty good , I use it myself quite alot . those attachments are great for edges.

      "Everything Happens for a Reason"
      Craftsman 18in. 21609


      • #4
        for a non tool user, you could try belt sander strips, or sandpaper from a roll to sand contours on the outer edges. This is called an "Armstrong sander" . The stronger the arm, the faster it works! As an added bonus (as if the absence of using electricity isnt enough), if you need it done quicker, you "apply grease" to it when your sanding, just remember, a little elbow grease goes a long ways! For inside the boxes, would a spindle sander work?for less than $100 you can get a OSS (oscillating spindle sander) that may do the job, and they are pretty safe to use. Im not quite sure the boxes, or the shapes you are talking about, so all the above may be irrelevant. As for cutting a square, the only thing I can suggest is practice, and practice some more, it will come to you.
        I hope I helped, if not, sorry,
        Dale w/ yella saws


        • #5
          If you can make an accurately square box out of wood, you'll be able to make 80% of all general wooden projects because there's usually a box construction technique in there somewhere. I don't have the book you mentioned so I can't help out on the specific boxes. However, I have made a number of boxes myself so I can offer some general pointers.

          I've never tried to cut a perfectly square box on a scrollsaw. It's a wonderful tool for cutting curved lines but not for cutting dead accurate and repeatable straight lines. Tablesaws are undoubtedly the best tool to enable you to do this, although bandsaws can also do a good job.

          You'll need to make sure that the wood you're working with is accurately squared to begin with. You can do this by buying lumber that has already been prepared by the retailer; I believe it's described as being planed all round (PAR).

          When I made my first box I didn't have any machinery. Instead, I used a miter saw similar to this which is available for less than $30. It's important when cutting the sides of the box to length that they should be equal lengths. To do this, you fix a block of wood (known as a stop block) at the desired distance from the blade and make sure the wood you are cutting abuts this block when you cut. That way you will have repeatable lengths which can either be cut square or at an angle if you want a miter joint. When you have your sides cut to length and assembled them, always check that the diagonals are equidistant. If they are, it means your box is square; if they're not, a gentle tap can often bring them into square.

          I realise that this doesn't answer the question you've raised but I hope it shows that a little expense can get you a good solution. If you don't want to spend that much money, you could use the same technique by running a normal handsaw through a miter box such as this one for a little over $5. My preference would be the miter saw because it's more durable and will serve you well over many projects.

          I hope this has been of help but please forgive me if your general woodworking skills are more advanced than this post supposes.

          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


          • #6
            Lol, my general woodworking skills are in the negative numbers. I'm the kind of woman who says at the gas station, "Oil? It can't need oil; I just put some in last year." I thought about the table saw but 1) the ones I saw for sale were like $800, and 2) my son's convinced I will cut my fingers off. The miter saw looks pretty interesting--and the miter box looks within my capabilities!

            I'll check into those sanders today--anything named "mouse" ought to get along with me OK! As always, thanks for the wonderful advice

            These are the kind of boxes I'm talking about:


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