Practical Wood Working

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Wednesday January 03 2018

Making a Thickness Sander

It looks like a 'contraption', but it actually works about as good as I could expect it to. Which means that I probably will leave it as is. And since every make of belt sander would require a different set of plans, I probably won't be making plans any time soon either.

In case you, the reader, are interested in making one for yourself there are several things to consider, which I also briefly go over in the video.

The fence needs a camber adjustment so that you don't wind up with wedge shaped strips. Or at least if that's what you want you can at least control the size of the wedge. And of course you need to be able to set the thickness of the strips. The adjustment needs to be accurate and easy to do since you will no doubt have to run the strips through multiple times. Speaking of which... once you get to the desired thickness you may want to run the strips through upside down to help equalize the squareness of the strip. It may not be necessary with your sander so making some accurate measurements will give you an idea of what needs or need not be done.

As I mentioned in the video the adjusters are made with HDPE plastic. (Hopefully my wife won't notice her missing cutting board). It serves two purposes. By tapping threads into it the threaded rod won't vibrate out of adjustment. A nylon locking nut could also be used. One turn of 1/4 x 20 threaded rod seems to take of about .025". Later I'll dial that in a little better.

The second reason HDPE plastic is used is to hold the ends of the threaded rod. I could have done the same thing with wood but HDPE will hold up better to the wear and tear of use.

Eventually I will probably make a 'proper' thickness sander that can do about 18" wide material as well as thicker stock. But for now I only need to do thin strips and so this will do just that.

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