Friday, October 16, 2009

Thickness Sander

the beginning (bits and pieces)

disassembled (showing abrasive roll and dust hood)

finished 20" wide thickness sander

Getting a consistent and accurate thickness for a guitar soundboard is one of the most crucial and important steps in creating, voicing, and differentiating a custom instrument. Because every piece of wood is different in density, flexibility, and species this means every sample has a specific target thickness to achieve the 'perfect' or desired sound. By passing the stock under the abrasive wrapped drum the dimension can be dialed in far more accurately than I am capable of using hand planes, scrapers, and calipers. Not to mention a consistent outcome can be achieved in minutes rather than hours and, with the addition of dust collection, there is virtually no visible dust tossed around the shop or blown into the laundry room...

After fine tuning with shims, the drum and table are accurate to +-.006" over a 20" wide area which is not too shabby for a pile of scrap wood and mostly scavenged parts. The cherry wood was destined for a fire pile and the major parts (motor, shaft, and pulleys) donated by my generous father. Which meant all that was left to procure were the pillow blocks, piano hinge, short length of threaded rod, 3/4" plywood for the table, abrasive roll, and drive belt. I'm not certain of the final build cost but I do know this sander was far less then the Jet 22-44 and is just as capable for anything I will require.

The final product was certainly worth the effort and if you think you may want to make one of these please be inspired by Dominic's Drum Sander and this PDF article which I roughly modeled my machine after.

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