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Hints and Tips #16: Flattening a Box

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 11-07-2015 02:46 AM 1055 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Another Way to Break Down a Log Part 16 of Hints and Tips series Part 17: DIY Small Sanding Spindle »

I’ve been making a few boxes lately and have at least one more to go. I saw this technique for fine tuning the bottom or top edges of a box on a YouTube video about guitar making. In the video the luthier had a large sheet of sandpaper glued to a piece of plywood. After creating the sides of the guitar body, he would rub the edges of the body (sans bottom or top) on the sandpaper to even out the edges completely.

Since my joinery is far from perfect, I’ve been using this method on a smaller scale to even off the top and bottom edges of my boxes. I use a piece of 60 or 80 grit sandpaper, holding it firmly with my left hand while I use my right to scrape the box body away from me until the joints even off.

It’s perhaps not exactly craftsman-like, but the results are what I’m after. I’ve been usng the same system to even out my mitered corners, by running the sides on the sandpaper as well. Final sanding on the sides is done with a random orbit sander.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!



6 comments so far

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 552 days


#1 posted 11-07-2015 02:59 AM

Once upon a time I worked at an aircraft engine facility and I can tell you that’s just about exactly how we flattened the top edges of the oil pans so they would seat to the engines properly. We just used a granite surface plate as opposed to a piece of plywood, but same principle. If you want really flat, move the piece in figure-8’s.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1430 posts in 1653 days


#2 posted 11-07-2015 03:11 AM



Once upon a time I worked at an aircraft engine facility and I can tell you that s just about exactly how we flattened the top edges of the oil pans so they would seat to the engines properly. We just used a granite surface plate as opposed to a piece of plywood, but same principle. If you want really flat, move the piece in figure-8 s.

- dyfhid

It occurs to me that we have two granite cutting boards up in our attic, aging. I should bring them down for such uses. I could also start making my chisels and plane blades scary sharp I suppose.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View NormG's profile

NormG

5506 posts in 2469 days


#3 posted 11-07-2015 04:35 AM

I use this method for sharpening and I have been know to use it o sand. Great idea for the boxes

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3688 posts in 1730 days


#4 posted 11-07-2015 05:04 AM

I’ve been using the same method to flatten piece for glue ups for all my Christmas trees. I got my big piece of sand paper from a friend who has a cabinet shop. He has a 24” Powermatic wide belt sander. I stopped by one morning for no reason out of the world. He let me have a bunch of scrap wood. I asked him why that sander belt was standing in the corner. He told me they had just put it on the machine this morning and it ripped off a couple of inches on one side. Whatcha going to do with it? I asked. Throw it out he says. Can I have it. Yeah get it out of here he says. Looking at it really ticked him off. So now I clamp it to the top of my table saw extension and use it to flatten boards and boxes. works like a charm and I get a pretty decent workout!

View bosum3919's profile

bosum3919

338 posts in 1084 days


#5 posted 11-07-2015 04:24 PM

Andy did a blog on his artbox and I discovered a little gem hidden inside the blog. He doesn’t give a lot of detail, but I built one anyway and have used the heck out of it. It gives you a larger work surface than just a large sheet of sand paper and is extremely versatile. I made mine from MDF and it is extremely flat.

-- Bob

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2799 days


#6 posted 11-07-2015 10:32 PM

Good thing to learn. I use a sanding plate to get my lids and box bodies perfectly mated and also to perfectly level the box bottom after glue-up. I don’t use it on the sides, front and back though as I plane and sand those before glue-up. I use my sanding plate for a lot of other things too. They are very useful.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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