Figuring out how to make sandpaper available was a challenge. My first method was tearing small strips of sanding sheets. Although effective, this took time, and I seemed to be misplacing the sheets fairly frequently.
I looked into smarter ways of sanding on the lathe. I found woodturner’s packs of sandpaper, with 1” strips of various grits. This made a lot more sense than tearing strips of sheets of sandpaper. However, the packs seemed a bit pricey, and I wanted to be able to conceal the sandpaper dispenser. I found some more economical sandpaper rolls on woodworker.com, and ordered a few different grits. I wanted to be able to sand up to 600 grit, so I picked some up on Amazon.
I needed a spindle to hold the sandpaper rolls. I had turned a couple of elm blanks that were about 1 ½” in diameter, which would work well. I sanded one of these. My plan was to mount the dispenser underneath the lathe stand. I needed a stable construct to mount the spindle to, since the sandpaper rolls would be fairly heavy, and simply bolting the spindle to the table would not likely give enough support.
I used some ½” maple to make a base and side. The ide would attach permanently to the base and support the spindle. I predrilled some holes in the base for attachment to the lathe stand. I then made a second side to block the sandpaper rolls from sliding out. I also needed this side to rotate out of the way to change the rolls. The pivot point had to be near the end of the attachment of the side to the base for optimal exposure of the spindle. Furthermore, I needed to chamfer or round the edge of the corner nearest to the pivot point to allow enough rotation. Finally, I wanted to be able to remove the entire spindle in order to reload it, which would allow me to fit larger sanding rolls. I put a ¼” x 3” bolt through the permanent side near the back lower corner. I used a locking washer and blue threadlock to try to avoid rotation of the bolt with unscrewing the spindle. I predrilled the spindle end for a fairly snug fit, used a fair amount of beeswax on bolt threads, and attached the spindle.
I was concerned about friction between the sandpaper rolls, making it difficult to pull out a strip. I bought a sheet of ¼” x 4” x 48” ultra-high molecular weight plastic from Peachtree Woodworking (ptreeusa.com). I planned out my spindle for a length of 6×1” rolls of sandpaper, and cut 4” lengths of the UHMW plastic for spacers between. Since this material is low-friction and self-lubricating, I figured this would be a good material to use as dividers. I used the scrollsaw to cut out circles in the center for the spindle, and chamfered the corners.
The last (initial) design challenge was to figure out how to dispense the sandpaper without having it roll back under the table. I considered different ways of trying to keep the sandpaper in place, from a spring-loaded retention system to cutting slots in one of the 2×4’s making up the frame of the table and feeding the strips through it. In the end I decided to run the strips through two pieces of UHMW plastic. I placed two screws on either side of each strip location, which could be tightened if the sandpaper passed too easily, or loosened if too tight. I mounted these strips under the supporting 2×4 directly in front of the dispenser.
I mounted the dispenser back a few inches from the edge of the table to allow for larger sandpaper rolls. However, I was concerned that this was still not enough distance for the rotating side to swing out of the way to remove the spindle. I used a jigsaw to cut a wedge out of the front 2×4 at the bottom of the lathe stand to allow for further rotation.
Frame with spindle in place:
Spacers and sandpaper rolls in place on frame and spindle:
Frame in place under table:
UHMW strips marked for grit:
View from front of stand:
Close-up of strips coming through UHMW plastic:
-- My projects are imperfect in every way, just like their creator. Their creator loves them nonetheless, just like mine.