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This week in the shop: sanding caddy

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Blog entry by Woodbutchery posted 08-06-2017 05:32 PM 652 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

So, a while back I tried to make a little sandpaper caddy for my disk paper which turned out to be a hideous lop-sided affair that seemed more an M.C. Escher exercise than a wood-working project. Needless to say, THAT was a bit of a down moment, but it all harked back to practicing with purpose. So I looked around, found a design I liked, used a better quality wood, and measured things a lot to make sure I was going to like the final product. 3/4 ” sides and middle divider between the 5 inch disks and the regular sandpaper sheets, and 3/8” for the top and bottom. I’ll probably put some pictures up in the project section later, but then again, I might not.

Two things about this project. Careful measurements, several times, and in one case there was a bit of a puzzle; how to measure the inner slots since I had the divider board sitting in a dado and the plan was to use my dado blade set to cut the channels for the various horizontal sheets that would hold the paper bits. The trick; I was planning on the channels for the five inch disks to be a different space between each from that of the sheet dados (I buy the disks in bulk, when I buy them), so how to make sure that the dados on the disk side of the divider match the inside channels of the outside wall, while getting the slots for the sheet side of the divider to match the inside channels of the outside wall on the sheet side. Everything clears? No? Good! It confused me for a while too.

My solution? Pre-assemble the whole thing and then use my 16” combination square to measure both sides at the same time. For the divider, I would mark a reference line on the opposite side of the face the dado would be cut. This would give me a match for both sides. The square allowed me to use the side of the box as a reference point, and off we go. There’s only one real caveat when using this method; make sure that you indicate WHICH SIDE of the reference line you’re supposed to cut the dado WHILE you are measuring so that both sides are even. Of COURSE I didn’t do that on the sheets side, so the dados are EXACTLY 1/4” too high on the inside facing of the outside wall. For now, I’m using it as an exercise in trying to fight OCD and serve as a reminder that planning ahead is a helpful thing.

The other thing was that i was careful to give myself about 1/4” of space between the top of the caddy and the bottom of the tool cabinet, which the caddy is meant to sit under. Unfortunately, in all my measurement, somehow that 1/4” got lost and I made it ALMOST exactly to fill the space under the cabinet. I say “almost” because really I was about 3/16” too tall to fit under the cabinet.

Enter The Smoothing Plane! Using my table saw fence and a couple of clamps, I secured the box to my table saw cabinet and commenced to knocking off a little wood from each side with my No. 4 smoothing plane (it’s really the only smoothing plane I have, not the fourth one; the others being a block plane, a rebate plane, and a router plane, but … well … there we go), then sanding with 50 grit to pull another thousandth or two off each side, then 120 grit just to smooth it to an acceptable level (mind you, these two surfaces will never see the light of day again, and given the fit under the tool cabinet, may not get much air, either, but I try to practice doing things right where I can). A few nudges to get it in place under the tool cabinet for a VERY tight fit, and then cut the dividers to fit the two compartments, where I find out my issue with the earlier mentioned dados (at least the disk sander compartment dados were even).

In the end, despite the wonky sheet trays and the very tight fit under the cabinet, the overall effect is exactly what I was trying for in my first attempt. With the dados, I could fix them if I really worried about it, but for now it’s a lesson learned, and the sandpaper doesn’t seem to care if it’s at an angle or not, so I’ll let them reside in ignorance. The build is sturdy, looks like it came from a plan rather than a cobble, and it provides storage for sandpaper disks, sheets, as well as my sanding blocks (see them in my projects list. Ain’t they purdy?).

When writing these things, my purpose is two-fold; to document my learning process, because a lot of the stuff that shows up in the projects pages and on these blogs would hold a big intimidation factor for someone like me, who is learning this on a shoestring and between two other time-consuming hobbies and a job (me? I have no sense of shame or personal space, and so it’s less intimidating, but I know of a number of people who are trying to learn music who get caught up in the “not being good enough to play in front of others” mindset, and that’s with music, which has more tolerance than woodworking for mistakes), and two to provide a little entertainment for those of you who understand that we are ALL learning things, every time we set out in our workshop, which is why we enjoy doing what we do.

As always thanks for reading if you’ve got this far. Comments are always welcome.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery



1 comment so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 796 days


#1 posted 08-06-2017 09:27 PM

Congrats on your new sanding caddy … even if you did have to take a few steps backwards. Yes, do post it as a project! Keep at it … have fun!

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