|Project by Alin Dobra||posted 10-05-2007 04:09 AM||1393 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
I made this bed for my 5 year old son from cherry I got at a local mill. The design is from Wood magazine (bought online). The original design recommended using oak for the whole bed except the panels, for which oak plywood was recommended. I decided to use only solid cherry since I could find enough with a similar look (I suspect it comes from the same tree).
This is the first piece of furniture I made out of cherry and I am really impressed with the look cherry gets after some aging. This is also the first project that I sanded completely by hand. This might sound crazy but, as I will explain, it works faster than random orbit sanding.
*Efficient hand sanding method:
I use the new 5x Norton sanding paper. It works really well and it is supper efficient. I purchased about 10 sanding blocks from Wal-mart that have an ergonomic design (fit well in the hand and are comfortable even after prolonged use). I have each grit in a separate sanding block and I align all sanding blocks on the work table. I start sanding with 100 grit with long strikes and I cover each face 4 times. Then, I switch to progressively smaller grits and I do only 3 passes with light pressure. The moves are very long and the whole thing feels like working in the gym. I can usually send for about 1 hour like this and I get a really good workout as well. Since I can switch between grits in about 3 seconds and I can be quite aggressive, I am sanding very fast and efficiently. The final result is really good and, since I sand along the grain all the time, I get no visible sanding scratches at all. I think that, with the random orbit sander I go at least 3-4 times slower. Even if you factor out time to catch your breath, sanding by hand still seems faster. Of course, this method works well on large flat surfaces with little joinery. Since this project, I use the random orbit sander only for sanding joints (wood grain changes direction) or in tight spaces.
While the sanding paper I use is expensive (about 1$/sheet), I find that I use very little. I bought packs of 20 sheets 1 year ago and, by the way things look, I will still have enough for at least another year.
I realize that the sanding method I described is a little unorthodox in this day and age but, especially if you are young and want to stay in shape, you might want to give it a try. Having comfortable sanding blocks is essential though.
-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida