|Review by Charles Brock||posted 04-21-2010 07:20 PM||3101 views||2 times favorited||3 comments|
I build Maloof inspired rockers and chairs for customers as well as teaching classes and producing instructional bundles for my chairs. You can see my work at www.charlesbrockchairmaker.com.
Some of my hobbies include playing guitar, dobro and own several other string instruments. Recently, I was surfing a supply and tool site for luthiers called Stew-Mac. I saw a tool called “The Luthier’s Friend.” It was designed to sand small strips of binding or wood that are used to build guitars. It is a vertically mounted drum sander, fence attachment for the drill press.
Just like the rest of you guys, I don’t have enough room. My 16-32 Performax drum sander takes up valuable floor space in my shop and costs $900. As a chair maker its only use has been sanding lamination’s for rocker sleds. Maybe the Luthiers Friend (it hangs on a peg hook) could sand the few laminations that needed drum sanding and free up some floor space for assembly and carving. After Googling the name of the tool I found some info about the designer and gave him a call. Ken Picou is a fine woodworker, tool maker and designer (http://www.bigtimebait.com/) in Austin, Texas. Ken sent me one to put through the paces.
The Luthier’s Friend is a friend to anyone who needs to quickly sand thin strips of wood like my laminations. The operator simply sets the fence to reveal the desired thickness between the fence and the sanding drum. Don’t take a big bite(just like the Performax drum sander) and pass the laminations through the opening. The base of the unit provides zero clearance with the bottom edge of the sanding drum (which is also outfitted with a roller guide on the bottom and is called a Roto-Sander). A great little dust control shroud picks up that pesky stuff. Way to go Ken you have a tool that does what it was designed to do. Save money over buying the big drum sander, and valuable space (did I mention it hangs on a peg hook).
The Roto-Sander can be used to duplicate the rocker’s back legs from a template without the dangers of router table duplication with a two inch bit. Ouch!
It is also available from Highland Woodworking.
-- Charles Brock