|Forum topic by Alin Dobra||posted 11-28-2007 02:44 AM||4223 views||1 time favorited||12 replies|
11-28-2007 02:44 AM
Lately, a lot of lumberjocks started to make/post bandsaw boxes. Tony Ward popped the question how much time is spent sanding a box. I want to extend the question to how do you sand your boxes. Here is my latest method (I keep on refining it).
1. The secret to reducing the amount of sanding is to bandsaw as precisely as possible. This involves the following things: a) cut smooth curves. Resist the temptation to correct abrubtly b) cut as much as possible in a single move. If you stop on some wood types the wood gets burned (cherry does this) c) cut with a good quality blade (I use a 3/32 Timberwoolf blade)
2. I start sanding using the random belt sander at 80 Grit. It is tempting to start at 60 or 50 but I found that the scratches are so deep that I never get them out with subsequent grits
3. Sand by machine up to 150 Grit
4. Sand by hand at 180 and 220.
In general, sanding is boring. For bandsaw boxes I found that sanding is downright frustrating. Since the surface is curved, it is very hard to uniformly sand all the time. A simple mistake with the 80 grit will be visible when you apply finish. When using a machine to sand, it is very hard to maintain perfect pressure and balance of the wood and non-uniformities inevitably arise. For the last batch of boxes I made (11 at a time) out of frustration I started using paint thinner in the following way: (a) I put some paint thinner on a rag (not too much) and wipe the box, (b) I sand with the current grit until I remove the paint thinner. The paint thinner will make it obvious where the sand paper scratched and where it did not. Since this provides instant feedback, it improves the sanding skill as well. The downsides of the “wetting” method is that it smells and the sandpaper gets loaded up. I have a rubber sandpaper cleaner that I use to remove the mess every 30 seconds or so.
Once I sand at 150 on the sander, I switch to hand sanding. I get a lot of control this way and it works fast (just have to touch all the surfaces 3-4 times). Sanding with a sanding pad is out of the question except for the face and back which are straight. For the curved surfaces, I found at Walmart sheets of coloured foam with adhesive on one side (craft foam). I glue tow pieces together to get 1/8 of foam and then I glue the sandpaper. I use half of a 1/4 of a sheet of sandpaper (1/8 of a sheet). The foam is sturdy enough not to follow imperfections but soft enough to follow the curves. For the tight spots (like the inside curve on the “Leaf” box), I sand entirely by hand using this method. I take care to sand only along the grain.
In terms of how much time it takes (on everybody’s mind) I probably spend between 1-1/2 and 2 hours sanding. for a medium size box. In comparison, I spend about 1 to 1-1/2 hours sanding the natural edge bowls I make (sanded on the drill press with the new-wave system).
How do you guys sand the boxes and how much time it takes you?
-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida