thickness sanding

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How do you "stick" your thin pieces to a sled for running through your thickness sander?.What does everyone use?
I'm waiting on delivery of a Shopfox w 1740 sander hopefully this week and I've got sides a top and a back that need thinning.Thanks
Bill
 

Michael Smith

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Not sure how thin you are talking about Bill but you don't need a sled for sides, tops, bindings etc. You can sand down to about 40 thousands without any problems maybe even less. The only time I use a sled is to hold bone saddles. and to put an angle on kerfing but that is a different deal.
 

Yankulele

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I found that when I got close to final thickness on my Jet, the belt began to make occasional contact with the drum, effectively sanding the grit off both surfaces , making them a lot less abrasive and less effective. I put the piece on a plywood backer. No sticking is really needed if you hold pressure down onto the board in front of the drum and then behind the drum when it comes out. It's possible I need to tighten the belt, but it tracks straight, and feels like it's as tight as it wants to be. You do, however, want to measure your backer very carefully before use, as an uneven backer makes an uneven top, side, or back.

Nelson
 

printer2

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Home made drum sander and I have managed to take down stock to 0.040".
 

resoman

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When I used a sled on my first sander, it wouldn't go down far enough, I just glued a wooden strip at one end of the sled and butted the work piece to that so it wouldn't fly off. Then I just ran it through. Worked fine.
 
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tool gloat

This arrived today,much nicer to work with than my shop built thickness sander for the wood lathe. I really like the motorized feed table

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saltytri

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With the standard rubber belt, my Supermax isn't sufficiently accurate to make consistently thin strips. Almost right away, I swapped out the rubber belt for a very thin but grippy sandpaper belt. The correct size for you machine may or may not be available. With the sandpaper belt, I routinely make .020" purfling strips and various other parts that need to be consistent within a couple thou or so.
 
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With the standard rubber belt, my Supermax isn't sufficiently accurate to make consistently thin strips. Almost right away, I swapped out the rubber belt for a very thin but grippy sandpaper belt. The correct size for you machine may or may not be available. With the sandpaper belt, I routinely make .020" purfling strips and various other parts that need to be consistent within a couple thou or so.

Even with a sled?
 

saltytri

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Even with a sled?

That may very well work for you. Try it and let us know how it goes.

I do use a sled for nuts and saddles because they are too short otherwise to feed under the rollers and drums. I prefer not to use a sled for everything else because it adds a layer of complication to the process. But if it's what you need to do, go for it! :)
 

jcalkin

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Long ago I had an original Performax unit that attached to a radial arm saw. The easiest way to even the saw table to the sanding drum was to make a sled and push it through the machine. The fence that kept the wood on the sled could only be as tall as the thinnest wood that was sent through since it got sanded, too. When a piece of wood jumped the fence and shot into my fingertips it was quite painful. Years later, after joining Huss & Dalton, I used their big Performax and then their Time Saver. Every machine has its quirks and foibles. Years later again I swapped for a Jet 10/20 just to build ukuleles. It's a nasty little machine, but better than nothing. A sled was again necessary to even things out for sanding plates, but I mostly use it for making parts, for which it is OK. Thankfully, H&D lets me use their Time Saver, which is the king of thickness sanders. It's worth saving up the work and making the short trip just to avoid having a bigger machine in my small shop. My point is that if you don't foresee going into production a Safety Planer in the drill press and a random orbital sander may save you a lot of money and aggravation without making the work a hassle you'd rather avoid. Plus, they are multitaskers.
 
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Salty where did you get your sandpaper feed belt? Another question, I'd be afraid of the drum and drive belt hitting while sanding thin stock, is that an issue?

Jcalkin, thanks for the tip but it's too late. the shopfox is bought and delivered. Giving up the drink for two years has resulted in a bit of surplus cash so I splurged.
 

jcalkin

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No problem. Writing for a lutherie magazine has put me in the habit of writing to a general audience, not just the OP. As another builder who has given up liquor, I can only say that I'd rather be drinking. :(
 

saltytri

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Salty where did you get your sandpaper feed belt? Another question, I'd be afraid of the drum and drive belt hitting while sanding thin stock, is that an issue?

Jcalkin, thanks for the tip but it's too late. the shopfox is bought and delivered. Giving up the drink for two years has resulted in a bit of surplus cash so I splurged.

Try supergrit.com. I'm sure there are other sources also.

If the platen on the machine is flat and the belt is flat, there shouldn't be a problem. For doing really thin pieces, avoid any belt that doesn't have flat seam if you can. If there is a seam that is thicker than the rest of the belt, you'll have to be careful to insert the workpiece when the belt is in a part of its rotation where the seam won't get to the workpiece before it is through the drum.
 

BlackBearUkes

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If you want to sand wood really thin, you need to use a batten board. I use several in different sizes. A good size for ukes is about a foot or so wide and about two feet long and 3/4" thick. Put the wood to be sanded on the batten board and feed the whole thing into the sanding drum. If you should sand too thin and sand into the batten, at least you are not sanding into the feed belt.
 
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I'm using a piece of melamine covered shelving as a sled. To keep things from sliding around I glued two wide strips of sandpaper to it. On a test with a 2 ft by 1 in strip of walnut I took it down to approx 1/32 in thick with no problem..... I think this machine is a keeper.