– Ben Martens

Oscillating Spindle Sander

spindlesanderI’m really enjoying my Grizzly band saw. It comes in handy on almost every single project. Now that I have the band saw, I find myself cutting a lot more curves. Curves were tricky to sand with my existing tools so that meant a lot of sanding by hand. With pine or other soft woods, that’s not too bad, but sanding walnut and maple can take a lot of effort.

To speed things up, I purchased an oscillating spindle sander. You install cylinders of various sizes into the machine. Each cylinder is covered in sand paper and it spins around. That’s the basic idea, but if it stopped there, the place where the sandpaper connected with the wood would fill up with dust very quickly and reduce the effectiveness of the sandpaper. In addition to spinning, this machine also moves the cylinder up and down which gives the sandpaper a chance to “breathe” and throw off some of the dust. There’s also a dust collection port which pulls in dust right around the cylinder so it keeps the air pretty clean.

This setup is really handy for sanding curves. Even if you don’t have a cylinder that matches your curve exactly, it will still be better than using a flat sanding surface.

I picked this one up at Harbor Freight for $99 with a coupon. I figure this is a great tool to buy from them because it doesn’t need to be super precise or perfect.

My shop is pretty well-stocked for tools now. This was the last power tool on my list. Obviously there are always more tools you can buy, but I feel like I’m well-equipped to handle most of the projects that I’m interested in. I’d still love some kind of a CNC machine or 3D printer, but I keep reminding myself that I have access to them for free through work and I haven’t even taken advantage of that yet. Those purchases are going to be a ways down the road which is fine because it will give the technology more time to mature.

Now I need to get started on some shop furniture. My jointer, planer, router table, drum sander and this new spindle sander don’t really have a good home and they each alternate between the floor and a folding table. I’m planning a few more rolling carts with storage underneath.