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Monday, April 15, 2013

Drum sander alternative

If you're interested in making bowls from glued-up blanks, you know that getting the finished blank flat without a drum sander is quite a task.  One of my readers found the following approach useful, and kindly made the plans available to anyone in need of a drum sander alternative.  Here it is:

I made a router planing jig based on a plan from workshopcompanion.com. I made the jig, installed an Amana 1 1/4” bowl and tray bit (#45986) which has a flat bottom, and went to work on it. The routing itself was easy.  I made shallow cuts and overlapped my passes, probably more than I needed but this was an initial test. I began by putting the flattest side face down, (wedged it in) did the routing and then flipped the piece and routed the second side. It came out amazingly good. I briefly sanded the face with 320 grit paper on my RO sander and the faces were smooth as silk and absolutely flat. My only cost was the purchase of the bit, which I got from Marden’s, Inc. in Waterville, Maine. I made my purchase thru Amazon. Marden'had this bit for about $25 whereas every else wanted $40 or more. I already had the wood so my total cost for the project was about $30 and a couple of hours work to build the jig.  I found that no matter which way you run the router against the blank there is absolutely no tear out as the bit has a 1/4” radius and does not aggressively attack the edges of the blank, regardless of the direction of the grain.

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