Pre-judging a Tool

It is a rare thing for a tool to perform significantly different to what you imagined, and often that is not a positive thing.

So it is even rarer to find oneself completely surprised by how a tool just purchased operates, and in a good way!

The tool in question is the Arbortech Contour Sander.  It is fitted to an angle grinder and is for smoothing odd shaped items (such as one might create with some of the other Arbortech tools!)

Now the angle grinder is not exactly a tool that you would regard as being subtle.  It is loud, it vibrates, and it runs at around 10,000 RPM.  You would imagine that attaching a shaft to that, and sticking a piece of sandpaper on the end, that you are about to have some very rapid stock removal, in a cloud of dust.

Nothing could have been further removed from my expectation.

Instead, I had a tool running at very high speed (as angle grinders are want to do), but the sandpaper end was barely moving on the workpiece.  It is a random orbital sander style, so the rapid angular speed of the angle grinder translates into a more linear, but random amount of microstrokes.

It was subtle, it sanded quickly, but at a very controllable rate, and the soft end allowed the contours be sanded, without them being removed or abraded away.  Contour Sander indeed!

I think my only negative point was that the sandpaper is stuck on, rather than using velcro/hook & loop, so it isn’t easy to change from one pad to the next, working through the grades.

I’ve already used the sander on a few small jobs, smoothing and softening the natural edge of some timber, but I well expect it will prove a very useful tool for a range of projects in future.

Burl Clock

After having a couple of inquiries, thought I’d post a brief description of the Burl Clock, seen in the Gallery.

clock.jpg

The burl (and clock mechanism) were purchased at the Working with Wood show. Total cost: $40.  The mechanism came from Jonathon Knowles Clocks.

The face has been planed and sanded to get it reasonably flat, then the sanding to produce the finish. Each sandpaper grade was used, between 120 and 1200, all on a Triton Random Orbital sander.  The ROS is used because its eccentric sanding pattern doesn’t leave the telltale swirls (scratches) of a normal orbital sander.

The finish was produced first by rubbing Ubeaut Shellawax Cream across the face until the cloth started to grab. It was then buffed with a Ubeaut Swansdown mop attached to a drill. Next, Ubeaut EEE Ultrashine was used to produce a satin finish, again with the Swansdown mop.

The cavity for the clock mechanism was made using the Triton Router (handheld), using a template guide and straight router bit.

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