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Portable Drum Sander

Drum-sand curved edges quickly and accurately with this super-simple jig.

A sanding drum makes quick work of smoothing an edge profile rough-cut with a jigsaw. You might think you need a drill press or spindle sander to keep the sanded edges square to the surface, but a corded electric drill, shop scraps, a few dollars' worth of hardware, and a set of inexpensive sanding drums will do the trick. Even if you own a drill press or spindle sander, you'll find this jig handy for sanding a part too large to handle on one of those machines. A few minutes is all it takes to make this simple edge sander. Here's how.


Build the jig

Cut the base and upright to the sizes shown on next page. To accommodate large sanding drums, cut a rabbet along the bottom edge of the upright. Then clamp the parts together, drill screw holes, and drive the screws. To help keep the drill from shifting, adhere sandpaper to the upright. Strap your drill to the upright with a large-diameter hose clamp. Chuck a piece of 3/8" steel rod into the drill, and check for square, as shown at center. Make adjustments by inserting shims between the drill and the upright.


Using the jig

drum sanding
Enlarge Image
 
Insert shims to square the drill to
the base. Recheck square after
you tighten the hose clamp securely.

Chuck a sanding drum into the drill so the top edge of the drum is about 1/8" above the bottom surface of the base. Press the base flat against the workpiece. Lock the drill trigger into the on position, and guide the sanding drum along the edge. To reduce chatter, use a WOOD magazine September 2008 large sanding drum on broad curves. Switch to a smaller-diameter drum for tight inside curves.

If you like this project, please check out more than 1,000 shop-proven paper and downloadable woodworking project plans in the WOOD Store.


 

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