Friday, September 21

Sanding the Handles

Thursday, Friday and most of next week will probably be spent sanding these 110 pair of handles.

I use a random orbit finish sander to do the flat faces, but the rounded-over edges need to be done by hand using narrow strips of sandpaper that will flex into and around the tight curves of these handles.

We have in the past and could now use a Star Sander tool made by Dynabrade to sand the edges; it uses disks of sand paper that are slotted to form a circular mop. A bunch of these disks are bound together on a mandrel that can be chucked into a drill press or lathe and used as a fairly effective contour sanding tool.

Going this route saves a lot of wear and tear on my thumbs and fingers. However, these sanding heads only last for about 15 minutes of continuous sanding, then the grit begins to wear away and they become more of a polisher. In very fine grits they are probably excellent for this purpose. But once the “new” has been knocked off of the courser grits, it takes a very long time to get the rough wood edges smoothed down like they need to be. I could keep the Star Sander working efficiently by replacing the head every 15 minutes or so, but at around $15 each, adding $60 per hour to our tool charges would drive the price of these handles right out of site! So, doing it by hand takes no longer and is cheaper. It’s just hard on my hands. But that’s why we keep a large bottle of Aleve in the first aid box.

Aleve and I are old friends.


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