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29 August 2012 | Category: Building | Author: Clare

It seems to me that sanding tools are kind of like firearms.

People will look at you sideways for having 4 different types of sander, as they will if they don't understand the innate characteristics of firearms and are currently wandering past the 6 you have leaning against the wall of your cabin!

A belt sander seemed to me initially to be all any carpenter could want. In hindsight, this is more of a hazard than the reciprocating saw, or the router, and my misplaced faith in this particular tool was demonstrative of an absence of expertise on my part.

My first inclination that there might be more to life came when I was trying to buy sanding belts that were more refined than the 120 grit I had been using.

The huge contrast between rough fir or spruce, and the belt-sanded (120 gr) version of the same, was sufficient to lead me to the mistaken conclusion that I had finished with that part of the process.

Reading the staining can, I frowned at the recommendations for readying the surface with 220-300 gr.

In an effort to be conscientious, and having spent too much money on stain to waste it for the sake of a $10 pack of belts, I promptly trotted off to the hardware store.

No luck.

My frown deepened as I noticed that there were more socially acceptable grit options in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes, just not belts.

The penny was slowly dropping through the quagmire that is my currently beleaguered mind.

I needed a different kind of sander.

Now, I have long since had (and loved) a palm sander. This cute little tool was a much appreciated gift, and has helped me sand in places sanders have no business being, and has rounded many edges on pieces much relieved not to have the same job attempted by the belt-sander (often confused for a projectile launcher if the operator is not paying adequate attention ; ).

Having borrowed an orbital sander (given that was the recipient for the highest calibre sanding sheets I could find), I am now much enamoured with this option.

The less than rudimentary job performed by, what I will now refer to as, the butch belt sander is apparent, and the poor orbital sander has spent much of the day tidying up the wolverine's scratches on the fir and spruce that I had not even noticed before upgrading.

Similarly, a .22 is clearly a plinking rifle, often used for live target practice on gophers, potentially head shots on yotes, and if you are really good, bird shooting.

Anywhere between a .243 and a .308 are prime deer, and other ungulate calibers. My preference in there is a 6mm Remington. Packs more powder than a .243, but keeping the same svelte diameter, with ballistics that would make a .308 or 30-06 blush.

You need a whacking great calibre .375 HH, .470, some kind of Africa rifle for big bears, or combine with home defence and invest in a defender or .870 Remington shotgun.

If you have nothing else in addition to these stalwarts, clearly a person needs a semi-automatic knock-off military rifle for the days you just want to shoot cheap ammo at nothing in particular, and without having the hassle of inordinate re-loading.

Of course I could go down the side-arm route here, but my opinions on that I keep to myself in a public forum. Suffice to say, if you ever need a sneaky, ninja firearm, there is nothing better than something you can tuck into the waistband of your trousers.

Evidently, you need more than one weapon.

I am slowly realising that whatever you are introducing yourself to, you are quickly going to realise that those who have come before you have graciously invented numerous different tools to assist in your endeavours.

Presumably this extends beyond sanding, and woodwork. I am going out on a limb to ponder over the likely plethora of tools to assist with fishing, climbing, sledding, skiing, snow-boarding, kayaking, and any other fun thing a person might want to throw on that list.

Life starts to sound expensive ; ).

But, thankfully we cannot clone ourselves, at least not yet.

The limited time we have available tends to restrict the things we can get good at. Or at least sufficiently competent at to justify the purchase of accoutrements particular to that interest, or hobby.

As much of a sadness as that is to me at times, I guess the silver lining is that my bank account is not quaking at every new skill you might try grapple with.

Anyways, the moral of this particular story. Don't stop with the belt sander.

Keep walking. Hit the orbital sander and hang out for a while. This bad boy will do what the belt sander can do, and take you further down the road to beautifully finished wood.

Happy sanding people ; ).
 


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