It is rewarding to complete a project when the finish is appealing, rather than distracting. Sanding, disliked by many woodworkers, is one way to get an attractive finish. Improve how you sand, for it can make a huge difference in your projects. Two improvements that work for me: dust collection at the sander, and the use of raking light.
A couple of years ago I installed dust collection on my Bosch random orbital sander (ROS) – it uses the ShopVac. I spent only a few bucks to do this, a tiny fraction of what a Festool system would cost — all it took was a small adapter for the ROS, and a length of hose from the ROS to the hose on the ShopVac:
I am always amazed at how much better the sanding results are with this arrangement. As an added bonus, sandpaper seems to last longer, too.
Use raking lights – already installed!
To ensure I remove all machine marks, I always check the surfaces of the work pieces using a raking light. Most people would set up a light at a low angle to the surface, to sight the reflected light off the surface of the work piece. A down side to doing this: if left on the workbench, using a raking light means stooping low, to catch the reflected light.
I find that long days in the shop are better when I can stand much of the time, rather than stooping; and using the fluorescent lights as raking light helps my back, as I can stand upright when checking all sanded surfaces:
There you have it – two nice little (FREE!) tips from Sandal Woods. Try them, and your life with the ROS will improve tremendously. Oh… please remember to write, to let me know how much better your finished projects look.
— Al Navas