Sanding – Monday April 21, 2008

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I have been looking for a sander of some description to help with removing all the craters and excess epoxy from my less than stellar taped joints. Sam Devlin’s book mentions a Makita Sander-Polisher as being the bomb. I looked for the model mentioned and it is, of course, discontinued. I looked at a similar model, the 9227, but it wasn’t available with the dust collection hood shown in the book. So, I looked at different alternatives. I eventually decided to get a Porter-Cable random orbital sander, Model 343. It has a canister dust collector and a couple of reviews mentioned hooking it up to a shop vac and how it really controlled the dust, a feature very appealing to me. It had good reviews on Amazon and, as you already know, I love my Porter-Cable router so the decision was made.

I paid House of Tools a visit this afternoon and learned they have a package deal for the 343 and the 1/4 sheet finishing sander, the 342, for $109. For $30 extra I decided to get both of them. Picked up some 60, 150 and 220 grit hook and loop disks. I have some regular sandpaper at home so didn’t buy any for the 1/4 sheet model.

Then, I was off to Lee Valley to get an adapter for the shop vac to canister fitting. I made the big $2.30 purchase and called it a day of shopping.

This evening, it was after 8 when I got out in the garage. The adapter didn’t fit into the shop vac hose…it was exactly the same size so a little packing tape later I had a connection.

I pulled out one of the side pieces with huge waves of epoxy on it to start on and shortly I didn’t have moon craters….I had a huge amoeba:

It took me nearly 2 hours of sanding to get both sides into decent shape. I don’t know if that is a long time to remove what I had on that piece but using the sander it was certainly easier than hand sanding. I am uncertain as to how close to the tape edge and how deep I can go so I am have quit a little bit early. As I am planning on coating everything with epoxy I think that some of the imperfections will get filled in and if not, I have some fairing compound on its way from Duckworks BBS to take care of whatever is left.

Wound up the evening by emptying the shop vac and moving everything out of the way so that I could bring Patty’s van back into the garage. It is cold out and the wind is howling with the possibility of freezing rain. We had a hard coating of ice on everything this morning so I decided to get her van in so that no scraping would be required tomorrow.

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