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Sanding Extension table edges12/10/14
We make lots of Boat Top shaped extension tables and are looking for the best way to accurately sand the edges so the halves match. Taking them to the edge sander is cumbersome and ripe for slips and the resulting shape changes. Currently the tops are clamped together after the alignment pins/holes are installed (and have tiny mislaignments), and we RO sand (slow and dusty) the edges flush.
could you make a template and run router against it with a good spiral bit in it?
How much are we talking about? 1/16" 1/8", 1/4" ?
The first tool I'd reach for is a skew angle block plane well-sharpened and set up, if it is a sixteenth. If it is easy to set the top up on edge, I might use the spokeshave, though any end grain planing is slow going.
Then a R/O with dust collection, or a long radius sand block (or 2 - 80 grit and 100 grit) that will 'automatically' find the high spots and level them to the desired curve. First, you need to size - or cut - the wood, then sand it for feel and finish. The finish sanding should be no different than that for the other edges.
Any more than that, and I'd do the router with spiral bit and a template.
I do admire the good outside the box ingenuity of the big belt sander on wheels, but they can cause more problems than they solve.
Nicko- I think your idea sounds good, currently we make about eight sizes of tops with most of our orders being in three of the sizes. So doable to make a templaste. Come to think of it we have templates already.
Forgive me if this seems obvious, but depending on the amount you are doing, why not either outsource to a cnc or buy one? Fair curves and minor hand sanding if your cnc programmer understands your needs
We cut the shapes with a cnc router. I was unclear that this is mathing of the top halves after the registration pins(dominis actually) have been put in. Even using stops the table halves can off as much as 1/16" when pinned, so that is when we must monkey with the arc and have issues with keeping a smooth arc when viewed from the end.
I am wondering if you can just pin the blanks first and then cut the shape on the cnc.
I don't use a cnc, but generally I do like Scott is suggesting: joints first, then edge. Flexicat makes a nice flexible longboard that might be of some use to you for cleaning the chatter without lumping the curve, but I don't think it would help much with a stepped edge joint. If the tops are too large for your router once assembled, then I'd suggest rough cutting like you're doing then cleaning the edge with a handheld router and a single edge template that the worker can place by eye.
I'd make a master pattern, vacuum it to you top blank and cut the edges using a shaper and copy wheel. Every one would be exactly like your pattern. With sharp tooling sanding would be minimal.