Sanding Drawers After Construction

Ideas for sanding distinctive hardwood drawer boxes after building them, without distorting the corners. November 26, 2008

We make four piece solid wood drawers with planted false fronts. The corners of the four piece boxes are joined with multiple splines in contrasting wood. After the splines are glued in and dry, they are sanded flush on a Lasm oscillating edge sander.

My concern is that the edge sander seems to round the drawer front slightly and it then shows when it is screwed to the false front. The steel pad is straight and there is graphite on the pad. Has anyone experienced this problem?

My possible explanations are that the pad is thin and very tall (10 inches) and that it may be flexing when pressed. Also I wonder if pressure compresses the graphite slightly and then as the sander oscillates, the belt comes out slightly above and below the drawer and this rounds the front slightly.

I was considering clamping the drawer to a sliding table on bearings so that the drawer could be ever so lightly touched against the belt, as no pressure would be necessary to control it.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor C:
I am not sure that I follow your description of your drawer construction, but if I do... Think about sanding the drawer with an Oakley drawer sander after the front is attached. The Oakley will get into the corner where the side meets the front and make a nice clean corner, plus it will sand the length of the side. It also assures that all lips are of the same thickness, so the drawers are all flush with each other when inserted into the case.

From the original questioner:
The box has multiple splines in the corner (mock finger joints). The front is screwed on after. The problem is that the box has a curvature top to bottom because of the sander.

From contributor B:
I used to sand the ends of my drawers with a stroke sander. I cut a hole in the sliding table and slid the drawer down in so it was sticking about an inch above, then sanded. Worked very well. I don't think you will ever get good results using an edge sander.