Sanders Sanders Everywhere

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bassplayingfool, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Hey, Im just getting things together for my first guitar build and was wonder what kind os Power Sanders would work best. Or, does the good old elbow grease work best? Let me know. Thanks.
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Good old elbow grease will always work and will work where power sanders cannot reach.

    I use a spindle sander and a random orbital sander wherever I can reach with them, but the last few grits are awlays by hand.
  3. If you're going with a power sander, be sure to get one with a dust collection bag... I bought a cheap "mouse" sander, and i regret it every second I'm sanding. I'd recommend a porter cable or dewalt. Then again, I'm just talking orbital sanders here; as far as thickness sanders and others, I have no idea. :) Peace
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Better yet: a vacuumer connection.
  5. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    i'm with FBB on this one: spindle sanders are the way to go! HUGE timesaver for the rougher grits. i also use a random orbital for much of the rough work, and don't forget a dremel with the miniature sanding drum... can get spots that would wear my fingers off trying to sand by hand.
  6. HannibalSpector


    Mar 27, 2002
    Use aluminium oxide sandpaper instead of garnet paper whether you intend to go the elbow grease or machine...
    Unless you like sanding:D

    A recommended sander is the 6" Festo oscillating disc model ES 150/3 with variable speed.

    Bobbin sanders or drums are a godsend.

  7. Top quality costs money. Festo is great stuff. Metabo too. Fein is outstanding, but then again a 6" RO Fein sander costs about $500 :D

    If you want a non RO detail sander that'll send the 'mouse' sander scurrying for the hills, get the Fein Multimaster for about $150. I used to do a lot of boat work (can you say "**itty detail sanding of teak for hours at a time?") and that thing is simply amazing--strong, adjustable, relatively low vibration, powerful as all hell. In fact, I used it for a fairly large sanding job once when i forgot my tool chest and with decent grit it'll take off material FAST. Conversely, with fine grit and at low speed it will really let you back off easily to avoid taking off very much. With it you can sneak past your normal 'time to hand sand' line. It is one of the most useful and best constructed tools i have ever owned. oh, and as an aside it takes attachments which are probably useless for luthiery but wondeful for much other building: saws, scrapers, cutters, rasps, etc.

    in terms of RO sanders, the best for $$ and most common one i've ever seen in use (and the one i own, and all my friends own) is the porter Cable VS 5" or 6" model which looks like a grinder. NOT the hand one (though it may be fine, i've never used it) but the larger model. It's also in the $150 range, goes on sale occasionally. It may well be too powerful for luthiery. The Feins, Metabos, Felcos, et al are nicer but that one particular tool from PC seems to have a good price/performance ratio.

    Both of those sanders I referred to have very good dust collection options available. I have found the systems to be effective even when doing high-dust work like bottom paint removal assuming you have even a minimally decent Shop-Vac. with wood dust they're no problem at all. Personally dust collection makes me nervous when i'm doing fine work as it can impede your view... but by that point you should be using your hand (or the Fein) anyway.

    I have heard some good things about Grizzly, and they make a reasonably cheap floor standing oscillating spindle sander. I have also heard some extremely bad things about Grizzly. YMMV.

    i used to own bad tools. then I threw them all away. Just get good ones and keep them.

    Oh, one last thing: if you want more good tool advice from experienced users, go ask the other tool guys at the Wooden Boat forum (go to, select forums, and do a search). You can get advice on everything from table saws to laminated Japanese chisel maintenance.
  8. HannibalSpector


    Mar 27, 2002
    Not another bassplaying shipwright ;)
  9. what? there's more of them here? :D
  10. HannibalSpector


    Mar 27, 2002
    A very respectable luthier once said to me. " Boatbuilders make the best luthiers you know"
    I said " Really?!. One day I'd like to build my own bass."
    and asked him. "How long have you been making guitars? Did you serve an apprenticeship? Who with?"
    His reply.
    "I've been building guitars(acoustics, mandolins and lutes) for 25 years. I'm actually a boatbuilder"
    A-ha! :D