STL239: Are expensive sanders worth it?
Anissa, Barry, and Ben discuss milling box stock, the cure for chasing perfection, if high-end sanders really perform better, and what a listener can make with a cherry burl.
I live in a very small apartment and getting any kind of big power tool (even a drill press!) is out of the question. So I’m really going down the handtools route. I’m also focusing on fairly small projects (besides my moravian workbench that can be taken apart). I’ve been getting most of my wood as scraps from a commercial shop.
I’ve taken such a liking to it that I’m considering studying it further and making it a job. But regardless of that, I really want to “specialize” in boxes and other box-like projects. My free scrap wood deal isn’t going to carry me that far, so I was thinking of buying a fair amount of lumber, pre-mill it to thickness in a commercial shop and keep it home already to cut to length and use. I am thinking of using relatively thin stock (from 1cm down to 7mm).
Is this a good idea? Will these thin boards behave and stay perfectly square the way they left the thickness planer? Or will they be more prone to deformation?
I could keep thicker stock in and resaw/plane by hand, but that’s such a pain in the [pause].
My apartment is heated and temperature-stable almost all year, but humidity levels here in Berlin, Germany vary quite a lot. I’ll mostly be using maple, mahogany (or similar), beech, and hopefully cherry.
Oh and even though she doesn’t like to be on, Anissa is awesome and it’s always nice when she is!
Thanks a lot and stay safe!
How do each of you negotiate the perfectionist impulse? If you have developed a strategy for managing it, what is it and how did you arrive at it? I am a professional carpenter and I recently started dabbling in woodworking–building my own kitchen cabinets, small boxes, and spoon carving. I am fortunate enough to work on high-end residential projects where I am allotted the time to carefully do my work (primarily trim and cabinet installation). While I’ve been in the trade for about five years, I still struggle with the perfectionist impulse and I find myself being very careful early on with a specific project but then rushing through once I have arbitrarily determined that it is taking too long. This impulse is exacerbated when I put my attention to “fine woodworking” and it has resulted in the woodworker’s version of writer’s block.
Segment: All-Time Favorite
Barry – Smooth move: reversing chip breaker and plane blade
Anissa – Tool: Plywood bench risers for gluing up
Ben – Technique: taking the fear out of finishing by refinishing an old piece of furniture
I have listened to almost all of the shop talk live episodes from the beginning. One thing people have not asked about is the difference between random orbital sanders. I have the $69 Dewalt from Home Depot but I have seen a ton of videos with people using $600 random orbital sanders from Mirka or the Festool random orbital sanders.
Is the price point worth it? Do you get that much better quality from your sanding? Should I just work on getting much better with a cabinet scraper, card scraper or #4 and not worry about sanding?
I have a few cherry trees in my yard that will be cut down in the near future. One of them has a basketball sized burl on it. I have an old lathe but am definitely not a turner. What ideas do you have for what I could do with it?
Anissa’s pinwheel cabinet with cherry burl panels
Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to [email protected] for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.