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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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  #1  
Old 07-01-2010, 10:18 PM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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Frustration = Discovery!

I've been working on a 4 knife order, These are relativity simple knives, but one is exceptionally wide from edge to spine. This week I've been working on finish grinding, and hand finishing them, but once I got to the "wide" blade, it was just sheer frustration.

It seemed as if I was hand sanding forever, and not getting anywhere.

So, I started thinking back to when I had tried a small vibrating (1/4 sheet) electric sander. I pulled it out of a cabinet, clipped a new chunk of 600 grit into place and tried it. Shreds of sandpaper went everywhere, and I took a huge chunk out of the backing pad....more frustration.

Then I got to thinking about my disc sander....so I tore the vibrating sander down, taking off the rest of the rubber pad, and then pulling the screws and removing the metal backing plate. Then, using the metal backing plate I had removed as a template, I cut and fit a 1/8" piece of G10 to replace the metal backing plate. I scuffed up the G10 with 220 grit paper, cleaned it with acetone, and gave it a good spray with 3M-77, and applied a piece the same cork gasket material that I use on my disc grinder.

I then gave it shot of Duro spray glue, put on a new piece of 600 and tried it on that blade that was giving me fits.......WAHOOO!!! I now have a new tool for "hand" finishing!! After only about 2 mins per side with the 600, I jumped to 1200 grit, worked it over, and then in less than 3 mins per side, went back to 600 by hand, and quickly cleaned up all the tiny 1200 grit fish hooks on BOTH sides. (it took less than 5 mins total to clean up BOTH side by hand)

The reason I got so hyped is that many of us have tried to use these little vibratory finish sanders before, and not had much success...with the modifications I made, it now works like a charm for blade finishing! Which sander is it? Well, it's the $29.97 Ryobi from Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xhf/R-100599174/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

Since I used 1/8" G10 to replace the factory metal backing plate, I of course had to drill and counterbore for the 6 screws that hold the plate in place on the sander. But because of the thin G10, I had to wind up lightly grinding the heads of the screws so they did not protrude above the surface....I think if I do it again, I would try to use a bit thicker G10.
But for now it's working great, and I was so cranked about it, that I had to call Steve Kelly and tell him about it.....and Steve mentioned he had one of the "mouse" sanders that he was gona rework in the same manner.....now there is another idea! I might just have to buy another "toy" and try it.

I just wanted to share this "discovery" with everyone...hopefully it will help make your "finishing" chores easier.





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Last edited by Ed Caffrey; 07-02-2010 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:29 AM
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Ed, that's awesome. Thanks for sharing that. I for one appreciate all the little tips like that that make our lives easier. I just got a roll of that cork for my disc sander and there will be plenty for my palm sander too.

My sander was just sitting under the shelf collecting dust as I thought it would be useless for knifemaking. Looks like it has some new life. I'm making the mods this weekend.


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Old 07-02-2010, 06:29 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Ed...What a great tip! I've also tried to use the orbital sander for final finishing, and did not find it to be very satisfactory. When I tried it, it just didn't seem to be doing very much of anything except give me more "fishhooks" to clean up by hand. Certainly worth a try. Hand finishing the blade is one part of knifemaking that I detest! It's such a tedious and time consuming operation that anything that promises to speed it up and helps to do it better is certainly worth the effort. Thanks again!
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:28 AM
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Well i never........ Thats a good score there Ed. I dont see any reason why one of the little triangular shaped detail sanders wouldnt do the same. Will have to try that tmorra


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Old 07-03-2010, 06:06 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Ed...What exactly is it that the G10 does that the metal backing plate did not do, and what is your source for the G10? Getting the cork gasket material locally is not a problem for me, but I don,t have a clue about where to get the G10. Also, by glueing the 600 grit onto the cork, does that not shorten the life of the cork? Seems as though it would pull off pieces of the cork when the paper needs changing.
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:25 AM
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Thanks Ed, I tried an inexpensive palm sander and didn't like the results, I was one step short I guess. I need to go out to the shop and dig it out of the corner I stuck it in and put some cork on it and take it for a test drive. Great Idea thanks for sharing!

Have a great and safe 4th of July all

Jim


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Old 07-03-2010, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
What exactly is it that the G10 does that the metal backing plate did not do, and what is your source for the G10?
The metal backing plate that comes on these sanders is super flimsy, and are not flat...I didn't measure, but just guessing, .015 or so thick. On the sander I use that backing blade was stamped from aluminum. I purchase most of my G10 from Masecraft supply They offer special pricing if you purchase a 24" X 36" sheet...which winds up being about 1/2 price of what buying the 5"x12" sheets cost.

Quote:
Also, by glueing the 600 grit onto the cork, does that not shorten the life of the cork? Seems as though it would pull off pieces of the cork when the paper needs changing.
The reason for gluing on the paper is that it solves the issue of the paper shredding if you use the "clips" on the sander. It's nearly impossible to get the paper tight when using the clips...if the paper has ANY slack in it when you put it down on a blade, it just turns to confetti. What I did was to re-think HOW I glue the paper on. I used 3M-77 spray adhesive to hold the cork gasket material to the G10....to hold the paper to the cork, I use Duro brand spray glue from Walmart..it's a "cheap" glue with just enough hold to keep the paper in place, yet allows for relatively easy removal, without tearing the cork. NOW...if you try to use the 3M-77 to hold the paper to the cork, your gona tear up the cork every time, and it's gona be a real bear to change paper.

I've been using this method of gluing paper on my disc grinder for a couple of years now, and it's worked out very well. Eventually I'm sure the cork will need to be changed, but for what can be accomplished with it in terms of time and labor savings, it's well worth it to me.

Just to let everyone know....I also tried this modification with an orbital sander(the ones with the round face)....and it doesn't work as well. It's much harder to control, and doesn't give nearly as good a finish as the vibratory sander (the one with the square face) does.


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Old 07-03-2010, 10:32 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Thanks Ed. Sometimes the first take on a new idea just doesn't sink into my noggin, and I need a little more detail. You've explained it well, and I'll sure give it a try. Anything to reduce that hand sanding has got to be a plus!
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:16 AM
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Amen! I think I'm gonna do this one too. Got a sander sitting idle, be nice to save some time on hand finishing. Thanks for the idea Ed.

Pierre


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Old 07-03-2010, 02:27 PM
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Sander

I have a palm sander I used when building my boat and haven't used it since. I think I will make the change over as well. I thought about it a while ago but never followed through. Thanks for the tip Ed.

JIm
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2010, 01:03 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks Ed!

for sharing this great little tid bit. I am ALWAYS in the market for a more expeditious way of
sanding bevels. I have an old PowerKraft sander that just sitting on the shelf. I've gto some 1/8"
micarta and some gasket material that I can rework to fit that little sander.

I'd imagine if yu put a little radius on the edges it would make short order of cleaning plunge cuts too !

Thanks, again, Ed!

Dana
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:03 PM
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Does anyone else have problems with the vibratory sanders making their hand/fingers go numb? I tried the vibratory sander thing a few years back but I didn't do much experimenting with it because it made me go numb in a matter of minutes and stay that way for about an hour. Drove me nuts. I'm not sure if it has to do with me or if maybe I just got a bad sander that transfers the vibrations to the hand more than it should. I might have to buy another one and give it another shot.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:24 AM
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First for the fingers, get a set of vibration dampening gloves. They help tremendously, available at the auto supply store or Harbor Freight Home Depot etc.

Wow ED, talk about a DUH moment for me, that makes perfect sense. I tried replacing the plate with micarta but it just did not perform well. I will have to give the cork a try. I tried it on my disc and it works great. I used to have a problem pulling the cork with the disc adhesive I was using and found that if I heat the paper with the propane torch it peels off like butter. I have cut down on glue applications and sandpaper tearing/back pulling off dramatically. You might be able to use this for the sander sheets as well.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions.


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Old 02-06-2014, 07:11 AM
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Thanks for the tip. I have never thought of changing the original backing plate. If anyone has a Black and Deker Mouse sander give it a try. I put on the steel wool pad and it will grip your sandpaper plus it is easy to change out between grits. It also comes with a bottom plate that has a little tab that sticks out for small areas. It works for me.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:46 AM
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Thomas Rucker, a German knife maker, has been using a small angle grinder to craft some beautiful knives. He uses a hard abrasive wheel to rough in, then switches the wheel to a sanding pad and stick on sanding sheets. He has a youtube video showing the angle grinder in use.
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