Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... #17: FLASH: The Petrified Poets Society Selected to Judge.......The Great Sanding Block Beauty Show......

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 04-12-2010 01:42 AM 2928 reads 0 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: A case of LackaNewTool Lament..................... Part 17 of Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... series Part 18: Quality Tools - LJ's Can Make a Difference! »


Well, I couldn’t call a bunch of LJ’s dead, could I?

This endeavour is a real LJ family affair. Many LJ’s contributed to the impetus to make this, well, extravagent and over engineered sanding block. Just so you all know I am really not THAT ‘kooky’ (PATRON has labeled my sense of humor thus and I will spend the rest of my days on LJ’s living it down)


NORTON is a real block head, and that’s OK, ‘cause that’s his job. Conjuring up a name for my SANDING BLOCK, (which I know I will have to do in any case or NEIL (NBEENER) immediately questions the anonimity and refuses comment…...) was perplexing for a couple of minutes, and then out of the air came the name, NORTON. No, not the sandpaper company, I was thinking of Ed Norton, truly a blockhead, from the Gleason Show. All around good name, no harm in having the same name as the sandpaper…..........(-:

......and now comes an enumeration of the litany of Petrified Poets. PETRIFIED, THAT’S STONED WOOD, so I really think this is a fitting name for these LJ’s…...., AND YOU ALL WERE CERTAINLY POETIC ADVOCATES OF THE LUNACY THAT FOLLOWS…....(-:

Already alluded to, but not to escape notice and inclusion are, PATRON and NEIL. One has me protesting, scrambling to retrieve the aristocratic and noble self view that he has shattered on the carbide tipped LJ blade of judgement, and the other has me drifting into childhood fantasies, searching for soft and fuzzy friends for the lonely and rejected (it’s OK Neil, it’ll all turn out all right). To some other villains…....

DBHOST….....first comment on the Sandpaper Blog entry….....making me think I am now Jackie Gleason or Jay Leno…....egging me on to untold improprieties and outrageous commentary…....

LOL… Now THAT was a fun read… that point you would think you could make a living doing this…...............

......but this really all started with….....

DAVID CRAIG making comments about the personality of tools, when responding to my Sandpaper Blog entry.

The PSUEDO NIKE TENNIS SHOE STYLE, referring to the ubiquitous new portable tool look (notice how I always capitalize that phrase, hoping that it will fixate in everyones memory, giving me credit for a least one unique observation in my lifetime), was used to compare old and new tools as…...

”wearing old man Dickie pants and a crew cut instead of donning those Nike’s and wearing a nose ring….”

Now this is an incomparable insight into the plight of the modern woodworker…, shiny, enviable…..(you can throw it away when it breaks next week so nobody will know, and they certainly won’t remember) or trusty, reliable, beat up, and comfortable, (but you’ll never want your friends to know you use it). So see, already I have another culprit.

The next post, well….I mean…....what do you say to this stuff…....just as maudlin…...or worse than NEIL

........out of the mouth of that incomparable gruff red neck LEW….........quoted in it’s entirety…........

Sometimes we just have to go into the workshop and talk to ourselves about these desires for the new “Nikes”.
If “old girl” still works, you keep her around. She’s like an old friend. Familiar and comfortable and you understand her every “word”.

........didn’t think those words would come back to haunt you, did you LEW?.........(-:

Do I have a daft bunch of friends or what?....................
....see it’s not just me! Hey LEW, I don’t think you want to show that one to the wife…............(-:

So in my next blog, The LackaNewTool Lament, DAVID CRAIG’S comment resulted in the embellishment of my latest purchase, a sanding block. You know, $3.69, now looking much better with a nose ring and a cord (all important tools have a cord). Pure serendipity, a sanding block was my last purchase. So in all honesty. This is all about DAVID CRAIG, and the other PETRIFIED POETS who drive me on to seek acceptance and validate my endeavours, in this most noble of hobbies.

Revisiting the embellished sanding block…...... there were more than a few memorable comments after that post….......

From DENNIS GROSEN, setting a new high for cannon fodder in the perennial battle for dominence in the household budget…. it becourse they don´t understand the nessery of
new jewelrys / high heels and gordius dresses in the
toolbox the same way as they put them in the closet

So now we have high heels, gorgeous dresses, and jewelry in our tool boxes. take kindly to this rather…….......overdone presentation…...

..and then even my buddy, DICK CAIN comes into the fray…....

That was some story, now I’ll have to go out in my shop,
& soup up my black rubber sanding block

Dick and I were going to have a contest with the sanding blocks, but his washer and dryer pedestals got the best of him, and then we thought about the Nothing New But Glue Contest to face off, but I have call duty next weekend, and then go on vacation, so I wouldn’t be able to make the deadline. But he egged me on, so he is also one of the culprits…...

So all you members of the PETRIFIED POETS SOCIETY, weigh in on what follows…....and if you were not mentioned above, just chime in and I will make you a charter member as well…........(-:

.........I present you…......


Norton was a compromise, due to time constraints. I really wanted to mimic the current style in vogue, best exemplified by portable drills….....but not having the time to do the complex paint job, I just used different woods that could be simply finished with clear WATCO Danish Oil.

All the wood was present in the shop. The walnut and spalted birch are pieces over 10 years old. The knob is walnut, the mechanics in the middle section are red oak. The wire hold downs were purloined from a cheap sanding block, now sacrificed. And the base is spalted birch.

Norton is a 1/3 sheet sander. The wires hold the sandpaper perfectly. The knob I dimensioned to fit my hand. The knob was formed on the router table.

The mechanics in oak are mostly a band saw thing, with some judicious sanding.

The base as you might imagine was simple and just sanded.

No metal fasteners, just glue.

I have used it already, and it works perfectly. The knob allow me to effortlessly put it in any position, since I dimensioned it to fit my hand size, and my fingers curl around it.

Norton with sandpaper installed:

Side one…...

Side two…..

Detail of the knob profile….......

Bottom detail….........

Well I am sure that my lunacy is now confirmed…............

..........such is my fate…........

Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

26 comments so far

View lew's profile


12899 posts in 4318 days

#1 posted 04-12-2010 01:54 AM

I like Norton. How do the wire holders get their resistance to apply pressure on the paper?

As I was reading, I wondered if the reference to Norton (Jackie Gleason’s Norton) may have sailed unfettered over the heads of the younger LumberJocks as would have references to “The Shadow”, “The Green Hornet”, “Sargent Preston Of The Yukon” or “Hop-A-Long Cassidy”- no not the movies- the radio programs.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4269 posts in 3727 days

#2 posted 04-12-2010 02:14 AM

They are pushed over the notch they are in, under quite high tension, it takes a real effort. That gives tremendous downward pressure on the paper. In fact the wires have indented the birch, which contributes to the friction, actually. No way is that sandpaper gonna move. You can see the wires out of the notch on the view that shows the knob profile.

And re the reference…......gad zooks we date ourselves…...I remember listening to those radio programs, Sunday night mostly, I think, on the big floor standing Philco radio with its circular dial. It would also bring in short wave. We were poor, but one thing I remember from my earliest years, meaning about age 3 on, was that Philco radio, and all the pleasure it brought us… forgot ‘Sky King’.....and the ‘Edgar Bergen Show’........(-:...........and ‘The Bell Telephone Hour’, ‘Fred Waring’, etc. The kids programs on Saturday morning. We didn’t have a TV until I was in tenth grade, when I purchased half of it with my paper route money. My brother, 5 years older, helped purchase a used piano the same way. Things were different then.

Thanks again Lew….....


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4269 posts in 3727 days

#3 posted 04-12-2010 02:16 AM

........oh, the profile of the notches and the way the wires sit was quite critical, but not as critical as I anticipated. I just measured all the distances off of the discarded purchased sanding block.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View lew's profile


12899 posts in 4318 days

#4 posted 04-12-2010 02:35 AM

I get it, now!

Yep, grew up “watching” the radio. One of Mimi’s favorite Christmas movies is “A Christmas Story”. Can’t tell you how many days I waited for the mail man to bring treasures counted in box tops. I think I am still the proud owner of several square inches of land in the Yukon. Unbelievable how many boxes of Quaker Puffed Wheat I must have eaten while listening to Sargent Preston and King (the wonder dog).

Better stop now, the rest of the LJs will think I’ve lost it ;^)


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4269 posts in 3727 days

#5 posted 04-12-2010 02:49 AM

Sargent Preston of the Yukon….....and his good dog King…......wasn’t that the way the program was announced? I can’t believe I remember those things. But then again I listened to it for years. Wow. And you visualized everything, just like reading a book…...almost more vivid than the movies or TV.

You know, I took that radio to college with me, amazing, it was a big item. But it was no longer in use, superceded by a German rig, can’t recall the brand name, that my brother brought home from Germany where he spent time in the military. That radio had over 20 years of life, not bad for an electronic component.

Sometimes old stuff, is good stuff….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View lew's profile


12899 posts in 4318 days

#6 posted 04-12-2010 02:59 AM

I was cleaning out a box the other day and found some old vacuum tubes that were spares for one of our first TVs.

Probably not much good any more.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4269 posts in 3727 days

#7 posted 04-12-2010 03:52 AM

The last time I replaced a vacuum tube was for a ham radio rig, a driver for the finals (meaning the power tubes) for the transmitting section. Now they are all solid state. But there was a long time when everything except the transmitting section of a transceiver, was solid state. They still make tube finals for the biggest transmitters, linear amplifiers so they are not dead.

..........there will come a day when the vacuum tube will cease to exist, just not yet…........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3672 days

#8 posted 04-12-2010 05:08 AM

Well done Jim! You went past “crew cut sensibility” and “flannel and Nike rebellion” and went for a sophisticated style that would make .007 give a polite nod. Walnut and Spalted Birch? I can only picture our future conversations… I with MacGyver type sensibilities sharing my latest garbage find while you sit in your dinner jacket appalled at how I am totally clueless that one should not drink “Dom Perignon ‘53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Oh the humanity…

When I hand sand my next project with an old piece of pine block I will picture you scoffing out “Pine!” as you outfit Norton with a fresh sheet of sandpaper that carries his name…while drinking your coffee that is shaken and not stirred…

:) Very cool looking sanding block Jim. It looks very cool and will serve you well. There is no Hitachi, Milwaukee, Bosch, or Dewalt that will carry the same woodworker weight as Norton. I feel sorry for your competitor ;)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View dlmckirdy's profile


199 posts in 3696 days

#9 posted 04-12-2010 10:37 AM


The Wonder Dog was Tom Terrific’s Wonder Dog, Manfred.

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4809 days

#10 posted 04-12-2010 11:36 AM

What is scary is I know much of what Jim is talking about. The first TV, Sky King, all those old shows, we used to go out to gramps on Friday nights to watch the Gillelete Friday Night Fights, only to watch the old fogeys spit tobacco in cans and play euchre and curse at the referee’s for bad calls. Those were the good old days? Well we did have Howdy Doody and Spin and Marty, and Anette was just ablooming!!! Now back then back then bugs bunny was funny! Great sander jim,

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3678 days

#11 posted 04-12-2010 02:21 PM

no wonder why you havn´t made a blog for a while ,it´s taking a lot of time
to create a new collection for the catwalk and I most say you open
the show with a big bang ,the Norton dress is a gordius design and not
just for one catwalk evening ,but to be used every time there is a speciel
occasion to celebrate a new creation coming together for the last tuch
of lack before delivering to a satisfired costummer,who will admire your
creative talent for centuries to come.

Jim well done ,Norton don´t need juwelry and high heels to look great I
sure there will bee a few L J designers who will copy you in the future
just wait and see


View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4862 days

#12 posted 04-12-2010 02:50 PM

Norton is AWESOME!! as I’ve learned from my Grandkids, its taken me a long time for me to

start using that word, but finally I have enough guts to use it regularly.

I’m from an older than your generation with my old favorites, ”Jack Armstrong, The all

American Boy,” sponsored by ”Wheaties the Breakfast of Champions,

and ”Captain Midnight,” sponsored ”Tydol Oil Co.” I suppose no one can remember that sponsor.

Now, getting back to Norton.

In a way, I’m kind of glad I didn’t fulfill our challenge, because I’d be whimpering down the

road, like a puppy dog with his tail between his legs. I could never top Norton.

I told you, you had the creative ability to dream something up for the “Glue Contest.”

I think ”Norton” will score a very high rating in the contest.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3672 days

#13 posted 04-12-2010 03:00 PM

Hey Jim, don’t forget to add challenge09 to the tagline. You don’t want to miss out on the potential prizes Norton could earn you :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4269 posts in 3727 days

#14 posted 04-12-2010 04:29 PM

David Craig
Awe shucks David, I am going to wallow in being sophisticated for awhile. Probably have to see what it costs to chrome plate my RAS, and have to start driving a BMW instead of my Honda van. Definitely fun to build, and it actually performs quite well.

Actually I did drive a used BMW, a 1600, I think 1967 vintage, that was really fun, when I was in residency. It had a 6 volt electrical system. But it was actually in great shape. Bought it from a place outside of Madison, Wisconsin from, a small dealership owned and operated by someone of German descent. I asked if he could maintain it, and he took me into his shop and said, “I could build your car from the ground up with the parts in this shop, including the sheet metal.” It was impressive. He had every part imaginable, with new sheet metal panels and everything hanging from the walls.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4269 posts in 3727 days

#15 posted 04-12-2010 04:32 PM

Mike from Michigan
Thanks for the view, no one has mentioned Big John and Sparky on Saturday morning also.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

showing 1 through 15 of 26 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics