Thickness sander

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Project by EMVarona posted 08-23-2010 06:15 AM 18891 views 21 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One hard lesson I learned in wood working is never start assembling a project if your wood pieces are not true. Are the dimensions and angles accurate? Preparing the pieces is just as important as putting them together. Pieces that are not true will, in the end, mess up your master work.

I thought of a simple makeshift device to solve the problem of thickness. It can be assembled and disassembled as necessary. I used the electric drill, as usual, a Zyliss vice and an adjustable inclined plane. The vice can be rigged up in many ways. This thickness sander can process 4 in. wide pieces with a maximum thickness of 1.5 in.

The drum consists of 6 pcs. ¾ in. x 3 in. dia. wood disks cut out with a hole saw from a ¾ in board. A ¼ in. shaft is inserted through them and held together with epoxy glue.

The sand paper sheet may be held down either by double sided tape or staples neatly applied to the ends. I am still thinking of better ways. In any case the tape and staples work pretty well. The staples, however, tend to be bumpy while causing marks on the wood if not flattened well enough. Thickness adjustment is accomplished with the use of two bolts at the upper end of the inclined plane.

This is the basic set up. I intend to add more refinements as I gain experience in using it.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

26 comments so far

View Houtje's profile


311 posts in 4210 days

#1 posted 08-23-2010 06:27 AM

That’s a very good idea,thank you

View swirt's profile


6618 posts in 4210 days

#2 posted 08-23-2010 06:33 AM

Very clever. What keeps the drum from launching the workpiece across the room?

-- Galootish log blog,

View dakremer's profile


2771 posts in 4329 days

#3 posted 08-23-2010 06:35 AM

very cool

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 4073 days

#4 posted 08-23-2010 06:43 AM

When the thickness setting is just right (not too much, kiss contact only) and the operator holds the piece well, it will not shoot. Furthermore, if it shoots, it shoots downward.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View Armand's profile


235 posts in 4149 days

#5 posted 08-23-2010 07:38 AM

Nice set up for small projects. Building a thicknesser sander is one of my goal, might consider this as a quick one.

-- My Master is Mankind's Greatest Carpenter.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4353 days

#6 posted 08-23-2010 09:19 AM

I like it :-)
you are a very inovative man full of ideas
ceep let them come
I look forward to see what ells you will surprice us with :-)
and if you want to build a bigger one when you get your engine
ther is a lot of L Js that has posted one to be inspired from

take care

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 4757 days

#7 posted 08-23-2010 09:43 AM

with the hight adjustment, is there anyway to ensure that both the nuts are screwed up or down the bolt the same number of turns? or is it just by eye?

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4448 days

#8 posted 08-23-2010 02:24 PM

Way to think outside the box.

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 4073 days

#9 posted 08-23-2010 02:45 PM

If a piece of sample wood of the desired thickness is available, simply insert it between the sander drum and the inclined plane then loosen or tighten the screws to the desired thickness. Then make trials using scrap wood and measure them. If no sample wood is available, make one. In fact it might be a good idea to mark (label) the thickness of each piece you make and keep them for future use. In my trials I was able to produce an even thickness of 1/8 in.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4274 days

#10 posted 08-23-2010 03:16 PM

Who needs money when you have ingenuity of this calibre. Brilliant stuff.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4886 days

#11 posted 08-23-2010 03:22 PM


Thanks for reminding me that things can be made to work. and not only when they are put together in a set configuration. this brings so many ideas to mind!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View David's profile


172 posts in 4080 days

#12 posted 08-23-2010 03:53 PM

very cool!

-- “Don’t tell me what can’t be done, tell me what you want done then shut up and get out of my way and let me do it!”

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

317 posts in 4784 days

#13 posted 08-23-2010 03:57 PM

wow you are very clever i also am talking about your lathe made in the same way. keep it up!

-- Got Wood?

View SteveMI's profile


1168 posts in 4532 days

#14 posted 08-23-2010 05:15 PM

Your design brings the concept right down to the essentials for narrower widths.

Sandpaper option could be to get some PSA roll sand paper for drum sanders and wind it in spiral fashion on the roller. Another way, due to your size, may be to get 1” belt sander belt from HF and wind it spiral over carpet tape with staples at each end.


View mafe's profile


13330 posts in 4327 days

#15 posted 08-23-2010 06:31 PM

Fantastic, simple and low cost.
Less is more here – no doubt!

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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