Workin' With What You Got - Part 4

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Blog entry by Randy Price posted 05-29-2011 01:19 AM 5540 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch


In part three of Workin’ With What You Got we looked at cutting key slots to reinforce the miters and making some specialized jigs to cut and mill some unusually shaped pieces which form the Taliesin lamp shade frame using the table saw and a very basic router table made from shop scraps and cut-offs.

In the final installment of Workin’ With What You’ve Got you’ll see how some of the smaller parts of the Taliesin Lamp were dimensioned using a small parts thickness sander made from left over materials and a few inexpensive parts – continuing the theme of workin’ with what you got.

Many of the Taliesin Lamp parts are thinner the what is commercially available and require re-sawing. The bandsaw works well for this but leaves sawmarks that must be removed. This little thickness sander works well for that application and also allows for re-sawing to a slightly thicker than needed dimension and then sanding down to a specific thickness.

The thickness sander was originally made for a small benchtop drill press, the 1/2 circle cut into the back side of the base was for clearance around the drill press column.

The dimensions of the thickness sander are not critical and you could adapt them to whatever size you like. I think the determining factor for me was what left over materials I had on hand.

The one part I bought for it was a PVC plumbing tee which I used as a dust collection hood. I sized it to fit the drum sander I had and it also was close to the diameter of the shop vac hose I was using for dust collection at that time (I had to wrap some masking tape around the vac hose attachment to get a tight fit).

The base leg of the tee was cut off so the tee would sit flush with the base of the sander. Then 1/2 of the tee was cut off longitudinally to form a hood around the sanding drum.

To hold the tee, I first cut a hole in a rectangular piece of plywood then cut it in 1/2 so that the hole was slightly smaller than the o.d. of the tee. I then drilled holes on either side of the circle edgewise through the rectangle to hold the 2 halves together. I put machine screws with wing nuts in the holes and this allowed the tee to be adjusted in and out to align with the hole in the sander base (this is easier to understand from the pictures and drawing).

The fence pivots on a machine screw and is clamped at the other end. It is positioned so the fence is parallel with the table when in contact with the drum.

Here is a link to YouTube to see the thickness sander in action:

The Google SketchUp file can be found on the Free Downloads Page at

Thanks for reading,



5 comments so far

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 3508 days

#1 posted 05-29-2011 03:43 AM

I like your design because it is original mine I got fro the Wood Smith magazine.It has a flapper valve inside so when you use the smaller hole on the other side it seals off the larger hole.The vacuum hose hooks on left side.

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3861 days

#2 posted 05-29-2011 07:48 PM

Thanks Randy, another great idea, love your ‘workin’ with what you’ve got’ series!

-- Smitty

View kevinw's profile


199 posts in 4654 days

#3 posted 06-19-2011 10:58 PM

Great idea. I do a lot with small thin stock, so this will be a big help to me.

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View kevinw's profile


199 posts in 4654 days

#4 posted 06-20-2011 03:30 AM

Having a hard time finding a sanding drum more than 2” tall. Yours looks like 3” or more. Any suggestions for source?

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View Randy Price's profile

Randy Price

242 posts in 4415 days

#5 posted 06-20-2011 04:27 AM

Hi Kevin -

You can find the 3” sanding drum at Highland Woodworking:


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