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Forum topic by CantBurn posted 10-05-2011 10:36 AM 1377 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 3097 days

10-05-2011 10:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sand sanding square

We all know that jointing is a wonderful thing. But, lets say, you have some thin, small pieces. l am working with some panels that are about 2”x 3”x 1/4”. What is the best method for making these square using a sander? Is it just using a square and starting with the closest to perfect and then moving on? Sidenote-I actually don’t have a jointer. But boy, do I want one.

-- Chris-Woodstock, Illinois

7 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3242 days

#1 posted 10-05-2011 02:24 PM

I can’t think of anything you could do to a 2” x 3” x 1/4” workpiece using a jointer. . . . other than maybe destroying it or making a sawdust/finger casserole.

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 3109 days

#2 posted 10-05-2011 05:37 PM

Sanding pieces perfectly square is not easy. A drum sander would be the ideal option, but I’m guessing you don’t have one of those either. I have seen a set up using either a spindle sander or drill press with spindle sanding attachment and a fence to feed smaller pieces through for thicknessing. Here is one example I just found through google, the angled fence gives fine adjustment.
You could use somthing like that to get the pieces flat and to required thickness and square up edges with a block or other handplane.

View CantBurn's profile


69 posts in 3097 days

#3 posted 10-05-2011 07:10 PM

I figured the edges were the, start with closest and go from there.

-- Chris-Woodstock, Illinois

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3984 days

#4 posted 10-11-2011 04:32 AM

I agree that a handplane and a shooting board are probably the best shot, using the router table with the offset ‘outfeed’ works well also.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View DS's profile


3058 posts in 2691 days

#5 posted 10-12-2011 01:21 AM

I once read that the easiest way to make a million dollars is to start with two million dollars!

This also applies to little boards. If you start with a 2” X 24” x 1/4” board this is all academic as a basic cut off saw will make short work of cutting 3” pieces nice and square.

Short of that, I might consider attaching your piece to a larger peice of plywood which is already square and use that as a guide to edge sand or cross cut your piece square. Just be sure your fingers are a safe distance away.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View CantBurn's profile


69 posts in 3097 days

#6 posted 10-13-2011 05:32 AM

Thanks for all the help and input.
DS251: sometimes simple is best

-- Chris-Woodstock, Illinois

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 3797 days

#7 posted 10-13-2011 05:55 PM

Getting good at sanding square takes lots of practice. The good thing is that you are working in scrap sizes, so should be able to find material to practice on.
You also have to be aware of the type of wood that you are sanding, and grain patterns and such. It makes a difference.
I could make 4 projects from a piece that is 2”x3”x1/4”, all with square sides. It takes work but can be done. I use a combination of belt sander, spindle sander and scroll saw. A good cut is a great place to start. A sanding block is also really useful, but a little harder to control not beveling the piece.
Also, know before you start when you have reached “square enough”. how much wiggle room do you have before it won’t work. For some projects you need two pieces to join together well, but when I make a necklace it just needs to look square. (although that can be more difficult if a piece has fun grain, it creates an optical illusion that makes it look not square when it really is)

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