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Spindle Sander Vs. Small Contact Wheels

Discussion in 'Grinders' started by ToddR, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Hi all. I am still working on technique using test pieces really. Well, to be honest, i started on a real knife last week but it quickly became another "test" piece. Anyway, one of the things that I've quickly run into is that i like knives with finger grooves. Trouble is, i need a better way to grind them. I know i read that DanC uses a spindle sander so I thought i'd ask for consensus on what's better to invest in, a spindle sander or a set of new small contact wheels.
    The spindle sander would be very useful for my woodworking too but, I've read that they don't hold up great to steel. The contact wheels would be great but man alive they're pricey. And I'd need to invest some time into making a new arm for my grinder (everytime i think i'm finished building it, i'm not - what gives?) . I figure either one is about a $200 investment. I'm not sure which is the way to go.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?

    As usual, thanks in advance everyone.
     
  2. bobbybirds

    bobbybirds Best New Maker

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    I want to get the set of small contact wheels one day. For know I just rough out the small rounded areas like that and finish with a round file then a dremel tool. Quick and easy...
     
  3. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    a dremel!? i didn't even think of that. I'm surprised it has the power. I will try it.

    Do you use the spindle wheels or a mini die grinder ... hey, what about a fine die grinder/rotary file hooked to an air compressor? Thanks BobbyB.
     
  4. bobbybirds

    bobbybirds Best New Maker

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    I use a little sanding drum thing in my dremel. Like I said, I will use a round file to shape it and the dremel just to clean up the file marks. It really is fast and effective, although the small wheel attachment would be even quicker of course...
     
  5. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    I use the oscillating spindle a lot, especially for profiling. It's faster to hop over there than to change the tool arm on the grinder.
    The problem is when it comes to polishing. The sanding drums for the spindle sander are extremely limited when it comes to grit. Think coarse and extra coarse. :-(

    Dan
     
  6. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Homedepot carries a Rigid oscillating belt/drum sander with a tilting table.

    So far I find it works well at flattening and primary shaping, unfortunately local belt selection is slim like Dan says.

    Going to look around and see if there are more options in that size one of these days
     
  7. Big Bear

    Big Bear New Member

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    I bought a set of sanding drums for the drill press and find they work great for shaping finger grooves once they've been roughed out. Works great on flushing up the handle scales in tight areas too. Only drawback is they get used up fast and are pricey. But you don't need a dedicated machine. Bought mine at the hardware store. I'm hoping I won't have much use for them now that I have my BEE.
     
  8. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Yes, I find the little drums are fast to change and slower to remove material which can be good when shaping a handle or choil area. They are limited in grits, so finer work needs the small wheel attachment and some 400 or 600 AO belts. Great time saver though.

    Dan
     
  9. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    I have my 2 cents on this subject having purchased a spindle sander, which is pretty much the consensus, but I'm going to say it anyway lol!

    The sander itself is fine tool, it helped clean/ shape / profile finger choils and other curved areas nicely. The downside is this, replacement sandpaper sleeves typically come in kits. An example is the twin 80G and 150G package at homedepot, one sleeve in each grit for each size drum running at about $20 a kit. I was burning through the 3/4 and 1" sleeves like crazy shaping my knife and scales, and over time if you add the replacement cost of $20 to just get those sizes plus what I paid for it in the first place ($180ish from Lowes) it will end up costing me more than buying all the small wheel attachments for my grinder. My plan is to build a horizontal grinder for the small wheel attachments and the spindle sander will probably then go where all unwanted tools go, the island of Kijiji!
     
  10. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    For me, it's files to rough out the finger groove then the built-in small wheel on the grinder. If the small wheel isn't small enough, the dremel works great (and the sanding sleeves aren't ridiculously expensive).
     

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