Sand smooth and uniform thin strips


Shaker boxes require wood strips made to uniform thickness with smooth faces. To impart both of those qualities to your sawn strips, use an oscillatin­g spindle sander.

First, build a simple right-angle fence with base from two pieces of 3∕4" material. The base should have a pair of parallel slots as shown. Add a couple of brace pieces for rigidity. Use the slots to mark the position, then drill and tap two holes into the sander table. Secure the fixture with wing nuts, washers, and threaded rod. If your sander has a miter channel, add a snug-fitting length of 1"-tall wood to it. Otherwise, clamp that wood in place, just behind the fence. Make a supply of paper and cardstock shims of various thicknesse­s. Outfit the sander with an 80-grit drum.

I like my finished strips .062" thick, +/-.002". To achieve that, rip the strips to about .090" thick using a bandsaw. Then, use one of the strips to set the fence-todrum sander distance for a light sanding cut. Sand each strip and measure the thickness using a micrometer. Add a shim between the back edge of the fence base and the wood in the miter channel. Make another sanding pass. Repeat that process (most strips require 3–4 passes) until reaching the desired thickness.

—Ken Taylor, Bradenton, Fla.

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