Sanders: my experience

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No, not Bernie.

I’m making another 1-meter hanging shelf for under the kitchen cabinets. I bought a piece of 1″ x 10″ pine, a bit longer than needed (so I can trim the ends square with my table saw, since the good ol’ boys at the aserradero don’t quite grasp the concept of “right angles”). Then, of course, there’s lots of sanding to get rid of various planer marks. Fortunately, I have a hand-held belt sander that makes quick work of such chores. At least until almost finished, when it suddenly stops working.

Well, with not much left to do, I wasn’t bothered at having to use my much-less-competent palm sander. Well, to clarify, much less competent when they both work. Instead, I found it to be equally competent: instead of sanding, it just made noises. Might as well have been dead as the other.

A few days later (today), I decided to tear into them and see what I could.

Disassembled hand sanders

The palm (orbital) sander, to the left of the screwdriver, was hopeless. Something’s jamming the central shaft, and I have not a clue what (nor why it didn’t the last time I used it, a while ago). A path forward wasn’t immediately evident.

On the belt sander, however, I found it is activated by a double-pole switch — basically two switches acting together, one for each incoming live wire (and they’re both live in Uruguay, so I tend not to do “simple repairs” to light fixtures or outlets without first turning off the entire house circuit). Easy diagnostics revealed one switch wasn’t working, so I installed a jumper wire (turquoise “U” at lower right) so that the connection is always on, and — ta da! — it worked, and I replaced twelve screws that hold the two halves together.

Turned it on, finished my sanding job, turned it off — uh, no. Now the switch is jammed “on.” But guess what? I don’t really care! Unplug it to turn it off. It works!

I won’t be tempted to tear it apart again because, being a cheap no-brand tool, the screws that hold it together anchor into the plastic molding of the other half. They were all nice and tight when I undid them, but only a third of them really firmly reconnected. The others just turned and turned.

So it may end up being held together with wire and duct tape. But it works — !

I’m feeling more Uruguayan all the time.

5 thoughts on “Sanders: my experience

  1. Crazy glue (for plastics and sanders) should keep it closed, but will hinder future repairs.

    1. Not being a doctor, I didn’t capitalize on it as someone else did (I should research), but my feeling for decades has been that the only function of Super Glue is to stick skin to skin, as in my fingers (but for the medical profession, sutures), and defintiely not whatever project I was working on. Plus, whatever you don’t use on your first application ends up as garbage because it dries up in the tube.

      Duct tape and wire works for me. Maybe it’s just an aesthetic thing?

    2. Cyanoacrylates (crazy glue, superglue) don’t bond plastic worth a damn. About the only thing that will bond plastics is methylene chloride.

  2. Loved this. You are definitely acquiring the best of Uruguayan tendencies. (Or East German, or South African!) Making a plan, Stan. Brilliant. And re the duct tape and wire – I completely concur.

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