No Surprises

The timer on my iphone was set to 16 minutes. I hit start and it began counting down. My belt sander went to work on the piece of walnut. Slowly it began to remove change the board’s face from rough cut to a smooth surface. I focused on even strokes back and forth and let it do the work. When the deep cuts were mostly gone, with seven minutes remaining, I switched to my mouse sander. The mouse sander did a nice job with various grits for the remaining 7 minutes.

The follow three images are, rough, low end sanders, Festool 150.

When I wiped both sides off and compared, I was not surprised that the side which had been worked on by the Festool 150, was much nicer. The side that was completed with my low end sanders was still rather good looking. I would say that I have several hundred board feet of very handsome walnut.

So what did I learn? I learned that the expensive tool is quieter, somewhat faster, and performs a level that is superior to what I have now. This is not at all surprising. The real value is getting to compare my current capabilities with what is possible and then to assess how that relates to the project I am working on now. When I think in those terms, I come to the conclusion, that at this moment, I am not going to spend the money to buy the Festool.

Is this my final word on the Festool sander? No, not at all, as there will come a day, when I am building another project, one in which I desire a higher quality result, that I will likely revisit the issue. It was suggested that I read some of the reviews on the Lumberjocks site. This was very helpful.

So I gained a bit of experience about sanding and really enjoyed seeing how beautiful all the wood, which is stacked in my basement, really is.

It should be no surprise to anyone that 16 minutes of woodworking is not nearly enough. I have begun gluing the 22 inch pieces of hard maple together. The first set of 4 that I slathered Titebond on, were tricky little devils. Who knew that glue could be so slippery? Actually, I would imagine that most woodworkers knew that, but for me it was something new. The best part about the first glue up was that after I had clamped them together, I noticed that the first board had ridden up a bit. Did I panic? No, I put the glued up section in the cauls I built. I tightened the cauls up and the little bit of unevenness disappeared. I was very proud of my little cauls, performing their job so admirably.

The process of building the top for my router table will move slowly, as I only have enough clamps to do one set of boards at a time. That is ok, as I am such a novice at gluing up stuff, that doing them one at a time, will allow me to learn with each set. As with each other skill in woodworking, it just takes practice and repetition to get good at it. Or so I would imagine. Every time I try something new, I get very excited and it makes me happier than a cat who has won a bid on EBay for a giant ball of yarn.

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