RCUniverse.com "How To" Article - How To Build a Sanding Box
How-To Article by Mike Buzzeo (MinnFlyer) Email me
I have always tried to do my major sanding projects outdoors. It always seemed to work out well time-wise in that, I would usually get a new plane for Christmas, and by early spring, when the big sanding jobs came along, the weather would be tolerable. But several things have changed since I lived in New York. For one thing, Minnesota winters are much longer, and nowadays once spring arrives, I'm so busy doing product reviews that my own projects get sidelined until the weather gets cold again.
So here I find myself in late autumn doing a lot of sanding indoors. What bothers me about this is the dust that is created. Even on small jobs, when I look up at the fluorescent lights in my shop, I can see a cloud of tiny sawdust particles floating in the air. That happens to be the same air I am breathing! I started using a dust mask, but for one thing, I hate wearing those things, and for another, an hour after the sanding job was finished - even with my window fan running - I could still see a cloud of dust floating around! And even if I left the room overnight, the next morning there would be a fine coat of dust on everything in the shop (And I just CLEANED IT for the first time in 3 years!)
Something had to be done!
So recently, on a trip to my local Home Improvement store, I spotted some pre-cut 2' x 4' pegboard panels. Right next to that were some panels made of the same material, but without the holes. They were both about 4 bucks each. The gears started turning. A few isles away were some 6-foot pine 1 x 4's for less than $3 each.
"Now what was it that my wife sent me here for?" Oh well, it must not have been too important. The next thing I know, I'm on my way out the door with two boards and two sheets of wood.
For starters, I noticed that the outermost row of holes was very close to the edge of the pegboard. If I placed this on top of the sides, the boards underneath would close off the first row of holes. This, in itself, is not a problem, but it would mean that each of those holes on all four edges would become little cups that would fill up with sawdust. So the first thing I did was to cut the pegboard right along the first row of holes. This left a 3/4" edge on all four sides.
The next thing was to cut the bottom to match, and measure the finished top and bottom so the sides could be cut to size.
Now I needed a hole to fit my Shop-Vac hose into. With a little trial-and-error, I got the size just right for a snug fit.
With the sides clamped in place, I pre-drilled holes for the screws and put the sides together with wood glue and drywall screws.
When it's upside-down, you can see how the first row of holes will clear the sidepieces.
I was careful to counter-sink the holes so the screws would sit below the surface.
Again, being careful not to cover any holes, I glued some pieces of scrap from the sides to provide support for the center.
Finally, the bottom is screwed in place, the Shop-Vac is attached, and she's ready for testing.
for the acid test - does it work?
I brought the sanding box out of my studio and into my workshop. With it sitting atop my workbench, I turned on the Shop-Vac but felt no noticeable suction. Undeterred, I placed the wing of my Ultra Sport on top of the table and started sanding away.
Aside from the noise of the Shop-Vac, I noticed nothing out of the ordinary. When I was done with the section I was working on, I stood the wing on its leading edge and lightly bounced it on the table to knock off the loose dust. Then I smacked it lightly with my hand to further remove the dust.
There was a noticeable amount of dust on the top of the sanding box, which disappeared down the holes with a few wipes of my hand. "Impressive", I thought, but now for the real test. I looked up at the fluorescent lights in my shop, and there was nothing! Not even a hint of any dust-borne particles.
Now my shop can stay clean, I don't have to wear a mask to prevent breathing in those dust particles and my wife will have one less thing to complain about.
Now it's back to the Home Improvement store for those light fixtures she wanted.