Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tool Bed Polishing -- Tool Tip #18

My clearest early memory of silicon carbide sandpaper, if such is the stuff memories are made of, is in the hands of a lovely female luthier as she gently hand rubbed the newly lacquered surface of a gourd-shaped Neapolitan mandolin. She used the tiniest piece of very fine grit black paper following the round curve of the instrument's back perfectly with her fingers until the entire surface was uniform powdery white and ready for yet another coat of lacquer. Few of my furniture commissions over the years required this type of mirror finish, and most of my uses for silicon carbide sandpaper, typically 400 grit, have nothing to do with finishing wood itself. I have already written about its excellent application in sharpening chisels when glued to a plate of plate glass:

Read more about this particular use at:  Fast Sharpening

Another blog post suggests silicon carbide sandpaper in order to prevent slippage between the surface of a miter gauge and a piece of wood:  Anti-Skid Miter Gauge

Today's tip is about yet another excellent application. Use 400 grit silicon carbide sandpaper attached to a hard rubber sanding block to clean, smooth and polish machine tool beds and tables as well as other machined metal surfaces such as the sole of a handplane. The block can also remove gunk, grime, high spots and burrs from the base plates of jigsaws, circular saws, plate joiners, etc.  Expect the sandpaper to load quickly and have extra sheets on hand.

You have a machine shop in your hand. Move with the grain of the factory machining. The few first passes immediately reveal low and high spots on a tool bed, such as at the throat of a jointer where you definitely don't want any miniature ski jump. Do stop short though of trying this on the cylinder head of that old Chevy V8 engine you're rebuilding.

Singular wooden ware + hand carved teaspoons at:


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