DIY Spindle Sander

Written by chris baylor
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DIY Spindle Sander
An old drill press can easily be converted into a DIY spindle sander. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A spindle sander is designed for sanding the edges of curved cuts in pieces of wood. Commercial spindle sanders have an oscillating action, where the sanding drum not only spins at the desired rotation, but it also moves up and down as you sand. The advantage to this type of sander is that no grooves from sanding are translated to the wood. Also, the drum wears more evenly. However, if you're not worried about the oscillating action, you can create a DIY spindle sander out of an old drill press.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Drill press
  • Sanding drum with sleeves
  • 16-inch by 16-inch piece of 3/4-inch MDF (medium-density fiberboard)
  • Two 1-1/2-inch-long bolts with washers and nuts
  • Pencil
  • Cordless drill and bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Open-end wrenches

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  1. 1

    Center a 16-inch by 16-inch piece of 3/4-inch-thick MDF (medium-density fiberboard) over the work table of a drill press.

  2. 2

    Reach underneath the table, and mark two locations on the MDF where there are corresponding holes in the work table. Remove the MDF, and drill holes for two mounting bolts through the MDF with a cordless drill. Countersink the holes on the top surface of the MDF with a countersink or a larger-diameter bit.

  3. 3

    Slip the bolts into the countersunk holes and position the MDF over the table, aligning the bolts with the holes in the work table. Attach washers and nuts to the bolts on the underside of the table, and tighten them with an open-end wrench.

  4. 4

    Insert a sanding drum with a sleeve attached in the drill press chuck.

  5. 5

    Raise the work table so that the bottom of the sanding drum is barely touching the MDF on top of the table. Lock the table in place.

  6. 6

    Set the drill press to a slow to moderate speed, and turn on the drill press. Place a piece of stock with an edge to be sanded flat on the table, and ease the board forward until the edge comes into contact with the sanding drum. Move the board along the drum until the edge is completely sanded smooth.

Tips and warnings

  • When using woodworking power tools, always wear appropriate safety equipment, including safety glasses to protect your eyes and a dust mask to prevent the inhalation of fine sawdust.

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