By Bob Duncan
Arbortech’s new Contour Random Sander dramatically reduces the sanding time for any size carving. The sander, which attaches to an angle grinder, allows you to quickly sand all but the smallest of carvings. The soft rubber base of the sander adapts to the contour of the carving without digging in or changing the shape of the piece. It also fits easily into tight spaces.
The kit comes with pre-cut discs of PSA-backed sandpaper in various grits. You can buy discs from Arbortech or make your own.
Although there are no sharp cutting edges, I suggest clamping a carving in a vise while you use the sander. It’s easier to control with two hands on the angle grinder.
I tried the sander first on a large woodspirit I was carving with gouges and chisels. I used the tool to smooth the forehead a bit before I carved in wrinkles. The flexible pad fit into even the tightest corners at the hairline. In about 15 seconds, I sanded the entire forehead. (It was probably faster than that, but it took me that long to realize I was done sanding.)
To test the limits of how small I could go, I carefully clamped one of Tom Hindes’ 5-Minute Wizards in a vise (with Tom’s permission) and used the sander to remove some extraneous pencil marks. I didn’t try to get into all of the tight corners, but the sander did quickly remove the pencil marks.
The contour sander excels at removing tool marks left by carbide-point discs and other large power-carving tools. The pre-cut discs come in a variety of grits that let you choose how smooth to make the project. The overall size of the disc is large enough to reduce sanding time, but small enough to fit into tight areas.
The Arbortech Contour Random Sander is available for $89 plus S&H. Visit www.ArbortechUSA.com to purchase, or to find a local retailer.