Product Reviews

Guinevere Finishing System

Guenivere-Product ShotThe Guinevere Finishing System by King Arthur Tools claims to be the smallest inflatable sanding drum. What the tool lacks in size it more than makes up for in power.

Any carver who sands their piece smooth, either before finishing or burning texture, needs this tool. You can even use the pneumatic or inflatable drum sanders to shape and sand your work.. Because you control the inflation of the drums, you control how much the drum flexes. The more the drum flexes, the more it conforms to the general contours of the piece and won’t change the overall shape of the wood. If you increase the inflation of the drum so it flexes less, it will remove more wood.

The Motor Unit

The small motor unit, which looks like a mini-version of a bench grinder, features a powerful 1/2hp motor. This little motor really packs a punch. Both sides of the motor feature a traditional three-jaw chuck, allowing you to chuck two different shapes of sanding drums or two different grits of sandpaper.

Both chucks rotate downward, which gives you additional control and allows you to easily see how much wood you are removing. The motor rotates at around 3,600rpm. The tool produces a lot of dust, especially when equipped with coarse-grit sanding drums.

The Flexible Shaft

What separates the Guinevere from other sanding drum setups is the optional flexible shaft. Foredom set the standard for flexible shaft machines, but Foredom tools revolve much faster, usually around 18,000rpm. Slower is better when it comes to sanding and polishing. In many cases, sanding at high speeds will clog the sandpaper and burn the wood.

The flexible shaft for the Guinevere attaches to the three-jaw chuck on the right side. The 51”-long flexible shaft bends easily to make the tool easy to use. There are three separate bearings in the shaft assembly (one in the shaft itself, and two in the handpiece), which contribute to the tool’s smooth operation.

When testing the shaft, I equipped the 2”-diameter by 4”-long cylinder-shaped drum with 60-grit sandpaper and started sanding the edge of a piece of 1/4”-thick oak. In 20 seconds, the tool removed 5⁄32” of wood. During the time test, I pressed the wood and drum together as hard as I could and the motor only started to bog down at the 20 second mark. Neither the shaft nor the motor faltered. More importantly, the tool did not burn the wood at all.

The Sanding Drums

The drums are inflated using a small but powerful hand pump. Usually, a short stroke of the pump is all that is required to create firm pressure in the drum.

King Arthur Tools offers four different drums for the Guinevere. The main kit comes with a 2”-diameter by 4”-long cylinder-shaped drum and a 2”-diameter round-nose drum. Equip one of the drums with coarse-grit sandpaper to remove wood fast and use medium-grit sandpaper on the other drum to add details and remove scratches left from the coarse sandpaper.

I suggest you add the optional dust collector for the flexible shaft if you plan to use it often. The dust collector attaches right to the flexible shaft. A flexible hose connects the collector to a shop vacuum. Even when sanding aggressively with coarse sandpaper, the collector trapped 90% of the dust.

There are also 1”-diameter by 4”-long cylinders and 1”-diameter by 2”-long cylinders available for detail sanding. Additionally, there are 3/4″-diameter round sanders available. There is a polishing kit available if you prefer to polish the wood and apply a wax finish.


The powerful compact Guinevere features a useful combination of fixed sanding and flexible shaft control. It is a serious tool for intarsia and segmentation artists.

The Guinevere basic sanding system, which includes the base motor, flexible shaft, air pump, large cylinder-shaped sanding drum, round-nose sanding drum, abrasive cleaner, and an assortment of sandpaper, retails for $334 plus S&H. The dust collector costs an additional $50. It is available from King Arthur Tools, 800-942-1300,

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