Monday, August 29, 2016

Belt Sander Stand -- Can Sit In 3 Positions

A belt sander is a handy tool for woodworking and if it can sit in a stand it is even better. If you don't have the room or budget for many machines this sander may be right for you. It is fun when you can make your own woodworking tools and even better when you can build something that functions well. 

I got the basic idea from John Heisz and Jay Bates except mine is one unit without the folding part and some other modifications.


This will be an easy build and does not require a lot of hardware. The sander can easily be put in or taken out of the stand and will be able to sit flat, upright and on the side.


To start I cut a base 7"x19". This would be the best size to fit my Makita beltsander. Other sanders would have to be measured individually. I measured the width of the sander and added 1/4 inch on each side and for the length I made it long enough so the sawdust bag would fit. 

Two pieces of plywood 4x3/16" x 7" are glued together to make the front of the stand. They are offset by the thickness of the base board. Later one end will be cut to the height of the sander as you can see in the next photo.

A mark is made on the front board the same height as the sander's handle. This will be for a wood handle to lock onto the belt sander handle. 

A couple of holes are drilled to make a slot for the handle. Draw 2 lines from the circles and then a jigsaw can be used to finish cutting the slot. 

With my new caliper I measured the height of the sander on the base, this measurement will be used to help build the sides. 

This is the shape I came up with for the sides. They are made this way so you can gain easy access to the switch with your hand.  I rough sketched a few curved shapes until I liked what I had and cut them with the band saw.

Making the lever

Two pieces of hardwood are used to make this simple turn handle. A few holes are drilled, two in the support block and one in the handle.  

The block is screwed onto the front board and the handle is attached with a pan  head screw. It was able to swivel nicely and grip the sander handle firmly. Notice the slot length and position, it is made this way so the lever can swing 90 degrees.

A couple of blocks are attached to the base. They sit snug in the sander's handle and will give extra support for the sander. They are just screwed in from the bottom board.

The base, front, lever and sides are coming together. The last thing to do is add the top. 

 The top is screwed onto the sides using 4 drywall screws. The sander is not secured so it looks a bit crooked. Still a few adjustments have to be made.

The sander table is in the upright position, I was surprised how it sat on the table without any clamping. Next week we will see what happens when the  tables are added and I give it a real test.

This is a conclusion for this part of the build. So far this is a very easy build. This sander table will get a lot of use in the shop. The lever makes it quick to put in and take out the sander. 

The next part I will make the tables and some other modifications for the sander. 

What kind of tools or machines have you made? 

See Also:                                                                                           
 Self Centering Jig        Large Clamp/Swivel Pad             Scrap Bin Challenge                                                                                                                                     


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Make a Simple Jig and Build Boxes with Decorative Splines

If you want to make some beautiful boxes a spline jig may be what you need. This is a must have  jig for any woodworking shop. There are many different types and some  are easy to make, and I will show you how to make the easiest one ever. 

The one I will be making will also have a stop block and a fine adjustment screw, this will help keep the measuring and cutting easy. 

When the jig is complete you can make boxes. A good idea is to first use a small scrap piece of 2x4 and test out the jig and cut some splines. Then by using contrasting colours of woods and different spacing you can come up with some really interesting designs.

Here is another  spline jig   I built for cutting angled and straight splines. It works fine but like I said the new one will be easier to build. 

Jigs can always be modified and improved and as a woodworker it is as much fun to build jigs as it is to use them for the projects being made.

New Spline Jig

I built this jig and small box frame with decorative splines. It was made very quick and was somewhat of a test. The jig worked out fine but a stop block will make things easier.

How to Make a Small Spline Jig with Stop Block

I will show you how to easily make make a spline jig fast. I used my new caliper and measured a block and cut a piece 8 inches. I am finding many new uses for this caliper. 

The wood I am using is a piece of hardwood from an old pallet. Since it is free wood it had a dado cut on one side but this is easy enough to cut out.

The table saw blade is set to 45 degrees and the block will be cut on both sides to make a V-slot.

Making a Runner

You can make a runner using a piece of hard wood. It is important to cut it the same size as your table saw miter slot. If there is any play your cuts will not turn out precise. 

I had to move the fence more than once and after the second try I had it set and cut a perfect runner.

Tip: I cut a small piece of the runner and will be saving it. I will mark it "Runner Test Block" and keep for future runners I have to make.  

The runner and block are glued together. I usually do this in the table saw but wanted to do it in a vise this time. After the glue was applied I put in one screw then used a speed square and checked for it squareness.  I added a second screw and it turned out fine.

The next step is to make a stop block. Three pieces of 3/8" plywood are cut to the right size to sit on the block. Then I held it together with a clamp and added four screws. After the clamp was removed I had a nice solid sliding stopblock.

A couple of knobs with screws are put in the stop block. One is for clamping and the other will be a fine adjustment screw. To make the knobs I added some carriage bolts to some discs that were made with a hole saw.

I used my miter gauge to cut some oak for the sides of the boxes I will be making.


After I cut some pieces to the right length, I tilted the blade to 45 degrees put on a stop block on the miter gauge and continued to cut the pieces for the box.

Glueing and clamping the box with my box clamp.built this clamp a few years ago and it still works fine. 

A few marks are made on the jig. One mark is on the fine adjustment knob.Two turns on the fine adjustment knob equals  the thickness of the saw blade. The mark on the jig is to show where the saw blade is. I hope this makes sense.

After the cuts were made the keys or splines can be glued in. The wood I used was a piece of smoked oak. Walnut would have worked just as well. The next step is to trim the splines, this can be done on a band saw.

Before we can move on the box has to be cleaned up again. It was taken over to the belt sander and smoothed out. Careful attention is made when sanding to not sanding off too much or too little.

Here is the box with a second set of cuts in it. The jig was set so the cuts were made in the first set of splines.

Now the maple splines can be added. A good idea is to first dry fit all the pieces and make sure you have a correct fit.

The maple splines are now cut again using the bandsaw. The box can now be taken over to the bandsaw and trimmed down again. Then over to the sander and sanded smooth again followed by some fine sanding.

 I gave it a coat of Varathane  first then glued on a plywood bottom.


You can now build yourself a simple jig and make beautiful boxes.

Building the jig as precise as you can will be beneficial when it is complete. It will perform better and give you nicer results.

Many jigs look complicated and even more complicated to build. I hope this article can help you to build your own boxes and come up with your own designs. 

Which design do you like better and what types of wood do you think look good together?

Other videos you may like:

    Bird's mouth joinery                    Angle drilling jig                       Spline cutting jig