Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lessons in Sawdust and Sanders

The flat sander I am used to.
 This post will probably give a few of you a good laugh.  Especially if you are at all familiar with various types of sanding tools.  You see,  I (your faithful blog writer)  usually happily observe the other employees of our shop going about their projects and then go back to the office and write about them.  I don't usually do any of the work myself.  Unless that is, I have a project of my own that I want to get done and I am to impatient to squeeze it in between the more pressing jobs that our customers bring to us.    Then, and only then, do I dare go back and pick up a tool and try to use it.   I usually learn some amazing lesson which usually has a humbling nature.  Such was the case when I decided to sand my 130 old trunk last week.  I had successfully pulled all the old rotting metal off the base, and so the next step was to prepare all the wood to be re-stained.  Since I was not working with a completely smooth surface, I could not use the flat sander which I am by now quite comfortable with.  Instead I used a 'flapper wheel' sander which works much better over uneven contours.

Covered in Sanding Dust!
 What I learned was very interesting to me, and gave the guys at the shop a very good laugh.  You see,  the flat sander I have used on previous projects has this handy thing called 'Dust Collection'.  As the tool is used,  the sawdust created by the sanding is handily sucked up through a hose attached to the tool and it just disappears.  This flapper wheel sander does not have this handy resource.  So, while I did think to cover my mouth and eyes,  by the time I was done sanding the top of the trunk my unprotected hair had turned a completely different color because of all the dust,  and I had the sander's version of a 'farmers tan'  on my arms.

The lesson I have learned from this is...

1.  It is better to let one of the guys do this step because they don't mind getting covered in dust quite so much.

2.  If I absolutely have to do the sanding on this trunk (in order to get it done faster) next time I should come wearing coveralls,  a mask, gloves, goggles and some kind of a bandana over my hair!  And I should not expect that I can simply walk into the office and begin work afterwards!

Considering that I still have quite a bit of sanding left on this trunk,  which  of those two options would you choose if you were me?
The partially sanded top of my Trunk

I would love to hear from you, some of the more entertaining things that have happened to you while working with wood.  Can any of you top my 'sawdust colored hair' story?

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