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Stroke anding technique10/31
I have been using a Progress stroke sander for years but I have a recurring problem. I mostly sand solid panels with 120x and veneer with 150 and 180x. My technique is to work across the panel starting from the right then move left overlapping passes 1/3 - 1/2 of the pad. The belt is passing right to left.
This is for flat work?
Is the pad attached to the machine or a free hand held paddle?
I haven't used a stroke sander in 20+ years but before then I used them a lot. I always worked with a hand held paddle that gave me a lot of control on the amount of pressure applied.
I've seen pictures of machines with an integrated paddle but have never used one.
Yes for flat work. The pad is on an arm. The pad is held on the arm with a sort of gimble mount. Wood backer with 1/2" thick neoprene under a graphite sheet.
Early on I used a Samco lever arm stroke sander. Really a stretch to remember but your technique sounds right. Make sure the pad is contacting the material flat. Check this with some pencil lines. I remember rounding the edges of the pad slightly. Light touch is better. I miss that machine but they have a huge footprint.
Tom I've got an Oakley with the pad attached to an arm with 3.5 ratio to the fulcrum length.
The technique I use, is to move both the bed in and out simultaneously with moving the pad left and right along the belt. this produces a 45º path across the panel. I start at the right side, and when I get to the left end, I switch the pattern so the 45º is in the opposite direction but with less pressure.
It takes a little practice to get the hang of it, but soon feels natural. It requires a bit of sensitivity to get it right.
Not what you want to hear but move to a wide belt as soon as you can. In addition to speed you will get greater consistency so things stain more evenly.
Thanks for the responses. I will try the 45° pattern out. I am going to make sure there is a slight round to the pad and futz around with the fulcrum point a bit. The pad swivels so I can't do much without the weight of the pad making the leading edge to drop.
A wide belt is for a much different purpose and you don't get the same kind of result as a stroke sander. I also always used a soft pad on a free paddle. I even made some as simple as a piece of foam under a piece of denim. Lasted an incredibly long time! But this soft paddle would give the result with 120 that looked and felt much more like 150 grit or better. I could concentrate on a little tear out, and feather it in. I've never worked with a high end wide belt, but with the low end I used, the scratch pattern was very deep and course. Flat and uniform for sure, but I got a better finish sanding when I went from the low end wide belt to the stroke sander and then to random orbit.
I have a similar problem with my Mini Max L55, which has a lever operated platen. Because the table is stationary and the belt assembly tracks in and out it does not lend itself well to a freehand platen. I don't recall having such an issue when I had a Boice-Crane with hand-held platen, but then I didn't use it as much.
I seem to get better results with overlapping straight passes in line with the grain than with an oscillating technique, but I have resigned myself to finishing up with a ros. The stroke sander is a great way to refine the widebelt scratch pattern- I wish I could get a completely finish-ready surface with it.
I'd try a loose pad. I use something really crude, wood concrete trowel with foam glued on the bottom, graphite cloth over that. I think it provides really nice control in the sanding process.