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Bow Sanders for Lathe Work?

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  • Bow Sanders for Lathe Work?

    While reading my e-mail and checking out some suggested things on the Lee Valley site, I came across what they call "Bow Sanders". They are a new tool for me: I have never seen them before.

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    I may buy or make one or two for general use anyway, they do seem easy to make. Perhaps a good 3D printing project and there is enough detail in the picture to do that. But it set me to wondering if they might be a better way to use sanding strips to finish parts in the lathe. There has been discussion about the potential dangers of using sanding strips held in your hands on a part that is rotating: specifically the danger of the strip getting tangled or wrapped around the part and drawing your fingers into the part. I have used sanding paper and cloth strips in the past in that manner but have come to question it's safety lately. So I am wondering if these may be a better way to do that.

    What are your thoughts?

    A link to the Lee Valley page:

    All the usual disclaimers apply. I have no relationship with Lee Valley other than as a satisfied customer.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

  • #2
    I can't decide if it would be safer or not. It would keep your fingers out of the way.


    • #3
      You read my mail.. I found some of these in the last machinist box I bought.. Been thinking of posting a pic to find out what they were..
      and we have a Lee Valley store here.. Thanks..
      l just checked ...Lee V are 10 inch long bow and longer ..the insertpieces I have are 4 or 5 inches long..
      Last edited by 754; 08-24-2020, 08:53 PM.


      • #4
        I use one of these often, an excellent tool when the customer demands a uniform directional finish on parts.

        For lathe surface finishing work a tube polisher is a good choice, the arms are spring loaded allowing the belt to wrap over 180 Degrees around the part.

        I use a small Dynabrade tool for de-burring, they are nicely made.
        Last edited by Bented; 08-24-2020, 09:00 PM.


        • #5
          Anything is better than losing part of your body because of Emery Cloth held by hand.
          Emery Cloth is probably one of the most dangerous tools to use around rotating equipment.
          Beaver County Alberta Canada


          • #6
            Bow sanders have been in common use for automotive body work for decades.

            There are no stupid questions. But there are lots of stupid answers. This is the internet.

            Location: SF Bay Area


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jim Stewart View Post
              Bow sanders have been in common use for automotive body work for decades.

              At least 6 decades that I've seen and probably a lot longer. :-)


              • #8
                Bow sander,,,whats that?
                take a thin plywood, or, thin wood batten, plastic batten, and glue strip sandpaper to it, presto ,, you got a flexible sanding board.
                you can adjust the flexibility by the thinness of the backer you glue the sandpaper to

                I think the big danger in lathe work is the manner in which you hold the sand paper, always hold it in a manner to let it go


                • #9
                  I bought a cylindrical grinder so I would not have to use emery cloth on my lathe
                  to get the finish or size I desire. I know a grinder is not part of everyone's shop
                  tool arsenal, but maybe it should be.



                  • #10
                    Ringo, a stick sander like you mentioned isn't the same.

                    Mother nature gave us arms so our arms and shoulders form a somewhat useful natural bow sander. But we can't get a whole lot of tension in our own "bow". So that's where a sprung frame can provide a flatter and more tensioned band which still has some give to it comes in handy. Hence the bow sander in a variety of options. And at some point after those are not firm enough we get to the banding glued to a semi flexible stick.

                    Chilliwack BC, Canada