Introduction: How to Make a Bow Sander
A bow Sander is a fantastic tool for sanding handles and other rounded or molded surfaces. This design is set up to use a belt from a belt sander so you can quickly switch in and out the different belts and keep going. It is faster and easier to use than a sanding sponge and far cheaper as you can get 3-4 belts out of one standing belt.
#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing: http://amzn.to/2hc6LQZ
Panel saw: http://amzn.to/2hjAura
Round bottom spokeshave: http://amzn.to/2hZRxvf
File set: http://amzn.to/2l0czdB
Plow Plane: http://amzn.to/2lKozUf
Boiled Linseed Oil: http://amzn.to/2hPEUVO
Past Wax: http://amzn.to/2inlN23
Belt Sander Belts: http://amzn.to/2lKuDff
Wood scraps: The ones laying on the shop floor
Step 1: Start Shapeing the End Caps
the end caps only need to be out of blocks 1.5" x 3/4" X 1" but working with blocks that small can be difficult. So I like to shape a larger block and then cut the small blocks off of that. I start by cutting a 3/16" wide groove along the center of one edge of a 3/4" wide piece of scrap. The groove should be about 3/8-1/2" deep This can be pine, hardwood, or whatever is in the shop. then I round the corner on either side of that block with a small plane, rasp or Spokeshave. this ends up being about 1/4" round over
Step 2: Cut Out the End Caps
Next, I use a panel saw or tenon saw to rip off 1 1/4" wide strip off the piece that I just shaped. This will give you a stick 3/4" X 1 1/4" strip with a groove along one edge. Next, round over the other two edge corners so that all 4 long corners are rounded to about a 1/4" round over. Last cut off 1" long chunks of this stick. you will need 2 blocks for each bow sander you want to make.
Step 3: Cut the Beam
For the beam, I used a scrap of oak but you could use most any wood as long as it has a bit of flex. I used a hand plane to bring it down to 3/16" thick then ripped it down to 1" wide. the total length is 8 1/4"
Step 4: Bend It to Shape
I put the beam in a pot of boiling water for about 10-15 minutes till it becomes flexible. Next, carefully pull it out with gloves or tongs and slide on the end caps you made earlier and slide the whole thing into a sanding belt. Let it dry overnight and it will hold that shape.
Step 5: FINISH IT!!!
I do not glue the parts together as the tension of the belt will keep them in place, but that is up to you. For a finish, I use Boiled linseed oil and Past Wax. I use some scissors to cut down the belts to 1" wide and have a stock for the future. then it is all set to go.