How to Make a Bow Sander




Introduction: How to Make a Bow Sander

About: I have been working with wood since I could stumble into the shop with my dad. About a year ago I moved into a house with no space for a full shop so I decided to take up all hand tool wood working. That sta...

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.

Tools Needed:

#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:

Panel saw:

Round bottom spokeshave:

File set:

Plow Plane:

Supplies needed:

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Past Wax:

Belt Sander Belts:

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.

Build a Tool Contest 2017

First Prize in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017



    • Fix It! Contest

      Fix It! Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Metalworking Contest

      Metalworking Contest

    9 Discussions

    This is a really cool , and useful project thanks for sharing it.

    4 replies

    I'll bet , it must come in really handy for tight curves. Does it wear on your hand much?

    very useful for that. and, no there are several ways to hold it so there is no rubbing on your hands.

    I think I will make one for my friend he wanted something like this

    1 reply