Handy Sanding Skate
Several people that have visited my shop have commented on the "skates" that I've made for sanding small items. Here is what I needed, followed by how I facilitated my need: I work with a lot of oddly shaped items - and make many types of things that need to be sanded, yet size or shape makes them difficult to hold while sanding them.
What I made was a pair of "skates" - for my needs. I've made these a few years ago and never gave them much thought, but since several people have wanted to have some for themselves, here goes....
I mounted some T-Track in a phenolic-faced 2" thick desktop that is quite heavy.
I then sketched what I felt was necessary to help me to hold a variety of items via toggle clamps. Specific dimensions may not be helpful, because there is a myriad of toggle clamp configurations, but the meat of the matter; for those of you who may wish to make something like this is that this allows me to clamp downward via T-Track numerous thicknesses of wood for the purpose of sanding. When coupled with the desktop's bulky weight, I am able to use a variety of sanders or files or rasps to work the piece of wood being held without it flying across the shop.
It's a three-level base for the toggle clamps (I made 2- identical skates). Each layer is a piece of wood 3/4" thick x 3" wide x 6-3/8" long. Vertically three holes are drilled thru faces of the stacks. These holes are all perfectly aligned thru all 3- levels. One hole along the centerline of the 3" dimension is centered at 2-1/4" from the end of the length. This hole is for the T-Bolt. No countersinks are required for this hole. The
remaining two holes are equidistant from the previously referenced centerline and are for carriage bolts. These holes require countersinks on the bottom of the base and middle levels. The same holes require top and bottom countersinks on the top course.
Also, the toggle clamp that you choose will need to be affixed to the top course - using appropriate machine screws not longer than 3/4" long. Countersink the toggle clamp mounting screws for T-nuts (I used "propel nuts), making certain that these bolts do not extend beyond the bottom face of the top course.
Now you have a 3- story skate for support of your toggle clamp(s). For items near 3/4" thick only use the top course. For items near 1-1/2" thick use top and middle courses, etc. Note: there is no difference between middle and base courses. Use a female threaded pass-through star knob to tighten the skate to the T-Track via the T-Bolt and use differing lengths of carriage bolts to keep the courses together, if more than 1 are used. Top-off the carriage bolts with brass knurled nuts to hold the courses together. This is a cheap and quick way to affix lightweight items atop a heavy surface to enable you to use a variety of tools for sanding.
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