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Old 12-19-2010, 07:30 AM
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Default Flushing brass rod

I have a project I'm drawing up now, and am wonder how the rest of you would do this operation.

Part of this table has a "through brass rod" on a member. The rod comes up through face grain. I need to flush the end to the face. Sanding seems problematic and slow since the much harder brass will sand slower than the surrounding wood unless you had a very hard block and kept it dead parallel to the surface.

The rod's diameter will be 3/8" or 1/2"; have not decided that yet until I get further. The crazy idea came to mind of using a router on slow with a bowl bit (think of a planer bit with rounded sides which should make the attack smoother). I just don't know if that's nuts.

Due to how I'll put this together, it is highly likely that I won't need to flush off more than 1/16".

Actually, to you who went to John Economaki's recent tool class, how did you flush the brass rods in the squares? Routers aren't John's thing, perhaps, so maybe this gets me back to a sanding block.

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Old 12-19-2010, 07:52 AM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

So, after posting, I noticed my dated signature line. It is still accurate, though summer heat then "shop-tectonics" kept me from turning on the cam(1).

When I get going on this project (Sunday, I hope... no, need!), I'll turn on the cam for fun.

If you follow me on Twitter (@PMSO), UStream will send a tweet with the stream address when I start casting. I'll see if I can get a group chat window up as well. Otherwise, IM (Jabber) my GMail address: PaulMarcel at gmail.


(1) speaking of the heat, I once had someone asking me for help with something so I decided to brave the heat, grab the laptop, and stream on Skype to show him what I was trying to (unsuccessfully) explain. No audio. Crap. Took the laptop and camera (camera was already in hot garage) in the house for an hour then back out. Audio Guess the microphone thought it was too hot to work, also.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMarcel View Post
I have a project I'm drawing up now, and am wonder how the rest of you would do this operation.

Part of this table has a "through brass rod" on a member. The rod comes up through face grain. I need to flush the end to the face. Sanding seems problematic and slow since the much harder brass will sand slower than the surrounding wood unless you had a very hard block and kept it dead parallel to the surface.

The rod's diameter will be 3/8" or 1/2"; have not decided that yet until I get further. The crazy idea came to mind of using a router on slow with a bowl bit (think of a planer bit with rounded sides which should make the attack smoother). I just don't know if that's nuts.

Due to how I'll put this together, it is highly likely that I won't need to flush off more than 1/16".

Actually, to you who went to John Economaki's recent tool class, how did you flush the brass rods in the squares? Routers aren't John's thing, perhaps, so maybe this gets me back to a sanding block.

hmmm,

I would avoid the router and probably use my 12 inch table disc sander.
I would set it on a sled and slowly feed it into the disc, after everything is on the same plane I would then rig up a simple shooting board and hand sand it through the grits with a block.

.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

Paul,

I took this picture to use in another thread, but it comes in handy here too. I ended up sanding these brass inlaid rods flush using a generic belt sander. Granted, this design is about the size of a dollar bill in diameter, so I had a larger area to work with, but brass sands pretty easily.

Peter
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

Peter,

I'm curious about how you finished that. Something that keeps the brass from tranishing I'm assuming.

Mike
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Old 12-19-2010, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

Mike,

I just sprayed the entire piece with lacquer.

Peter
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

Paul,

The brass sands very easily, but John Economaki warned us that if you sand too much at one time, the brass will heat up and expand and then when it cools, it will shrink below the surface. So if you power sand, do it for a few seconds and then let it cool and so on. Hand sanding shouldn't be a problem.

-Rutager
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Old 12-19-2010, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

I agree with the above: brass is pretty soft, and will sand fine with regular sandpaper. If I have a lot to remove first, I'll bring it fairly flush with a mill bastard file. If your brass comes up in the middle of a big flat surface, you could wrap a piece of tape around each end of the file to keep it a tape's width off the surface.
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

Those are very good tips from everyone so far.

As you suspect, if sanding something like the end of a brass rod you need a very hard platen backing up the abrasive. Rutager didn't say but I bet they used a 6 x 48 belt sander for flushing the rivets to the surface. That machine has a cast iron platen behind the abrasive.

Using a velcro backed abrasive such as on the Festool RO sanders can be detrimental not only to the work because the pads conforms to the surface presented - but the high pressure and heat from working just a small area like the end of a dowel can melt the hooks in the sanding pad leading to the abrasive disk coming loose.

Continuing with machine sanding, the best tool is the NAINA Festool belt sander with sanding frame. Bosch has a couple of belt sanders that are available and offers sanding frames as accessories. (The sanding frame accomplishes something similar to applying tape to the ends of a file, it holds the platen/abrasive off the surface and parallel to it if properly adjusted) If you can't get hold of a sanding frame the next best machine would be a small belt sander that is easy to handle such as the little Porter Cable.

If you use a machine don't forget Rutager's warning about heat.

Short of using a belt sander Peter's suggestion of a file is fastest. Just about any file will work as long as you keep it above the wood so the bottom of the scratches in the brass are still above the wood surface when you switch to sanding.

Even at the hand sanding stage you still need a hard platen to back up the abrasive. The best combination is psa backed abrasive stuck onto MDF strips. Like the file, you need to wrap tape around the ends of the stick and you should wear down the long edges of the abrasive by rubbing on steel or something. An assortment of rolls of psa backed abrasive is a great resource in a shop.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Flushing brass rod

Wow, a lot of excellent thoughts from everybody, and it hasn't even been 12 hours yet!

Since I'll only have 4 to flush and they should be "pretty close" from the onset, I'll likely use a file with tape and hard block with sand paper. I don't have a belt sander. While I've never been too interested in belt sanders, I'll admit the Festool belt sander's stand you talked about has always peaked my interest. Hey, I have lots of Arizona sand around me, maybe Festool will send me one for 'testing'

And Peter Halle... I love the brass inlay you did. Now I know what you were eluding to on the FOG thread about whimsical inlays
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