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I am inexperienced at woodworking but interested in learning. I learn by taking on projects that require more knowledge than I have.

I am building a kalimba (thumb piano) and have the basic shape bandsawed out and want to smooth the edges. I recently saw an edge sander in someone's shop and now I see the use of that tool. Lacking one of those, I'm not sure how to go about this. I do have a 4" horizontal belt sander, in combination with a 6" disk sander with a table.

I did pick up an oscillating drum sander that will help with the concave waist of the instrument.

The kalimba is 6" at the widest and about 8 1/2" long. It is wider than 2" and I plan to bandsaw of the back and hollow it out using a forstner bit and then a plunge router. I may be contouring the top for comfort of hand placement and that will affect how thin to make the sides and top. At this point I'm thinking less than 1/4" -3/16" or so if I can get it. I am planning to make some sort of a jig for the router when I get to that point. But I've never used a router like that so may need to experiment...

Oh, the wood is Makore or African Cherry.

See the photo.

Thanks, all!

Chuck Barnett
 

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The oscillating spindle sander is the ticket. You could squeak by using a belt sander's front wheel, but it is hard to control even pressure across the wheel and not get gouges. The oscillating spindle sander I bought from Menards has several diameters of drums so you can sand tight curves or gentle ones. There are several brands so do your research. I chose this one because it was local, available, had the choice of drums, and Menards takes returns with no hassles....

http://www.menards.com/main/tools-h...ndle-sander-masterforce/p-1498343-c-10088.htm
 

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First, I would have to draw the pattern line back on that was sawed off so there is a reference line to sand to but not include.

With power sanding, one secret is to have a feather light touch and a fast feed rate. On both concave and convex shapes the piece needs to be rotated at mid-point of the arc so the sanding isn't going against the grain on the second half.
 

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The spindle sander should work fine for you.

But with shapes like that I find it easiest to cut a template on 1/4" ply or 1/2" mdf, and sand that perfectly. And if you mess up the first one, it's no big deal, just cut another one.

Then you can bandsaw close to the line on your blank. Attach your perfectly sanded template to the blank that you bandsawed with some double sided tape, and use a router and flush trim bit to finish up the edge. The finished result will be an exact match to your template.

You only need to make half the shape of the template assuming it's symmetrical... you can just flip it over when routing to finish up the other side.

This is all assuming that you have a router and a flush trim bit large enough to get through your blank.
 

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