Which sander to buy?

Sarah Winchester

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Nov 6, 2004
A mitre sander is one piece of equipment I don't have; and maybe I could use one. But, which to buy...the $450 one, or the Logan for $125 ? I talked to one framer who has a Logan and is quite happy with it for a one person shop.
And then I have a friend who is a tool maker who could adapt a regular electric table sander to revolve slowly. He would do this gratis.
What do you think?
I have the Logan which I bought at the Atlanta Show.
When comparing the ones that were available, I figured the Logan was a nice place to start because it looked like it would do the job.

So far it has, it will not do large profile mouldings so you are limited to that. However, even with my Pistorius Saw the mitres have been improved greatly with the Logan, it was worth the money.

The problem with a regular electric table sander is not necessarily the speed that it turns (It could be a factor with out experimenting first) but with the Guide that is used to make the 45 degree angle. Most sanders and table saws that are inexpensive have guides that are plastic or just not that accurate. You would need the tool maker to make a jig or something that could keep a perfect 45 degree angle between the base and the disk.

As it is said Take what you want and leave the rest.

I have over this last year found it interesting to read about the minutia of joints.

I don't know if it's a west coast thing or what, but out chops (for the most part 99%) are within a paramater that with Tombo markers and a touch of wax, are more than addequit for custom framing. (if they expected closed corner look, then they should have ordered and paid as such).

All this talk about sanders and such brings to mind a framer I was forced to work with, and years later competed with. He could milk waxing a frame into a half hour job. It still didn't look like a closed corner, but he professed to be an "artist". We finally fired him.

The point of joining, is join. Marker the joint edges to cameoflauge, and wax what you must. But bear in mind, that the lions share of your profits are embedded in your frame and glass.

Now honeing the edge of glass is something I don't ever want to read a discussion on. :D

As Jerry said Take what you want is the carte empore here.
I think a agree with Baer. Just as soon as I figure out what his advice was.

I have followed several past discussions RE: miter sanders, but have neglected to ask a question:

I assume that most of you guys who use a sander “fine tune” the corners after having mitered them with a saw.

Does anyone out there use a sander after having chopped the corners with a Morsø? If so, does the sander significantly improve the join?
I only use my saw for metal. I use a morso for wood. Yes it helps.

My theory: The blades pull the moulding down and push the backside of the moulding slightly up. I have never noticed this on soft wood, small profiles or with sharp blades BUT with hard woods, large profiles and dulling blades they miters seem open at the top.

Rarely do I stick a miter in the sander and have it sand the whole surface with one turn. So I guess is use it more to flatten the miter rather than make it 45 degrees.
The sander helps with any chop - saw, chopper or vendor-supplied. Yes, it is time-consuming to sand eight corners per frame, but the difference is noticeable.
We even use ours on the occasional metal chop - make a nearly seamless corner (really).

I have the ITW and it works great. I know Jay loves his, too - and he (wisely)spent a lot less $$$

I was considering a miter sander earlier but before I made the plunge realized that my Delta Sanding Station ( http://www.deltawoodworking.com/index.asp?e=136&p=828 ) could be setup to be as accurate as any of the miter sanders. They aren't cheap at around $650, but if you already have one you don't need a seperate miter sander. It has a 12" disk sander and a 6x48" belt sander.

The disk and belt sander are connected to the same drive so both turn together. When I use mine, I turn the belt disk by hand which turns the disk disk. 2 or 3 turns does the trick just like the miter sanders. Setup is easy if you have an accurate 45 degree engineering square. I use a special miter guage in the miter slot that has 2 sides setup at a 90 degree angle. When the sides of the miter guage are setup for a 45 degree miter, I can sand both ends without changing the setup so the miter guage is never changed.

If you have other sanding needs besides miters, you might consider this.
I've got the Logan but have been seriously thinking about getting the ITW/AMP.

My concerns with the Logan are:
(a) small table makes it difficult to do large pieces;
(b) low height of guide makes it too easy for taller profile to roll over top;
(c) light weight tends to move around unless I clamp it down
(d) difficult to convince myself I've calibrated it well - the opposite guide gets in the way of putting a triangle on top so my technique is to take the wheel off and use a 90 degree framers square to calibrate both guides together to the edge of the table.

The truth is that I use it relatively little as I don't trust its doing more good rather than harm. Since I got my saw well calibrated (Fletcher 7100 with simple Makita miter saw) and a good underpinner (Cassese 910) I seldom use the sander. But the corners aren't always perfect on wider mouldings. I still spackle about 20% and was hoping that the ITW/AMP sander might allow me to achieve near perfection with no touch up.

I have the ITW/AMP and I love it (though I don't plan to carry it any distance without a dolly or a mule.)

You should be aware that no sander is going to save a moulding that's warped or twisted and you shouldn't sand a mitre that has nails sticking out of it. It's very hard on the sanding disc, which is nasty to change.
Ditto to what Ron said about the ITW/AMP. Its a HEAVY and reliable addition to our shop. We picked up ours from grumble sponsor United at the NY show this year. (they shipped it -- we didn't actually lug it around)

It pays for itself almost monthly in saved time and returning bad chops to the vendors, freight, making customers wait longer, etc. It will even improve chops done on the Mors0.

If you get this, you'll want to put it somewhere away from important things, because it tends to create sawdust.

Another cool "gadget" is the Fillet Master. We found this at the Atlanta show and it came in yesterday. You can cut a perfect fillet or enhancer, the first time, in less than 2 minutes. (even me!) It does openings 3"-32" with the standard unit, or up to 44" with the optional extension kit. The people are really FRIENDLY too. They followed up to make sure we were happy, if the manuals were good, etc. It's a new product and the first batch shipped last Friday. (our serial # is 22) http://www.filletmaster.com/
Have the ITW and as the others have stated, it does make a difference. One important observation. If you use it on metal stock, it will wear the disc quite a bit in the area where contact is made with the material. Done with any frequency, it will create an uneven wear pattern on the sand paper which will increase the need to replace the disc.

I noticed your location and was hoping to be the first to officially welcome you to the Grumble!!

I was curious as to how difficult it is to get equipment and supplies in the North Pacific?? I can't imagine that you have a local United Mfg. Suppliers or a Larson Juhl at your disposal!

I don't want to frankenthread this question too far but it is rare that we get to ask questions from a framer in such a remote location and I hope that, if you become a regular visitor to the forum, you will take time to give us some information on your local framing and problems that you have getting your materials. I would think that it requires some advanced dedication to frame in your area if you have to import everything you need in the shop.

Welcome aboard, Steve!!


P.S. I love your phone number!! I haven't seen a number that short since early childhood here in the States!!
I haven't seen a number that short since early childhood here in the States!!
That's when FramerGuy had to turn the crank on the phone and yell, "Mabel! Lemme talk to the doc!"

Good practice for turning the wheel on the ITW/AMP. (Gotta stay on topic. Gotta stay on topic. Gotta stay . . .)
Thanks for the welcome.

Framing on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific is certainly a challenge. The primary difficulty is getting supplies. Basically everything has to come via our monthly supply barge and with loading and transshipment from Oakland via Hawaii the total lead time ends up being 60-90 days. That basically forces me to keep a substantial inventory (about 2000 sheets of mat board in 40 colors and about 5000 feet of length moulding in 35 profiles).

It's also a real challenge finding distributors to work with me as I'm not a store front business and most don't want to deal with me via email (phone is difficult from here). I also need to minimize shipping costs to Oakland since I still have to pay ocean freight to get it here. The good news is that I have one distributor (Hankins Koppell) in SanFrancisco who has been terrific and hence has all of my business thus far (probably $30K this year in materials). United will also mail things to me (I don't have UPS/FedEx/etc) but I can't get a catalog as they won't send it via the mail!

I see customers and do matting and fitting in my home, do cutting and joining at a boat shack about a 1.5 miles (via bike) from home and store some material in a second boat shack. My costs are thus actually very low despite paying about 10% in freight. I have no overhead as I have not rent, utilities, transportation, etc (all government furnished). I buy everything in bulk and box quantity and thus despite my location my prices are low.

My market is small but captive as I'm the only serious framer within 2400 miles. The population is only about 2500 people but we do 20 frames per week as disposable income is very high. I spend 40-50 hours per week (this is my second job) including doing a lot of portrait photography shoots and my wife does about another 20 hours/week.

95% of what I frame are photographs of which the large majority are tropical island scenes and portraits (most of which I shoot). The remaining 5% can be very strange items as residents here regularly vacation throughout the world and bring back some unusual things.

As Jerry Ervin is so fond of saying, "I love this place!"

Thanks for sharing, Steve. It's great fun to hear about framing in other parts of the world.

So, am I to understand you don't get free weekly deliveries on the Larson-Juhl truck? How is that possible? Do you have to pay for corner samples?
United's catalog is totally online sign up and you can order things that way.
Ok RON that does it. I will be contacting an Admin about your constant antagonizing. I will ask that all your post be removed and all future participation rights removed. I’m am sick of your high and mighty “hey look at me I’m a big bad established store front framer who gets free samples” attitude. Could you please give me your email address so I can file a formal complaint about you to um… you?

On a much more serious note: I did also enjoy hearing you’re trials in the framing world. It really makes some of my problems seem small. While I have plans to eventually stock every matboard I show as well as much more moulding, you stock way more than I and that’s a second job for you. It makes me look quite sad really. But I would bet that if we took a poll you stock more than 70% of framers.

Thanks for sharing
Believe me, I fantisize about what it must be like to be able to get regular deliveries or even UPS something in within a few day. On the other hand, when you have a captive audience it's amazing how well you can do with 35 mouldings and 40 mat boards. I've never had anybody walk away due to poor selection although I have occasionally special ordered something when the customer can afford to wait 60+ days for a special project. I'd stock more if I had more storage space but it's tight as it is.

With respect to the United catalog, I do successfully order online on a regular basis but what I miss are the pictures. There are relatively few items with a legible picture online and few detailed descriptions. I've had a few surprises as the items I ordered based on their title only weren't exactly what I expected.

I get along just fine though. Business is great and the community is incredibly grateful that I'm providing this service as they have no real alternative. It's almost like public service which is one reason I don't charge all the market might bear. I'll probably do at least $75K is sales this year which isn't bad for a second job with no real expenses except materials. The way I look at the labor is the alternative would be sitting on the couch surfin the net so all is gravy. Don't feel sorry for me. I live in paradise and love every minute that I get to spend on framing and photography.

Need any help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll send you my older catalog by mail if you'd like, Just let me know.