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From the maker of the Robo-Sander (which we covered a while back) comes this drill-press-driven precision thickness sander targeted toward instrument makers.  Not surprisingly, it’s called “The Luthier’s Friend.”

It consists of a 10″ x 12″ base with a micro-adjustable fence plus a “specially-made” 2″ x 3″ Robo-Sander sanding drum attachment.  According to the manufacturer, “you can thickness and pattern-sand wood up to 2-3/4″ tall.”

Street pricing is $160.  There’s a lot more to understanding how this tool works, but not being luthiers, it’s a bit lost on us.  We’re hoping maybe you can help by explaining it in comments.

The Luthier’s Friend [Corporate Site]


5 Responses to The Luthier’s Friend

  1. Joel Wires says:

    Being a woodworker, this looks really sweet. However, being a cheapskate, this looks more like a fairly simple DIY jig that I would make using this (http://toolmonger.com/2007/06/27/robo-sand-shapes-with-your-drill-press/) and some melamine. I guess the complexities of the tool is lost on me too.

  2. nrChris says:

    Funny that this was up today, if you ever look at the Rockler blog, they are talking about use of the drill press as a sander or mortiser:


    (I have had very bad luck with my drill press chuck falling off of the taper when it is subjected to the horizontal pressure from sanding.)

  3. alanf says:

    This jig has a recess in the base that supports the end of the drum, which eliminates the chuck fallout problem, and helps keep the drum parallel to the fence. That, plus the fence micro adjustment, make it a nice tool for *precise* thickness sanding on small pieces… something luthiers do a lot of. Thickness sanding of internal braces, binding, peghead veneers, etc., I guess?

    With the exception of the bottom of the drum, which is different than a typical drum sander attachment, and the place where it mates with the table, I agree… you could build one from scratch for a lot less

  4. Evan N. says:

    I remember from my machine shop training: “Drill chucks can only sustain axial forces, not lateral ones. This means no end mills in the drill press, and use the proper collet in the mill (not the drill chuck) for holding end mills.” I guess you could use a sanding drum in a vertical mill pretty easily then, but I’m not sure how well sawdust and machine oil would mix though (badly I’d imagine).

  5. Ken Picou says:

    Hi Guys: The lower support bearing is the reason the Luthier’s Friend™ works well on a drill press . It stabilizes the drum and greatly reduces runout , deflection, and wear and tear on the drill press bearings . This and the micro-adjustable fence allow for great precision. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or comments ….Ken Picou (inventor)

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