How to Make a Spindle Sander


Oscillating spindle sanders are terrific for sanding curved cuts, but they tend to be rather expensive. You can easily adapt a drill press for use as a spindle sander. Although it won't provide the oscillating action that evens the wear on the sandpaper, this is a very economical option for wood shops that already have a drill press in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill Press
  • 2-inch-diameter sanding drum attachment
  • 2-by-4-foot section of 3/4-inch plywood
  • Power drill with screw bit
  • Screws, 1 1/2 inch
  • Circular saw
  • Hole saw, 2 1/4 inch diameter
  • Cut two sections of plywood at 18 by 18 inches, two pieces at 4 by 18 inches and two pieces at 4 by 16 1/2 inches.

  • Position the four 4-inch-wide boards on edge against one another to form a perfect square. The 18-inch-long boards should be parallel to each other, with the 16 1/2-inch boards fitting inside the ends of the 18-inch boards. Connect all four with screws.

  • Place one of the large square pieces of plywood on top of the frame and attach with screws. Repeat on the bottom with the other square piece of plywood to form an airtight box.

  • Center the box on the drill press table. Attach the remaining strips of plywood to the bottom of the box along the edges of the drill press table to keep the table from sliding when in use.

  • Insert the 2 1/4-inch hole saw into the drill press and drill a hole through the top of the box.

  • Remove the hole saw and install the sanding drum. Raise the drill press table so that the bottom of the sanding drum is just inside the box.

  • Turn on the drill press on a low speed. Place the board to be sanded flat on the table and slide it over until it makes contact with the sanding drum.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adjust the height of the drill press table every few minutes of sanding to utilize unworn sections of the sanding drum. Also, if you have a shop vac or dust collector, you could easily mount a hose attachment on the side of the box and collect dust from inside the box as you sand.
  • When working with power tools, always wear appropriate safety gear, including safety glasses.

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  • Photo Credit drill press image by Nancy Ottenweller from
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