Lathe Disk Sander, Part 1

Posted by Ralph Bagnall for on 11 10 2020

A craftsperson sands a circle of wood using a lathe

A friend once told me that a lathe is just a motor looking for something to do, and here on the 2Sand blog, we have done our bit to help prove his point. We have used the lathe to make custom sanding mandrels, created a fast and easy drum sanding attachment using cloth backed sanding rolls and most recently, we gave a hint how a lathe can be used with soft interface pads to sand concave shapes. Using the lathe as a disc sander is another idea that appeals to us.

Small to medium lathes, often called “midi” lathes, can swing a disc of 12 to 16 inches in diameter, and full sized lathes can easily go way beyond 20 inches. The motors are designed for continuous operation, are usually very quiet and best of all are variable speed, so just like the lathe drum sander we showcased last year, the operator can select the best grit and speed for the task at hand.

A craftsperson uses a lathe to grind the edge on a tool

Large diameter disc sanders offer plenty of room to work, fast stock removal when needed and the ability to finish the faces of taller parts. They have uses in wood, metal, plastics and fiberglass shops. But many do not have the space for a dedicated disc sander, especially if it may only see occasional use. The lathe really only lacks a proper table for supporting stock while sanding, and over the next two blog posts, we will show you how to fix that issue as well.

A craftsperson uses a lathe to sand tall parts

2Sand carries large sanding discs. In fact have a specific category for Large Cloth Sanding Discs . They are sized from 8 to 30 inches in diameter and in grits from 24 to 400. Most are PSA, and we even offer Open Coat discs that help prevent loading, even with soft woods. So between our selection of available discs, and the free plans for using your lathe as a disc sander we will be finishing in the next few blog posts, you will be able to add another method for using your lathe to its fullest.

12 inch self adhesive sanding discs from

Of course, if you already own a large format disc sander, we can supply you with whatever size and grit you need to keep it working in your shop.