Friday, September 10, 2010

Dust in the Wind

Last Saturday my friend Frieda* called and said, "I've got us a sander!"

Wow!  That was fast.  The afternoon before, we'd been on the phone and she hadn't yet had the chance to take the Craftsman half-sheet sander I'd busted to Sears to see if it could be fixed.  And doubted she could until this morning. Could they possibly have put it right in that short a time?

Not at all.  The minimum fee for them even to look at the thing was $69, with no guarantee repair the cost wouldn't be higher.  So, Frieda announced, she'd bought a factory reconditioned model for less than that and she was bringing it right over for me to use!

And she did, and it's lovely.  It even has a dust collection bag on it.

What it doesn't have is a template to punch holes in the sandpaper so the dust will swoop up through those cunning little holes in the pad of the sander and into the dust collection bag.  Nor does it have a hose adapter so I can connect it straight to my shop vac.

And the dust in my third floor study was horrible already.  The dropcloths over the file cabinets, tables, and bookcases were skimmed over with an orangish film.  In some places, an opaque orangish film.  Dust was on the books and on the papers in the file trays.  Orangey pine dust coated the rug.  It had to be controlled.  So I thanked Frieda and told her that before I use this new sander I'd see if I could obtain the right dust collection accessories for it.  Then when I give it back to her and her husband, the accessories will go with it, my contribution.

I spent a lot of time online Saturday, trying to find those accessories.  Finding nothing, I called the local Sears.  They couldn't help me there, but got me to the correct website.  After a certain amount of Internet rabbit chasing, I located a pdf shop manual for the sander, that linked to an exploded diagram, that linked to a list of parts you could order from.  Hmm.  Here's the vacuum attachment, where's a replacement punch template?

Got on with Sears Craftsman Live Chat.  Agent One passed me to Agent Two.  She didn't know, but maybe Agent No. Three would.  Oops, No. Three isn't connecting!  But here's the number of the parts people, call them.  They were already closed for the day.  All right, I could try on Tuesday.

Actually, I tried on Wednesday.  I called the number.  No, they don't handle that sort of thing, try this other number.  Called Number No. 2.  No, they only handle hand tools.  But here's another number.  Called Number No. 3.  Agent looks, and says, No, you can't get a replacement paper punch template for the Craftsman sanders.  It only comes with new ones, sorry.  But maybe I could call my local Sears store and ask them.  No, I said emphatically.  That's where I started on Saturday.

So it looks like I won't be able to rig this reconditioned sander for dust collection, and, as I've said, the dust so far has been terrible.  It's been bad enough upstairs on the third floor: it'll be intolerable as I work my way down.  I feel embarrassed thinking that Frieda spent her money for this thing, but I don't think I'll be able to use it.   I need something cleaner.

And something should be coming, in a few days.  Yeah, I dented my budget further and ordered the Bosch sander I was looking at on  With shop vac attachments.  To make things more audacious, I did it on the computer at the public library this past Wednesday night.  (My Internet connection was down this past week and the wireless router still isn't working correctly).  Yes, I remembered to look for the security code in the URL.  And I made sure to log out! 

Anyway, maybe it'll come by Monday or Tuesday and I can get back to work.  In the meantime, this evening I did an interim cleaning of the third floor.  I'm sure pine dust shaken off the dropcloths is very good for the grass.  And that and my fingers are the ideal tool for pushing a sticky combination of sanding dust and pet hair out of the fins of the shop vac filter . . .

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