Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Stroke Sander

I think the most underappreciated machine is the Stroke Sander. Not a lot of people have used one so it's potential is unrecognized. The stroke sander has a long belt that is cool running and doesn't burn. The table is height adjustable,and it runs on train like wheels that ride on two rails, coasting in and out. The pressure is applied with either a graphite canvas covered hand block, or with a travelling platen that glides on ball bearings along a track.

In June 2009 I was lucky enough to score a Progress stroke sander at a school auction. It's in fantastic condition, I don't think it was hardly used, and I was estatic when I got it for my opening bid of $100.

Progress made an excellent machine, built with off-the-shelf parts that are readily available. Doucet bought the company in 2001, and continues production in Victoriaville, Quebec. My model is still being made.

The stroke sander takes up a lot of room, but it's versatility makes it worth it. I use mine to strip old finishes off tabletops, remove snipe and level large glueups, and finish sand both solids and plywoods. Small parts can be sanded as well, with the use of simple holding jigs consisting of shaped stops screwed to plywood.

There are only two rules for success when using a stroke sander; keep the platen moving and don't hang it more than halfway over the edge. The platen slides back and forth while the table coasts in and out, it's an easy motion to learn. The platen will round over the edge of the stock if it's allowed to, so it must be kept flat on the surface.

The sander at the shop is the same as mine, except it has an eight foot bed as opposed to my six. I've also seen a four foot, it's in use at Fury Guitar, a local manufacturer.


  1. They really are a great bit of kit Darnell, I used one when I worked for other people, wish I had the space for one now.

  2. I guess you do love that stroke sander, especially when you paid just $100 for it!

    I have not considered this machine for my shop, but when I retire and do woodworking full time, I could see me owning one.

  3. They really don't take up any space Mark, because you can store your scrap pile underneath!

    Jeff, you'd love it too, especially if you dislike sanding as much as I do. I've heard their result as being described as what you wish a belt sander would do. I can't recommend them enough. There are many homebuilt versions out there, I just bought a vintage Fine Woodworking magazine with detailed plans.

  4. Wow! That IS cool. I'll have to keep my eyes out for one.

  5. Thank you for helping people get the information they need. Great stuff as usual. Keep up the great work!!! Read More

  6. Thanks for sharing this tool! I have used it once and the first time I saw it, I was also uncertain how to use it (or what it's for!).


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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.