The complete radio control model airplane FAQ.
Model Airplane building tool review-- Fourmost Miter Sander!
By Cliff Griffin Other related Links follow the review.
I purchased a Fourmost Miter Sander yesterday. I'm building a Stinger 1.20, and I thought it might come in handy for fine-fitting the individual balsa sticks that make up the tail. I had already built the elevators and the rudder using nothing but my Fourmost Miter Saw, but I figured I'd give their Sander a try on the stabilizers. I'm disappointed!!! I really liked my Fourmost Miter Saw, and was looking forward to the same quality in the Sander. It turns out that this tool was so helpful that I wish I had bought it from the very beginning--the sander was even more helpful than the saw. I'm disappointed that I didn't buy it sooner! For building a built-up tail like this, if I had to choose from a miter saw (I have two, the Fourmost Miter Saw and the Dobson Miter-Rite) or this sander, I WOULD CHOOSE THE SANDER! The sander makes cutting ends that are nice and square very easy.
You can easily rough cut the sticks to length with a free hand saw--any one of the hundreds available will do the job. After that, if you want to plan ahead, you can use an angle finder to set the exact angle on the Miter Sander. I used the clear plastic "Hobbico Builder's Protractor," found at Tower or other stores. I had originally planned on stopping by Lowe's or Home Depot to get a metal angle finder, but when I found the clear one at Dynamic Hobbies, I figured I'd get one to try. Alternatively, you can set the angles by trial and error, but I prefer the angle finders. After you have the angle set, you simply slide the sanding block back and forth while gently pressing the balsa into it.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Fourmost Miter Sander. I am not associated with them in any way--I just found it to be a very helpful tool. It helped to speed up the construction of a stick-built tail considerably. With harder wood, I'd recommend an accurate pre-cut using the Fourmost Miter Saw to speed things up, then final alignment with the sander. Softer contest grade wood sands quick enough that you can chop it off with any saw or razor and then clean the ends up with the miter sander.
When used in conjunction with the Builders Protractor, getting the proper angle was easy. The angles on the sander matched those on the Builder's Protractor exactly. After using this tool, I wish I had bought it when I first started.
I bought my Fourmost Miter Sander at Dynamic Hobbies, for $22. I wanted it quickly, so I was willing to pay the premium. I've since seen them advertised as low as $13-14 at National Hobby Supply. I paid $8 for my Builder's Protractor, but Tower has them for $6. Having them just to build the vertical stabilizer was worth the extra money though--that's how much I like this tool! rcfaq
Other Tool Review LINKS
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Hobbico Builder's Protractor
MicroMark's Miter Tool page
A model boat builders newsgroup/list archive, asking about miter saws
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Revised: April 18, 2006 .