We built our edge sander. The sanding belt is driven by a wooden pulley (5” diameter x 8” high) on the right end of the machine in the picture below. At the end of the machine opposite the drive pulley, the belt passes around a changeable “dead” head. We have heads of different shape for different purposes. The dead heads are clad with sheet metal and graphite-covered canvas to provide support and reduce friction. With an 80 grit belt, we shape various sculpted furniture parts. Austin is shown shaping a rocking chair backleg where it will be intersected by the chair arm.
In the photos below, you can see two different dead heads in play — or rather, at work. On the left, the close-up is of the work shown above, that is: shaping the area where the arm joins the backleg. You can see the mortise for that joint. On the right, the larger radius dead-head provides a convenient shape for sculpting, or fairing, the arm where it will flow into the backleg.