Air Tools for woodworking

I have a 6.5 HP compressor and looking at purchasing some air tools, i.e. ROS. I understand the lack of moving parts for the air ROS has a longer shelf life. Are there other advantages/ disadvantages of air vs. power tools? Do any of you use air ROS for woodworking? Any recommended air tool manufacturers for woodworkers? Primarily wood but may use it on occasion for auto.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Air tools are also safer for use around flammable materials. When I worked on planes most of the power tools like drills & sanders were air-powered. If you get air-powered tools you won't have to worry about igniting the JP4 you have in your shop.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Advantages/disadvantage? Is your compressor 6.5 hp 220 volt or 110 volt? If 110 volt it is more likely 2 hp and probably not big enough to keep up with a ROS air sanders demands. It may run for maybe a minute. You need to look at the cfm out put on your compressor and on the tool you want to buy to insure compatibility. The advantage to electric power tools is that they work just about anywhere that has 110 volt power.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And I would rather drag around a simple cord than a big fat hose.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
keyridge wrote:

I have one of those "6.5 Horsepower" compressors too. I bought a random orbit air sander from the Borg and found that the sander seemed to bog down easily and didn't seem as powerful as my Porter Cable 5" electric. A quality air sander may have done better. Also, the compressor couldn't keep up with the air use of the sander. I've been using my electric ROS and never looked back. It seems to me that the electric version is pretty hard to improve on.
DonkeyHody "You just don't know a man until you've divided an inheritance with him." - Mark Twain
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT, and the sander will spit out oily water. Why bother. Wilson

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The latter problem, at least, is alleviated by appropriate filters on the air lines.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Appreciate all the input. Compressor's a 220. Other than a nailer and other compressor usage, will keep the sander electric based on the comments. Thanks!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use both air and electric tools, because I have both. I use my DA for a ROS, since I already have it handy for doing body work. I also have enough compressor to run a DA for extended periods. They are very demanding of compressor delivery, so if you're even thinking of air tools, look at the SCFM requirements of the tools and then go home and see what your compressor delivers.
If you don't have another use for air tools, I wouldn't suggest going that route. You're tied to an air compressor instead of an outlet, and that makes the tool much less portable for you. There's no real compelling advantage to the air tool, so why bother?
If you're going to do occasional body work, depending on the scale of the work you'll be doing, you can likely get by with an electric ROS. The big draw back here is that if you're sanding down fillers and the likes, you have to be mindful of the fine dust that gets inside the tool case. Keep it blown out well. Air tools don't suffer this problem. But, if you're going to use it on a car once every couple or few years, there's hardly a point in owning the air tools.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ok, before jumping into a air powered ROS check the SCFM of your comperssor. You'll need at least 18 SCFM @ 90PSI with most ROS. If your compessor can handle that I'd say go for it!
Dan

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If by 6.5 HP you mean a compressor that has a true 6.5 HP induction motor, supplied by (roughly) 240V on a 30 Amp (#8 or larger wire) circuit breaker, or a 3 phase motor, then go for it. OTOH, if this is one of those 6.5HP compressors that plugs into a regular 120V outlet, you'd better stick to an electric ROS.
--
Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontent makes rich men poor.
--Benjamin Franklin
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@nfld.com says...

The most useful air tool for woodworking is the dustgun, in my opinion. Not to be underestimated in its usefulness. Cleaning the other tools, the sawtables, gears in the planer, bandsaw guides, workpiece, bisquit slots ... First thing I do when I start the day in the woodworkshop is to pump up the air tank and sweep the floor (again) while that is going on.
Other than that? The compressor runs the spraygun. And that's about it. As Robatoy said, I'd also rather drag a cord around than a hose (and use 2 cordless drills/drivers).
-P.
--
=========================================
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I saw no mention of my biggest concern - the godawful noise most rotary tools make. I worked in a machine shop where air connections were more plentiful than electric outlets, so we used air tools for maintenance and repair work, dragging the "big fat hose" around the machinery. Even in a noisy environment such as a machine shop, we, and all the operators, screamed bloody murder whenever we used a drill, die grinder or sander out on the floor. You guys know what tire and muffler shops sound like, don't you?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

An air ROS (often called a DA as well) is an excellent tool. I like them a lot better than my electric.
A die-grinder can have some uses as well, if you're doing any heavy contouring or power sanding on a lathe.
The advantage is that you can often get a better tool for less money by going pneumatic, but the disadvantages are that they can be very loud (when you consider the compressor kicking on and off,) they're less portable (you need to take the compressor with, too) and if you're in a really humid environment and don't have a dryer on the compressor, they can *spit* a little- and that moisture usually has some air tool oil in it.
Can't recommend a manufacturer offhand, but the air sanders are well worth the money, at least in every case I've seen.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I likes the way you talk...

Oh baby - now that's getting manly! A die-grinder on a hunk of wood. That's taking the Dremmel idea to the max. So tell me - how do you feel about the use of cutting torches for those stubborn cuts? (ahhhhhh.... cutting torches - my favorite tool).

For what it's worth - like everything else, the knock-off market has done a good job in this area. It was not so long ago that DA's from the knock-off's didn't stack up to some of the name brands, but that's yesterday's news. I bought a DA from Keystone Automotive and I don't even know what the "brand name" they sell their knock-offs under, but I paid $40 for it and I've never looked back. I would guess the same could be said of the HF product these days as well.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Sadly, I don't think it would cut very well- but I have seen plywood and hardboard laser cut a time or two. But does using a plumber's torch for *rustic* edges count?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You used the "P" word. I was fine with this thread until you had to do that.
However - to answer your question... I suppose one of those torches could be considered a worthy tool for the application described, but it somehow seems to lack the manly stuff that wheeling a cart over to a project has. I mean, think about it - big stuff, on a cart, gauges, valves, hoses, big hunka brass, and knobs. Every guy knows that knobs are a good thing to have in the shop...
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
How about...
Air Tools - light weight, compact (good for tight spots), cool (i.e. cold), can be noisy, hoses/connectors can be a pain, can blow dust back at you from work surface (sometimes handy feature), ok if your shop is plumbed for air, compressor noise, longer charge times on big tanks, iffy for torque, doesn't break your wrist if drill bit gets jammed (more of a steel drilling problem), high speeds
Electric corded tools - heavier, hotter, not so compact, expensive, higher torque, convenient, cords are a pain, quick, no dust, high speeds
Cordless tools - nice, limited batteries, dead batteries suck, lower torque, can be heavy, no cords!, expensive, very convenient, generally lower speeds, getting much much better
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I bought a 6" DynaBrade ROS online a few weeks ago for a project (prepping a class A motor home for painting) and have been using it in my shop for woodworking projects. IMHO it is the greatest thing since sliced bread! This particular model is ultra light at 1.5 pounds, making it much less tiring to use than the 5" Porter Cable electrics I have used in the past. Discs for it are approximately $25 for a roll of 100 (varies a few dollars depending on grit), available at most auto paint stores. BUT, you do need a good (preferably two stage) compressor to use it continuously. After using it for a couple of weeks it makes me wish I had bought one years ago. Its a GREAT tool, IF your compressor can handle it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 22 Dec 2006 04:45:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@fones.com wrote:

Yep- from what I've seen, they're standard equipment at a lot of professional cabinet shops. If you use the right paper, they make quick work of sanding chores in ways that put the electrics to shame. All other objections noted and agreed with- but if you've got the compressor for it, those air tools really do quick and clean work.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.