Choosing a combination of sanders

I need to choose a reasonable set of sander types to be able to address "most" requirements I will have in making cabinets of wood for the home (and sometimes for some metalwork too but lets leave that for the moment).
I have more or less decided to begin by choosing the Porter cable 97355 as my "aggressive" sander. Having decided this, what other sander types do I need? Specifically,
1. Do I need a belt sander?
2. Should my "gentle" sander be a palm-grip ROS or a 1/4 sheet finishing sander?
3. Do I ALSO need to have a sheet sander? And if yes, should my ROS need to be variable speed?
4. Does it make sense to have a sheet sander plus PC 97355 and skip the palm-grip ROS?
Some opinions would be welcomed!
-Ram.
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Hi Ram, If it were me. I would get the 97366 for rough sanding instead. It does almost 50% more with about the same amount of effort. With the type of WW I do this would alleviate any need for a belt sander. The next size down would likely be a pistol grip sander like the Festool 150/3 or for less money either the Metabo sxe 450 or the Ridgid 2610. And for finishing, I like by old fashion PC Speedbloc with PSA paper. In this category there are several palm sanders with a good following such as PC, DeWalt and Ridgid with some degree of dust control. We use the VS option, many do not. Cheers, JG
ramkumar snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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I use a 3" X 21" Ryobi belt sander, a Ryobi belt/disk sander, and a Dewalt random orbit sander. Neither of the Ryobi tools would stand up to production shop use but, for my hobbyist shop, they serve well. This covers 98 percent of my sanding needs. The other 2 percent of my sanding is done by hand.
I use the belt sander when I need to remove a lot of stock in a hurry. The combination sander is mostly used to remove saw marks on curved edges, like the tops of back slats on Adirondack chairs.
I have never felt the need to have variable speed on the ROS. I would suggest that you get one that uses hook and loop paper rather than pressure sensitive. It makes for a lot less cussing in my shop. I have a 1/4 sheet sander that rarely gets used.
Dick Durbin
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ramkumar snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

JGS's suggestions are , IMHO, very good.The Ridgid 2610 aka Metabo 450 is an excellent sander for the money. But, it's paper is round like all the other ROS. So a Speedbloc for touch-ups is, again, a very good suggestion. If you can spring the bucks, buy a Rotex 150 Festool and be done with it. Excellent dust collection set-up with their vacuum (CT22 and their anti-static hose is a real bonus), but I see Porter Cable has come out with a couple of suckers which have all the specs, but I haven't used them....yet. The PC 97355 has a 6" brother 97366. I'd go that route. The dust collection on those PC's is not the greatest, btw. They are very durable and I have had 2 of them working daily for 13 and 15 years and one for 3 years without much trouble. Brushes and the bearings which hold the pad need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. Regular maintenance. A very hard working tool in a very tough environment (Solid Surface). I know a few fibreglass boatbuilders who swear by the PC's. Once you have used a Festool Rotex, however, the PC's are noisy, clunky, fatiguing converted grinders in comparison.
More than anything... it all comes down to the right choice of papers for the job. The variable speed options are more useful on a beltsander than on a ROS, I don't play with those knobs much. I also never use the PC replacement pads, I buy EA pads. Six rivets instead of 3, better hook 'n loop, softer around the edges, better balance.
Oh...and never 'park' (for a long time) a ROS sander like a PC on it's pad. Most pads have memory and stay warped for some time after they have been sitting. All the weight rests on one edge of the pad, collapsing only a portion of it. Most of the sander's weight is centred on a Ridgid, so the problem isn't as nasty.
As the Ridgid is German made, I can't imagine the price staying as low as it is for much longer.
Rob--->who was a long-winded sunnuvabitch again today, eh? "Common Sense Is Not Common" (Voltaire)
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For cabinets, no. But it's handy when you want to remove alot of material. It's just not a finishing tool, more of a shaping tool. They are really mean nasty and brutal tools, capable of doing serious unwanted damage. Sometimes that's what you want that, but I just don't see it for a basic cabinet

Personally, I'm not a fan. I have a 1/4 sheet sander that I never use. When I get past 220 with an ROS, My next step is either a cabinet scraper or hand sanding exclusively with the grain.

Like a 1/3 sheet sander? no you do not.

Handy but not required.

I would skip the 97355 and go with a palm-grip. I found a Bosch d-handle to be too awkward to use in other than a horizontal appplication. I immagine the 97355 to be worse.

Ram, FWIW you seem a little too focused on power sanding. Well-tuned cutting tools should bring you pretty close to a final surface. And even then sanding wil not get you to "the ultimate" surface. You wil need a hand plane or scraper for that.
-Steve
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What? What?? What???
Why would you go from through sand paper all the way to 220 and then switch to a cabinet scraper? I was under the impression that you can go from "raw" jointed and planed wood directly to a scraper. Is this incorrect? (Hope not, that's what I plan on doing...)
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Stephen M wrote:

No, not incorrect. That can/should usually work.
But it depends. I recently had to "fix" some really bad tearout by resorting to a belt sander. I found it easier to get things back to a decent surface with an ROS and then scraping to reveal cleanly shorn wood fibers. (really I tried but my thumbs started hurting).
FWIW, that was a really messy exercize. I generally consider sanding to be more of occaisionally necessary evil than a way of life. I was concerned that the OP was presuming sanding to be a woodworking mantra.
-Steve
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ranted:

All my sanding and scraping are excusively with the grain. Stephen must have studied with Villa.

I'd rather not put sand against my scraper blade if at all possible. I use a cabinet scraper directly on planed wood, knock off the edges with my low-angle block plane, clean with compressed air and thinner, then go to 220 or finer paper to denib after the first coat of finish dries.
-------------------------------------------------------- Murphy was an Optimist ---------------------------- http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
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So you *never* use an ROS or orbital finish sander?

Is there *that* much grit left from sanding and then brushing off your workpiece?
I takes be about 3 minutes to file, grind, lap burnish a scraper... it's just not that big of a deal.

Me too. Sometimes. It just depends on the amount/type of sruface imperfections for the method I choose.
BTW I find the scraper to be my favorite de-nibbing tool.
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On Tue, 21 Dec 2004 09:26:55 -0500, "Stephen M"

Belt sanders are awesome for trimming a cabinet side to a scribed line to match a wall, on site. Much easier than a jig saw, and no risk of splintering a finished edge.

Unless the ROS will ever be used to cut a finish with 220 or 320 discs, then it's more than handy.
Barry
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This is a bunch of extremely interesting opinions! Looks like I will probably not need the aggression of a belt sander for my kind of work, and I am veering towards a PC 97366 + variable speed ROS combination. Incidentally, I saw and picked up a Bosch Progressor 1587 AVSP jigsaw + free variable speed ROS 1295DVS at Home Depot today, and therefore that seems to have egged me in that same direction!
I noticed that PC does not specify the orbit diameter of the 97366. A bit frustrating when you want to compare with, say the 1/4 inch aggressive mode of the Ridgid R2610.
Another interesting question: I believe the the Bosch and Makita dual mode sanders, unlike the Ridgid, will actually actively *spin* the disk in aggressive mode. (With most palm ROSs the disk is free-wheeling, and the *spin* is not coupled to the motor.) What about the PC 97366? Is it simply a greater orbit diameter like the Ridgid with a free-wheeling disk or is it an orbit plus actively spinning disk (as in a disk sander) where the spin is motor-driven? I cant find any explicit answer to this.
-Ram.
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ramkumar snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

a Griz pad sander. I also have a PC hand held belt sander which I use in the preparation of reclaimed wood. The Ridgid is great for shaping, that is bandsaw just outside the line and sand to the line. I generally have about a 150 paper on the ROS and 220 on the pad. The latter is helpful for getting at those pesky corners. Once finishing starts, it's all hand sanding.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Compared to most ROS sanders the PC right angle ROS sander that you are looking at is pretty aggressive. No where near a belt sander but it will remove material fast if you want. I have the single speed version and have been using it for about 15 years.
That sander and the PC Speed Block finish sander are basically all I use. The Speed Bloc will raise a cloud of dust. It too works very well.
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