Finish Sander, 1/4 Sht or Random Orbit?

Since they are both priced near the same range, would I be better off getting a 1/4 Sheet finish sander or a Random Orbit sander? Also, are the Porter Cable finish sanders recommended, or is something else preferred? Thanks!
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I have both in the Porter Cable line. They each have their place. RO will be more aggressive, 1/4 sheet works great as a follow up.

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Its funny you should ask. I bought the both PC333 and PC340 just yesterday to save a little on changing paper. I figured that the RO works better, but the consumables on the 1/4 sheet is less; so I plan on using the 333 on fine and the 340 on coarse. (though you could make a good argument for doing it the other way) Since I haven't received them yet, I can't actually recommend this place, but their prices were great on reconditioned sanders. http://www.toolking.com/index.asp I also just bought a router, but not from them; their router prices were high. Go figure.

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I find the ROS much better than my 1/4 sheet ever was.
I have both a Porter Cable 333 and a DeWalt . For the amount of time that I've had them, I'd rate then as equal in performance. They take different paper though; the PC is five hole and the DW is 8 hole. I keep different grits on them . Saves a lot of time changing back and forth. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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You are talking about apples and oranges here. They both have their plus and minus points. I have both. I recommend a right angle ROS for fast and rough sanding and the PC SpeedBloc for finish sanding. Most any finish sander will get into corners while a ROS will not.

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I've got the Rockwell equivalent in 1/4 sheet, and it's very useful.
Now, has anyone tries the newest gimmick - floppy-edged sandpaper for you ROS? Supposed to cuddle up to an edge just fine, if you believe the advertising. Won't do a corner, though.
Oh yes, the torque on a ROS makes it a pain to work in any but controlled positions. To really get inside and up and around things, go the speed block. Easier on the wrist.

and
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plus the finish sander is better on edges and round surfaces and such.
--
Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
Custom made wooden planes at reasonable prices
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"RogerN" writes:

The following is strictly a personal opinion.
1/4 sheet sanders are a total PITA.
ROS are the only way to go; however, they won't do corners.
Not to worry, that's why the detail sander was created.
Fein makes the only detail sander worth having, they know it, and charge accordingly.
It's a gotcha you learn to live with.
As far as a ROS is concerned, the bigger the better.
Sanding at best, is a boring PITA job. Anyway to reduce the time spent doing it is to your advantage.
At a minimum, get a 6" machine which provides 144% more sanding area than a 5" machine (6*6/5*5 = 144%).
Have no direct experience with the PC units; however, have beat the living crap out of a 6", variable speed, Bosch.
Like Timex, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
BTW, nothing against PC, have lots of their tools, but the Bosch is hard to beat.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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On Wed, 19 Nov 2003 03:34:43 GMT, "Lew Hodgett"
I use mine to clean my tool tables, with a Scotchbrite pad and a little WD-40 or kerosene underneath.
It works great!
Barry
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I like the pc sticky back paper sanders. the paer comes in rolls and you just sick it on and cut to length and push the paper punch plate on the bottom for dust collection. It's a lot faster than messing around with the clamps on a 1/4 sheet sander. Paper changes take about 10 seconds with peeling off the old paper and cutting and sticking and punching the new paper. And it's square so it does corners. After using it once I swore I'd never buy another 1/4 sheet again. What a PITA.
Dan
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dan wrote:

I have the PC 1/4 sheet.
After I got use to working the clips it wasn't that bad.
I had considered getting a 'stick-um' sander but one look at the price of the paper, and being the cheap bastard I am, I went with the 1/4 sheet.
Plus I feel I have a far greater selection of papers, and I don't have to worry about adhesive backed papers being 'out of stock'. And if you use good paper you don't have to change it as often.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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Something to consider. About 16-17 years ago I too was the cheap guy and wondered about all the fan fare that was associated with PSA "pressure sensitive adhesive" sand paper. For years I had done just fine with the clip on sand paper, or so I thought. I worked in the automotive industry for many years and trades magazines were talking about the PSA papers for sanders being used in body shops. I learned that the real value with the PSA papers was in that they lasted longer and did more work in less time. The reason being, regardless of how tight you clip the non stick paper on, it eventually works loose and or slips on the back up pad. When this happens, the paper imbeds more to the work and the sander vibrates behind the paper vs. moving the paper. Once the paper starts to not move just as much as the back up pad, your arm starts doing more of the work. With the PSA papers that stick to the back up pad the paper always vibrates just as much and the sander with never any slippage at all. Basically the paper works harder and lasts longer because the back of the paper no longer wears out before the business side of the paper. Still not convinced, I decided to test the concept. I worked for a 3M distributor and had access to all the PSA and non stick paper that I wanted at no cost to me. I could make a full sheet of traditional paper last for a couple of hours. I could make 6 applications of PSA paper last about 1.5 hours. While the PSA paper did not last as long time wise, it did do two to three times as much work in that hour and a half. Since leaving the automotive business 8 years ago, I continue to purchase only PSA paper. My time is much more valuable than a sheet of sand paper.
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With the PSA papers that stick to the back

I wish I could find nice strong PSA paper. I have to use cloth backed to keep it from ripping but the cloth backed does not cut as fast. I have found so far as long as a sheet lasts for a plane that's enough.
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IF you can only get one get the ROS. the 1/4 sheet is nice for working close to corners but you can do that by hand if you have to. I use a belt sander maybe 3 times a year, can't remember when I used the 1/4 sheet sander, but use the ROS very frequently.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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Reading through the thread (I always do but some reader named Watson told me I can't "cut to the chase" anymore until I read a whole bunch of books about rabbits...still scratching my head on that one and best I can do is figure out that he has a thing about rabbits), I have to say that the 1/4 paper has its place. Folding a few sheets in half and half again then cutting with a sharp utility knife, then aligning into the edge clamps has never bothered me nor taken more than a few seconds per sheet and all in the price is certainly better than the RO on a per sheet basis. I agree that the slippage thing becomes a problem with time (beat the hell out of a Milw to the point where the teeth didn't want to play anymore) but I always finish up the RO with the 1/4 sheet PC that I have beat the hell out of also but seems to hang in there.

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