Orbital versus Finishing Sander

Question for the knowledgeables in the group. I have a Black and Decker electric sander where the footprint is about 8 inches by 3 1/2 inches. I am considering getting a second sander for more delicate work and was wondering what would be the choice - 1/4 sheet finishing sander or a random orbital sander. What are the pros and cons of both?
Many thanks in advance for your experience.
Ray Austin, TX ==
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Ray S. & Nayda Katzaman wrote:

Pad sander (1/4 sheet)...easy to use, does good job
ROS...harder to control, faster
I'd get the pad sander. And if you someday want a better 1/2 sheet sander than your B&D, get a Porter Cable 505. That and a 1/4 sheet is a winning combo.
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wrote:

Is that 505 a non orbital sander or is it orbital?
ROY!
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It's orbital, with a 1/8" orbit. The 330 is also orbital, but at 5/64". I'm not sure who's making electric in-line sanders.
I almost always touch it by hand before finishing. JP
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Jay Pique wrote:

The Porter-Cable 9444VS is inline. It's a piece of crap, but it's inline. The Festool LS130 is inline--never used it so can't comment. Personally I've got a half-sheet Craftsman Professional from some time in the early '80s that is dual-mode--it can be switched from orbital to linear--it's not the greatest sander in the world but it works when I need it.
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On Wed, 17 Oct 2007 20:53:23 GMT, "Ray S. & Nayda Katzaman"

I found that my orbital sander is more aggressive than my finishing sander. The finishing sander has a square bottom which can be useful in some applications. The finishing sander uses regular sandpaper, but the dust holes have to be punched out. Having both sanders is the best choice.
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Ray S. & Nayda Katzaman wrote:

'pends...on what kind of work you do and what you're expecting. For most finishing sanding, I'd opt for the 5" ROS unless it is very large surfaces.
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Random orbit can be nearly as aggressive as a belt sander. They don't do narrow edges unless you've got some major wrist strength to keep 'em from grabbing and rounding, But they produce a nice surface with 220 paper, so long as you're careful to clean dust out and not press.
My old Rockwell speedbloc - PC now, think its's a 330, gets into all kinds of corners, doesn't grab on edges, and can be used held between the knees with small pieces rubbed against the pad to sand them. Excellent sander.
Since you have a half sheet orbital or possibly dual, I know my half sheet is, I'd do a ROS. Got Bosch myself, kid has the PC and loves it.
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I'll agree with the PC SpedBloc. The designh has been around for as long as I can remember, longer than some of it's competition has even been in business. You cannot go wrong with this sander for finish work.
I also consider replacing the B&D with a good brand ROS. Top of the line is probably the Festool Rotex, from there I would go with PC or Bosch.
With these two sanders, sanding is not a headache anymore.
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I never liked the Porter Cable palm sanders. They have a thick soft felt behind the paper and it rounds over edges by itself when I am flat sanding and cros over the edge. I like a hard bottom (not really a PC statement) like a DeWalt.
In my view a true orbital is very aggressive. I mean the round jobs with the holes in the face for suction. I even have one air tool tha is dangerous. I would never use one for finish sanding and rarely use them at all unless I have some real cutting to do. I put them in the category of a belt sander. A must have but rarely used. I usually have a flat wide belt or drum available so all the big flat sanding is done there. Edges on the edge sander. Palm sander to get things down from 100 to 150 or 220, depending on the material; then finish by hand (no block) to 150 or 220 depending on the situation to break the edges and feel a good finish on all important surfaces.
If I am in a production mode and have a big project I will break edges with 320 or 400 on a palm.

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Actually the PC SpedBloc does not have felt, rather a dense foam rubber pad that is about 1/2" thick. I never have a round over problem on the corners unless I am edge sanding. Over the edge of a wide flat surface has never been a problem for me with this sander.

Agreed, A ROS, not so agressive. That said, the Rotex will sand in both modes.
I mean the round jobs

ROS's use that paper also.
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Many thanks for the input, information and links provided. I have almost made up my mind on a 1/4 sheet sander for the more delicate work. Now I have to tell my daughters where they can get it for me (birthday coming up next month). I really have to look surprised when I get it.
Again, Thanks!
Ray Austin, TX == "Ray S. & Nayda Katzaman" wrote:

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