Palm Sander vs. Random Orbit Sander

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Hi All, I'm curious as to the differences in finishing abilities of a palm sander and a ROS. I assume the ROS is more aggressive. My palm sander died the other day and I am debating about buying another one or a ROS in its place. In an ideal world, I'd just buy both and not worry about it, but right now it's not an option. The majority of my items are small and some can be very fragile (fretwork pieces). I have a stationary belt/disc sander which along with my hands have been filling the void. Thanks for any advice.
Kevin Daly http://hometown.aol.com/kdaly10475/page1.html
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PC Speedbloc. You'll want one after you get your ROS anyway. http://www.woodworkingshop.com/ Has 'em, and though not necessarily at the lowest price, you'll want to get your rolls of paper at the same time. Leaving it up to you which to choose, PSA, Velcro or regular. Let the grit be aggressive where you need it to be.
Don't you presand fretwork? I'd hate to think of sanding it after I'd put the time in it.

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That would be a yes, but there's always a light touch-up sanding (removing burrs and such) after it's done.
Kevin Daly http://hometown.aol.com/kdaly10475/page1.html
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I find the palm sander to be gentler then the ros and easier to use on then wood. The palm seems to give a Slightly smother surface then the ros with the same grit paper. For edge work the palm has no peer and the ros is not the tool to use. For very small items the palm is better then the ros. That being said I use my ros close to 10 times more then my palm, it cuts faster and easier then the palm on most projects especially when you use a router pad. For very then small fret work (1/8" or thinner) of solid wood the palm sander is better, other wise I go with the ros and maybe a once over with the palm. JMO

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For small work that simply needs to be smoothed you want a finish sander and or a palm sander. A ROS is going to be more aggressive PLUS the defined path is hard to negotiate in coffined spaces and on small objects. Since the circular sanding pad on a ROS goes in a random orbit the edge of its travel while holding the sander in one place can vary as much as 1 inch from one side of the sander to the other. As George has indicated, the PC SpeedBloc would probably be your last sander if you choose that one.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnospam (Kevin Daly) wrote in message

I had never used a ROS until last year when I bought one. I was tired of using the palm sander, it took FOREVER. The ROS is like heaven on earth. I think the finish is MUCH better than the palm, and it's so much faster.
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I have both.
There are some applications where a finish sander is preferable, but 9 times (or more) out of 10 you will reach for the ROS.
I *never* use the finish sander anymore. The ROS rocks. Yes it's generally more agressive, but my latest has variable speed which is surprisingly useful.
I generally do the last pass of sanding by hand with the grain anyway.
Buy an ROS.
-Steve

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On Tue, 26 Oct 2004 13:11:52 -0400, "Stephen M"

finishing work by hand and a palm sander is cheap enough that, with the right hints, makes a great Christmas present from someone near and dear.
TWS http://tomstudwell.com/allprojects.htm
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How do you sand inside corners or up close to a panel that joins at 90 degrees with a ROS?
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That is a problem with ROS's. A simple solution would be to design the project without any inside corners or 90 degree joins.
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as much as possible sand before assembly.
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You don't.
That's why Fein makes a detail sander.
Lew
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writes:

Correct.. ROS is a great tool but by far NOT the only sander you should have.
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I agree Leon, but reread this fromn the O.P.
"My palm sander died the other day and I am debating about buying another one or a ROS in its place. In an ideal world, I'd just buy both and not worry about it, but right now it's not an option"
Paraphrased: If I could only have one, which would it be?
-Steve
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For the work you are describing and especially if you are using plywood, I would go with a PC SpeedBloc finish sander with PSA paper. Second choice, same sander with Hook and Loop paper.
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Sand prior to assembly with an ROS, or touch it up with hand sanding.
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Rather than do that, you could plane or scrape for a superior finish. Sanders are for places you can't.

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On 26 Oct 2004 08:12:25 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Larry Bud) wrote:

hmm... maybe I'm missing something here, but I have always had BOTH...
Rougher paper on the 1/3 sheet ROS, then finer paper in the 1/4 sheet Palm sander, then hand sanding/steel wool..
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Uh huh... For 15 years I have been using 120 grit on my PC ROS and 180 grit on my SpeedBloc finish sander. No other grits so to speak.
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On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 22:16:09 GMT, "Leon"

what's on the finish sanding block, 300 something...
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