A normal sander these days is a random orbital sander. The main problem with
these is getting into corners. As many woodworkers have just one type of
sander (ROS) they hand sand in corners. As a second sander I would recommend
the PC Speedbloc. It looks like what I think you think a normal sander is. Go
with the sticky (PSA) paper. So just get one of each and you will be set. 8>).
Ken Adams wrote:
A ROS gives a very good finish and is more powerful than a normal
vibrating sander and much more controllable than a belt sander. For
corners and tight places I'd reccommend a "detail" sander - cheap-ish
and very precise. Something ilke a B&D Mouse, perhaps.
"Cut to shape . . . pound to fit."
Well, many ROS give a good finish. The more agressive ones will not. I
have a right angle PC ROS that is 15 years old. They are available today.
They are VERY agressive and do not leave a finish that I would want to put a
As my nickname suggests, I do a LOT of sanding...and I mean a LOT.
And because I learn so much in this NG about my first love, woodworking,
I am more that happy to share what I have learned about sanding since
the days when solid surface countertops only came in 4 colours. (now 400)
a 4-ft x 6-ft kitchen island top.
At the point of purchase, the customer signs a waiver.."This is black,
ma'm...it will show everything. Do NOT call me if the electrician drags
his tool-belt all over it."
But, as it is over 30" wide, I need to make a seam during fabrication.
And I get to sand it till the seam disappears.
Then I get to make it shiny..semi gloss. And optically flat.
Only the guys at Mt. Palomar Observatory have a more daunting task when
they polish their mirrors... ok..I embellish..
Having said all that, I agree with JGS.
ROS and a Speedblock for the corners.
There are ROS and there are ROS.
The most important things to remember,
1) Buy the best you can afford. One can drop a $1000 on a sander/sucker
combo. Fein comes to mind. My current favourite is Festool's Rotex 150
with a CT-22 sucker. Not only does the Rotex suck dirt off the work, it
also blows air in the middle of the pad. See animation under
Products>animation>RO 150E http://www.festool-usa.com /
The biggest punch for the buck for the non professional, IMHO and a
combo I use all the time, is the Ridgid 6" ROS (Really a Metabo) hooked
up to a good sucker with a 1 micron bag. I use a 4.5 HP (Yea right)
Shopvac with a 10 gallon 1 micron bag (Sold separately, batteries not
included, see you lawyers for details.)
2) make sure it has very good dust removal. See above
3) choose the right paper for the job. I now use, almost exclusively,
Mirka Abrinet. Sure it costs money, but lasts, and lasts and no holes to
align up on any 6" sander. It's a screen. I also make up a lot of my own
pads from Scotch-Brite style hand pads and I glue them on an old sanding
4) clean..CLEAN.. in between sanding steps. The grit from the previous
paper WILL keep scratching. IOW.. when you go from 180 to 220, the work
is full of 180 size particles...blow it off, wipe it... hell, LICK it.!
I also use a LOT of sanding sponges..fine on one side, medium on the
other. Handy little things, those... CAREFUL when you sand along the
edge of an oak board along the grain. Large splinters can travel up
through the sponge and accordion into your right hand's index finger's
second joint, requiring surgery and antibiotic to make a grown man puke.
Or so I'm told.
Hope this helps.
A pad sander just rotates in little circles, while an orbital sander
rotates in little circles, but also the entire pad spins along it's
The ROS takes more material off quicker. I rarely use my pad sander
A ROS also uses more expensive sanding paper... Round and often with
velcro or glue.
I hardly ever use mine anymore because it sands too fast. And I use a
lot of MDF wich clogs sandpaper really fast. And my square sander (Bosch
1297DK) has a nifty mechanism to put ordinairy rectangular sandpaper on
it without folds. Really nice.
my ROS dos most of the sanding and then I use my 1/4 sheet for finish
sanding with 400 grit, I have a mouse too but I don't use it that much, a
little un impressed, and the pads are pricy
I don't quite know what you mean by a
square sander, but the main drawback
to any type of orbital sander, when
staining, is that the stain tends to
accentuate the orbit marks. I use a
cheap Sears "half sheet" sander that
has a back and forth setting and go
with the grain, but it's only effective
when there isn't much material to
remove. I've seen some really cool
air sanders that are back and forth
motion and remove material more
efficiently, but don't know of any good
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