The Woodworker Has To Have Sanding Tools

palm sander photoMost woodworkers, even the beginners, realize that a project or workpiece needs to be sanded, and sanded correctly. It makes for a better finish, and definitely cleans up the piece as well.

There are different sanding methods. Those first century carpenters used fish scales to sand with (no lie – Jesus Christ was a carpenter and this was the tool that he probably used to finish a workpiece.) Those carpenters of old would be so envious of the sanding equipment we have today.

Sanding today is still done at times with a piece of sandpaper as well as a block of wood. You just take the sandpaper, wrap it with the block, and it becomes a sanding block. There are times even cabinet builders, with all their equipment, still have to use a piece of sandpaper on their product.

Most of the time though, you can sand with a power tool of some sort. It definitely is the faster route. (See our post on the drum sander – indeed a top sander for the production line!)

Many projects can be finished with a palm sander. It is just as described, it fits in the palm as you move it back and forth on the workpiece. There are palm sanders such as the Black And Decker “Mouse” that have a point on the sander that can be used to get into the corner of a piece, such as a cabinet door.

palm sander photo

My favorite hand sander has to be a random orbital though. (See very top image.) This is because a traditional palm sander goes back and forth, and because of this, you can actually see the sanding lines when you look up close. A random orbital goes in all different directions as it sands, so you don’t see the sanding marks.

One type of sander that you may also like is a drum sander – but it is different than the drum sander that you feed. It is just a drum roll, usually airs up like you do a tire. It has a valve stem on it so you can just air it up with a compressor. The roll just slides onto the shaft of a direct drive motor. We use it in our outdoor furniture business to sand the edges and corners that can’t be taken care of with the drum sander that you feed.

There also is a belt sander. This is usually a sander that has a larger motor than the smaller sanders and can take off more stock with a single pass. Some are very strong and you have to be careful. I have had one take the top layer of my skin before barely bumping it. (benchtop belt sander in the following image):

belt sander photo

If you are limited on funds and can only have one, then a good random orbital sander is for you. Usually though, a variety of sanders is needed for various applications in the workshop.


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Photo by toolstop

Photo by Walnut Studiolo

Photo by Jake Spurlock

Updated: February 16, 2017 — 11:57 pm
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