Buying a Sander
When it comes to making sharp or unnecessarily hard surfaces or edges smooth and free of debris, the sander is the best tool for the job. Sanders can be used for smoothing or refining larger wood pieces, basic woodworking, and even auto-body work. In quite a few cases, sanding is a large and messy job, so getting through it as quickly and effectively as possible is a plus. It does require a bit of care to do it right, but finished sanded pieces can look beautiful and have a rich feel. At ToolsDirect.com, our sanders accommodate the various projects you’ve got so you can complete this oftentimes tedious job relatively quickly and effectively.
Since sanding creates a large amount of sawdust, many sanders come with a dust-collection system. This keeps the work area and the work-piece cleaner. On belt sanders, the motor should ideally be sealed-off from the general dust and air flow. On orbital and random-orbit sanders, there should be a sealed switch. Both of these keep the inside of the machine clean and free of function-deterring sawdust. Depending on your needs, the more industrial-strength sanders have two speed settings so you can avoid heat and friction which damages certain materials.
As always, Safety First. It’s a good idea to wear work glasses and masks to keep the sawdust out of your eyes and lungs, even if you have a vacuum to keep the particulate away from you.
A Note on the Coarseness of Sandpaper
Sandpaper comes in different levels of coarseness and those levels correlate to the “grit” (abrasive particles) contained in one square inch of the paper. It’s a bit counterintuitive, but the higher number the paper is, the less abrasive the paper will be. This is because larger particles take up more space on the belt/paper and therefore there are fewer of them. Sandpaper below 100 is suitable for large projects where a lot of surface removal is necessary; sandpaper between 100 and 200 is for refinishing wooden surfaces or for general medium wood-working; and sandpaper above 200 is required for the least amount of wood removal or for putting on the finishing touches before treating wood. Indeed, the best-looking wood-pieces have been sanded in graded levels with gradually finer grit sandpaper.
Back To Top
Different sanders have different purposes, of course. Getting your job done efficiently involves choosing the right sander for the job. The following is a list of the different types of sanders and their purposes.
Belt Sanders: Often called “The King of All Sanders,” this machine uses two, sometimes three, wheels (or “drums”) or to convey the one-piece sanding belt along its path. Because of the usually extreme abrasiveness of the sanding belt, this sander is capable of very quickly removing large amounts of wood. Careful and controlled motions are absolutely necessary when using this tool since it can take a lot off a wood-piece. Finer grit sandpapers can be used on this machine to achieve a smooth finish, but even then, care must be taken so as not to remove too much wood. Sand with the grain of the wood and keep the sander moving at all times to avoid strange sanding patterns or removing more wood than you intend.
Benchtop Sanders: The Oscillating Edge Belt/Spindle Sander combines two tools into one. As a stationary tool, the edge belt sander adds leverage when sanding edges and faces. The easy change into oscillating spindle-mode creates smooth insides of curves and contours. The oscillating mechanism makes it easy to refine those hard to reach places effectively and quickly.
Finishing Sanders: This tool is especially useful for sanding in corners or where there is limited accessibility. Some versions are called “mouse sanders,” and these operate with a triangular head and use a triangular piece of sandpaper. Also, different attachments can be applied to this machine so that even greater accessibility can be achieved. One benefit of the triangular attachment is that when one corner of the sandpaper is used up, it can be rotated on the sander, adding longer life to the pad. This tool takes a few different forms (it can also be either square or rectangular as well), but a fine finish is what this tool accomplishes.
Orbital Sanders: These are handheld sanders that can be divided into two categories. One category is the “Orbital Sander” and the other is the “Random Orbit Sander.” The difference between the two is that the “orbital sander” vibrates in consistent but very small circles, and the “random orbit sander” rotates in larger and elliptical circles, creating a “random orbit.” Orbital sanders are easy to use and don’t put a lot of strain on the hands and wrists. The sanding portion can either be rectangular or circular, but rectangular orbital sanders can more easily access edges and corners. On the random orbit sander, higher-quality finishes can be achieved and swirls won’t be left in the wood since no two orbits ever occur in the same place. The random orbit sander doesn’t access corners or edges easily, so a finishing sander or sanding by hand may be necessary.
Sanders are a useful and important part of any project where smoothness and a refined appearance are necessary. Although sanding is essential to creating the look and feel you need in work-pieces, the sooner you complete it, the sooner you’re on to other projects. Build.com offers excellent brands that get the job done like Bosch, and Milwaukee. Save yourself some time… and money.
Back To Top