How to Choose the Right Sander

Wood sanding can be a tedious and time-consuming job for DIY-ers and professionals alike. But if you want to achieve a fine finish on your woodworking projects, you need to put in the extra time and effort into proper wood sanding. Fortunately, there are excellent power tools available to make your sanding jobs quick, easy and fun. To help you overcome any sanding struggles, here is helpful information on the best electric sanders for wood and when to use them.

WHEN TO USE A WOOD SANDER

Woodworkers know there is a time and place for sanding by hand. You will usually hand-sand for small and intricate jobs where powered wood sanders can damage or obscure sharp edges and fine details. However, for large sanding jobs, where work progresses from rough to fine-finished stages, there is no replacement for electric sanders. They are the power tools of choice when it comes to efficiency. Here are some guidelines from the sanding pros here at DEKO:

WOOD SANDER FEATURES

Each electric sander type has features that make your work easier. They also make your sanding jobs safer and more enjoyable. These engineered tools have a lot of thought behind them, and they are the result of years in experience from woodworkers and product designers. Here are some of the features to look for when buying an electric or cordless sander.

  • Hand grips: Holding on to your sander in a safe and controllable manner is vital. Powerful sanders have heavy vibration, while small sanders need intricate control to avoid damaging fine details. The most essential component of sander grips is the composition. Soft grips make it much easier to hold and control your sander.
  • Dust Collection: Creating dust when sanding is unavoidable. There is, however, a way to get around breathing and sweeping dust. Many electric sanders have built-in dust catching bags. Some are compatible with shop vacs or external dust collection systems.
  • Speed: Many electric sanders have variable speed controls. They allow you to run at slow speeds for cautious preliminary work or at flat-out rates for high polishing. Some sanders have controls like throttles where you can adjust speeds as you sand. Others have selection switches that range from one-to-nine rates.
  • Trigger Locks: This handy feature lets you lock your sander in motion and allows you to free up your hands. You can also lock your trigger on a run setting and clamp it to remain stationary while you feed your work to the sanding belt, disc or pad.

TYPES OF SANDERS

Random Orbital Sanders

If you ask most experienced woodworkers what electric sander they would choose if they could only pick one, they would probably say a random orbital sander. That is because random orbital sanders are so versatile. Random orbital sanders are close cousins to regular orbital finishing sanders. There are two distinct differences, however. While regular sheet-stock sanders sand in a predictable orbiting pattern, random orbital sanders oscillate in a non-predictable or random motion. The beauty of a random orbital sander is that it leaves virtually no scratch marks, which are common signatures regular orbital finishing sanders leave behind. The other separation between random orbital sanders and their regular relative is the abrasive paper shape. Random orbital sanders require round abrasive sandpaper, where standard orbital finishing sanders take quarter pieces from standard 9” x 11” sandpaper stock. Most random orbital sandpaper discs are 5 in diameter, but there are some 6" diameter discs on the market as well. You would make the best use of a random orbital sander in large-area pieces. This might be flat panels on cabinets or stocky legs on furniture.

Disc Sanders

Disc sanders cover a wide range of uses. There are several different disc sander models and configurations, but all have a common denominator: the disc-shaped abrasive surface that gives the sander its distinctive look. While random orbital sanders are all disc sanders, not all disc sanders have random orbital motion capability. Some disc sanders have non-orbital sanding faces that spin in a fixed motion. These sanders are best for rougher work where a lot of material needs removal before moving on to a finer surface. Stripping paint from old furniture is a good example of what regular disc sanders do well. Disc sanders can get into places some sanders can’t. One model type called an angle grinder or right-angle disc sander lets you sand areas otherwise impossible for larger and bulky power tools.

Finishing Sanders

For fine finishing work on whatever wood projects you build, you will need a proper finishing sander. There are some tasks, disc or random orbital sanders cannot achieve. When it is time to put on a high-polished look, you will have to make sure your sanding is as smooth as possible. You will get that with a quality finishing sander. As with the other sanders, today you have a reliable choice between the corded electric tools and cordless finishing sanders. True finishing sanders have a square or rectangular sanding pad. They are designed to take part sheets of sandpaper in either 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 sheet configurations that are easy to replace by loosening side spring clips. You can quickly change grits or sandpaper compositions with the snap of your fingers. You can also select between in-line action and orbital motion. 

Make sure to browse our online catalog and explore the wood sanders we have in inventory for you. Shop our Category for all your sanding and other woodworking needs. 

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