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Which Handheld Sander?


jay5
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So, in my never ending quest to equip my "shop" I have come to the issue of sanders. I should be ready to attack my 2nd tele body soon and I have been looking into electric sanders. I imagine that both random orbit sanders and 1/4 sheet palm sanders both have their pros and cons but I only have the budget for one or the other at this point. So, if you were going to buy one or the other, which would you spring for first? Any model recomendations?

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I have the ryobie 5 inch orbital sander. it works nice. They have discs from 60grit to 320. So you can get a good clean surface.

A 1/4 sander is usually called a finish sander and is not as agressive as the orbital, but does do a good job.

for overall use I would go with the orbital type of sander.

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I got a Makita palm sander about two years ago as a gift and thought it was kinda small and useless, although it came in a GREAT case. It is now my favorite power-sanding device. Gotta change paper a lot and it's slow but that is a perfect match to me. I go slow and go through a lot of paper. :D

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Hey jay5, I have both ryobi r.o. (or d.a.) and makita palm sanders. they do different things better than each other and both have proven almost bulletproof. for any flat (reasonably) sanding the ro is great, it doesn't leave telltale pigtail marks like the palm sander which sometimes don't show up until you stain! R.o. is not so handy for curves it tends to grab and take off and will also leave little cuts on concave surfaces. You could probably get both for less than $100 if you shop around and they're both very useful. dkw

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First, I'm very opinionated about tools. I did this stuff professionally for 20 some years and have little patience with disposable unreliable tools.

I'm really cheap and expect them to last forever and continue to work well the whole time.

Some of the aformentioned brands, in my experience, will die at the most inopportune times and leave you walking. My experience with customer service and parts availability with most of the Japanese based firms has been nothing but negative with non-existant support, endless backorders, and pricing designed to pursuade you to buy new rather than repair.

Random orbital is the way to go. Air driven, as in Dynabrade, are the absolute best ,but expensive. Like $200.00

I have used a whole lot of sanders, and if I was going to only get one on a tight budget I'd get a Porter-Cable random orbital. In my opinon it's the best most durable electric sander on the market for the budget minded.

The absolute best electric IMHO is Festool. They are pricey but they are over engineered. they fit your hand, and they have thought out all of the bugs that plague everyone else. When you pick one up and use it you immediately know that somewhere a woodworker had a lot to do with the design. The dust collection system that they use gets almost every speck of sawdust, which makes the paper last longer, and cuts down on the swirl problem..

The Makita palm sander, if you don't mind being gouged for the retainer clips when they go after about 100 hours of use, is good to clean up any remaining swirls that an RO can leave. I know folks who also use them to rub out finish, but since I do this wet, I don't. I just hand sand the final wood steps and hand rub out my finishes with a sanding block.

If you're going to do a lot of this stuff eventually you should consider an air powered Dynabrade. They're light, produce beautiful results, and last forever. The price has come down. Look at Klingspore's site. They have a line made for them by dynabrade.

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Doc, you and I are on the same page I think. I was looking at the Porter Cable palm sander. I havent looked that much into the R.O sanders yet but I imagine it would probably be a Porter Cable or a Dewalt. Well see though.

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Do yourself a favor and get the PC.

My personal experience with the Dewalts is that the switch goes if you happen to drop the sander. Something I'm not proud of but I have been known to step on the chord and launch the sucker off of my bench.

I have two PC Quicksand radom orbitals that have been put through the mill for the last five years and are still gettin' it.

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