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Tool Talk: Which Sander Should I Use?
By Hello...I Live Here on Oct 30, 2013
Let’s talk tools. Many of us DIY bloggers use a wide variety of tools. Tonight our tool talk is going to be about sanders. You heard it correctly: sanders. There are many types of sanders on the market, and if you’re new to woodworking, it is important to know which sander should be used for which project. Don’t just buy a sander because it’s what you saw on a blog or in the Sunday sale papers. With this post we will talk about what truly counts when you are looking to add this magnificent tool to your shop collection.
First, you need to understand just what each tool can do for your project. For instance, a detail sander helps reach into tight corners, or helps smooth molding profiles, where a heavy belt sander, if not used properly, can bring your wood working projects to a grinding halt (no pun intended ). Other factors to consider with your sander include variable speed, dust collection, size and weight, choice of abrasives, and ease of changing abrasives. Since I am a smaller woman, I personally, I look for weight/size first, then narrow down the other features. If I can’t hold the sander comfortably it will not matter what I purchase — it will never work for my project.
Currently in our garage, we have a few types of sanders. Each is used for just a little something different. Here is how we attempt to answer the question: which sander should I use?
Our oscillating sanders help providedetail sanding. This sander helps to provide wood projectswith those wonderful profiled edges that make people swoon. Oscillators, in my opinion, are the workhorse of the sander. These babies will fit into corners like no other sander, come with loads of accessories, and never let you down. But it’s not used for everything you need to sand.
The orbital sander isfor finish work like prepare new molding, or clean up between finish coats. This sander helps to remove material by using a sandpaper disc that spins in a circle while moving in an oval loop. The remarkable thing about orbital sanders is they never hit the same path twice. This sander will give you a swirl-free finish both with and across the grain. It works quicker than a vibrating sander, but is not aggressive in removal of material. I think this is the most gentle sander in the shop. The down side, if use the wrong grit for your project, it can leave those little digs in the wood surface.
When the Orbital Sander is not right for the project, we use a belt sander. The belt sander is best for large surface sanding. Because this sander removes a great deal of wood material fast, use care to prevent wood gouging. I admit, this is not my favorite sander due to the speed, it can get away from you quickly and before you know it, bam, high/low grooves and you’re starting all over.
Our newest addition of sanders is the Mouse Sander. This little sander is the jewel of my garage . So much so, I have two so we do not fight over it! We have the Ryobi battery operated and The BLACK & DECKER plug in model. Mouse Detail Sanders have a compact design, weigh only 2 lb., and provides an easy, comfortable sanding experience. As a women with small hands, this sander is ideal. This little tool reaches into corners, and contours curved surfaces. The soft body grip and lock-on switch provide comfort while standing for long periods of time and the dust collection system helps keep the project area free of dust (can you hear the voice of Tim the Tool Man Taylor in this description? argh, argh, argh!)
While choice of sander is important, technique is also important. Here are some guidelines:
1 – Use even hand pressure – don’t bear down too hard
2 – Do not move too fast
3 -Work each surface in a consistent pattern with slight overlaps
4 – Start with course grit (80 -100) and move to fine grit (120-220) for an incredible smooth surface
With the correct sander and these techniques you can smooth uneven edges, flatten rough panels, and provide for an even painting surface.
This tiny choice of sanders only scratches the surface (no pun intended) of the sanders out there, but these are the main tools for sanding in our garage. We have seen loads pictures in articles where sanding is taking place with the wrong sander. With many years of working projects, I have totally come to appreciate using the right sander. Let’s face it – if you’re using the right sanding tool, the project is done faster, looks better, and is less tiresome because you will not have to redo it again later. Sanding is a task that has to be done; so it is best to use the right sander the first time around!
Well, that’s what I have learned about sanders and we hope we answered the question: which sander should I use. Today’s talk from Hello I Live Here is now complete. Happy sanding and see you next post!
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