LL Things to Consider When Buying a Sander

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If you are in the market for a new sander, this article points out some facts you may want to think about before you spend your money on a sander.


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A sander is a key tool that will get used in almost all do-it-yourself projects involving wood. Sanders can be used to remove large amounts of material or surfaces finishes quickly and easily, as well as being able to create a smooth surface on your projects. But there are many types of sanders out there, and most of them can only be used only for specific applications. The key to buying a sander is to get the sander that will fill your needs best. Here are the varieties of sanders you will want to consider:

— Belt Sanders —
Belt sanders are most useful in the starting phases of large sanding jobs as well as for the starting phases of refinishing jobs. Belt sanders take off large amounts of material rapidly, so you need to be very careful to keep from gouging the material being sanded. Belt sanders can tend to be heavy. Think about getting one that has a variable speed control as well as a lock button that lets you lock the speed which will allow you to place your hands in the most comfortable position; this also helps minimize user tiredness when using a belt sander.

— Detail Sanders —
Detail sanders are little sanders typically used to sand around odd shapes and in small nooks and crannies such as carvings, slats, curves and inlays. Detail sanders are often used on craft projects and on mill work such as window and door casings. To get the most use from your detail sander, look for one with a lot of attachments since this will increase the flexibility of your sander and make it suited for more locations and shapes.

— Disc Sanders —
Disc sanders come in both bench-mounted and hand-held versions. The hand-held versions are most intended for occasional users whereas the bench-mounted disc sanders are most often used by those who are working with their disc sander on a larger scale. But there are some smaller bench-mounted models that are still cheap enough for consideration by the occasional user. Disc sanders make quick work of sanding angled edges and for finishing the end grain of wood. If you are considering a bench-mounted disc sander, additional features you will want to consider include: a sliding miter gauge, a tilting table, and a belt sander on the frame.

— Random-Orbit Sanders —
Random-orbit sanders have circular pads that move in a circular motion with a random pattern. The random pattern lets the user move the sander in any direction on the material being sanded, even across the grain, without scratching the surface of the material being sanded. This is the easiest to use type of sander and it is an excellent choice for a multi-purposes sanders; this makes it an excellent choice for the home user. Most random-orbit sanders require the use of special sand paper specific to the brand and/or model of the sander being used.

— Sheet Sanders —
Sheet sanders come in different sized models that use 1/3 or 1/4-sheets of standard sizes of sheet sandpaper. Some brands of sheet sanders make use of specialized sand paper with velcro or adhesive to fix the sand paper on the sander. Other sheet sanders are able to use any type of sheet sand paper. Obviously, the latter type of sheet sander is more flexible for the everyday user. Sheet sanders are different from random-orbit sanders in that the sheet sander vibrates the sand paper in a single direction, so sheet sanders must be moved along the direction of the grain of the material being sanded to avoid marring the surface. Sheet sanders are extremely versatile and, like the random-orbit sander, they can be used on a lot of different types of projects.

— Spindle Sanders —
Spindle sanders are great for edge sanding, particularly on curves. Spindle sanders are bench-mounted tools with a cylindrical spindle located in the center of a large worktable. As such, these tend to be used by more industrial users and wood-working enthusiasts. If you are considering a spindle sander, look for one with the oscillating feature; the oscillations increases the removal rate of material and it reduces the probability of gouging the stock being sanded.

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