There are many different sanders on the market today. They all have different designs and features and perform different task which makes it difficult for an inexperienced person to choose which one is best for them to use. Hopefully this article will supply you with the info you need in order to make the proper choice for the job at hand.
Electric power sanders are the easiest and also the quickest way to get a smooth finish on wood. With the proper sander and the right belt or disc, you can make most any wood look smooth and new. The three basic types to be discussed is the belt sander, the orbital finishing sander and the random orbit sander.
The belt sander is comprised of two parallel drums that are spun with an electric motor.The sanding belt is a loop of abrasive cloth that fits over the drums. It is normally used when sanding large flat surfaces, especially rough ones. The most popular size belt
is 3x21 (which is what I use) but they also come in 3x18, 3x24 and 4x24 depending on the type of sander. The belts also come in different size of grit. It is best to start with a coarse grit such as 40, 60 or 80 and change to a finer grit such as 150 as the product gets smoother.The final sanding should be with a 300 or higher grit belt. The higher the number the finer the finish will be. It is then best to switch to a different sander for a more perfect finish as will be discussed later. Sanding with a belt sander should be done with the grain to produce the best finish. You don't have to put pressure on the sander for the weight of the tool is enough to do the job.
The orbital finishing sander is sometime called a flat sander or quarter sheet sander. That is because it has a square or rectangular shape pad and uses a quarter sheet of 9x11 sand paper. The paper is held to the sander by a couple of spring loaded clamps on the side of the sander. Practically every woodworking venture will require some kind of finish sanding and this sander will help you make a smooth mark free finished surface. Like the belt sander you should change from a coarse to finer grit paper as you continue sanding in order to get the finish you like. Keep in mind, the finer the grit the more smoother finish you are going to have.
The random orbit sander is easily mistaken for the orbital finish sander. They kinda sound alike and the design looks pretty much the same but there is one major difference between the two. What makes the random orbit different from the orbital finish sander is
the square or rectangular pad on the orbital finish sander while the random orbit sander has a round pad. This makes it vibrate in small circles similar to the orbital sander but it spins in circles at the same time. This is why it leaves no directional or swirl marks on the wood.
If you want to remove a lot of wood in a short period of time, then the belt sander is for you. If you need to have a nice smooth finish, then you should try either the orbit finish sander or the random orbit sander. In this writers opinion, if I could only buy
one sander, it would be the random orbit sander.