My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1509: Product Review - Makita BO3710 Finishing Sander

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 03-03-2015 01:45 PM 1441 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1508: A Perfect World - Final Touches Part 1509 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1510: Making Some Bad Days Better »

It's sunny outside and looks to be a beautiful day. I can see the tops of the trees along the riverbank swaying in the breeze though, so I am certain that although it looks warm outside, it is a bit deceiving. As we work our way into March, I am thinking that it is more 'lion-like' than 'lamb-like' and that we will just have to have a bit more patience for milder weather. In all honesty, this winter has gone by very quickly. Perhaps the reason that I am not so annoyed with it as others is that I have been so busy. While I have been spending a lot of time in the house here, I have been accomplishing a great deal in the way of organizing and creating new designs for both painting and woodworking. It seems that each day flies by faster than the previous one. 

I do admit that I am looking forward to those warm days of spring and summer, but I have plenty here to keep me busy until that comes. Today I am working on some new scroll saw patterns and I will spend the bulk of the day drawing. Hopefully I will be able to get to the saw in the next day or so to cut them out. That will be fun! 

I did some cutting yesterday for some orders, and it came to mind as I was sanding that I should tell you all about the new sander that I purchased. Whether you are a painter or a woodworker, there may come time when you need a sander to smooth your projects nicely. About a month or so ago, When Keith started working on the speaker/furniture project (which is still in progress) he began bringing my 1/3 sheet finishing sander to his mom's where he was doing the main woodworking on the pieces. It was then that I realized how much I missed it, and since my sander was over 10 years old, I looked into getting another one. 

I loved the sander that I had. It was made by Makita and not only did the job, but didn't shake your arm off in the process. We noticed this especially when we did the large orders for Artis's Club and sanded hundreds of 10" square 1/8" thick birch plywood boards for the ornament kits. Even though the sanding sometimes took over an hour, there was minimal vibration and it never really bothered my hands or arm.

I looked online for the same sander, and was unable to find it. However, I did find the next generation of the same product at Amazon. I had remembered paying about $100 for it over ten years ago (I think it was about $89 plus tax) and I was surprised to see it listed for just over $60 with FREE SHIPPING!  (Makita BO3710 CAN) Now this is the Canadian side of Amazon (.ca) but I also see that it is available for a similar cost in the USA as well. (Makita BO3710 USA

I read some reviews on it and the only complaints I saw were that it "bogged down" when putting pressure on it. I thought "now why the heck did they go and ruin a good thing?" but after reading that most of the reviews were favorable, I decided to get it anyway. 

It arrived quickly and I was happy to have it. It was a pain for Keith to have to drag our other sander back and forth to his mom's each time. I felt bad for making him leave it sometimes, as I knew I would be using it, but I knew that he only had an old orbital sander at his mom's that was not ideal for the jobs he was doing. 

I have used the sander for about a month, and each time I do I am amazed at how little vibration it has. For myself, I use those foam mats that look puzzle pieces to sand on. They are cheap, give great support and protect my surface very nicely. The larger ones stay in place great and when it comes time to clean up, it is fast and easy. 

As you see in the photo, the sander has a little bag for dust collection. I'll be honest and tell you I rarely use it. I find that it doesn't really pull that much dust away on its own. But I use the hook up that came with my shop vac and hook the vacuum directly to the sander. There is rarely a crumb of sawdust left using this method. 

I do my finishing sanding indoors using this sander, as we have a small place and no large workshop here, and there is never any dust from this sander when I am using it along with the vacuum. 

As you can imagine, it is a little noisy with both the sander and the vacuum running, but if I am doing lots of sanding, I just put on my cordless headphones and it doesn't bother me at all. After all – we are running power tools here. They all make a certain amount of noise. 

One of the differences I noticed was how the paper was attached. The previous model had a clip somewhat like what you have at the top of the clip board. It did a good jot and held the paper adequately, as it kind of wrapped around the ends. 

The new sander has this spring system, which is just as easy, but I feel holds the paper even better:

Paper changes are easy and the sander takes 1/3 sheet, leaving no waste. 

I find that there was no merit whatsoever to the comment (complaint) in the ratings that the sander bogged out. I can lean on it with my body weight behind me and it still goes strong. I really don't know what that reviewer was referring to?  They must have been sitting on it. 

Remember folks – we don't have a GRINDER here! It is a finishing sander and it is meant to take off the final layers of materal and leave the surface smooth, as it does. 

The weight is not bad either. I am not the strongest gal in the world, and it is easy to maneuver and control. Usually I just use one hand with it. 

(I am using stock photos from the Amazon ads – those are NOT my hairy arms!!! ) 

I am really impressed with this tool. If you are into woodworking or even painting and want a really nice finishing sander that takes the pain out of sanding, I highly recommend this product. The case is well made and the sander feels solid and comfortable. And the best thing about it is even after an hour or more of sanding, my hand and arm doesn't feel all 'tingly' from the vibration. I actually often find myself wondering how I feel so little vibration while I am sanding. This thought came up again last night as I was using it and that is why I decided to talk about it here. 

My rating for it is five stars out of five. :) For the money, you can't go wrong!

I would love to hear your thoughts on it if any of you have it. I think it is a good thing to share this information, as I get asked about things like this all the time. I look forward to hearing from you.

On one other thought, I wanted you all to be aware that Keith created a Coast Guard pattern for those of you who asked:

His SLDK556 Proud Coast Guardsman pattern is now up on the site and available for you. He had several requests for this and while there were several ways he could have written it, this seems to be the one that is most accepted. I hope you all enjoy it. 

Well, that will be it for today. I look forward to seeing my new designs come to life. I hope you are all having a good week and getting through these final stages of winter alright. Just remember – spring will come eventually. 

Have a great Tuesday! 

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

3 comments so far

View Druid's profile


2161 posts in 3401 days

#1 posted 03-03-2015 07:06 PM

Nice review Sheila. It sounds like a much better tool than one that I have . . . no dust collection, and leaves the hands numb if I use it for more than about 15 minutes. Actually, it does collect dust . . . sitting unused on the shelf.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2679 days

#2 posted 03-03-2015 07:47 PM

Great review on the sander Sheila. I was in the market for a new sander last Spring and bought the same one. It was hard to find a 1/3 sheet sander from anywhere. They don’t seem to be made anymore by other manufacturers. I agree with you that there is very little vibration and the noise level is way lower than my palm sander that I was previously using. I’ve been very happy with the new sander and I find with a coarse sandpaper I can strip the finish off small boards very well.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3526 days

#3 posted 03-03-2015 08:11 PM

Thank you both John and Anna for your own thoughts on things. I have worked with bad sanders as well and it really bothers my arm if there is excessive vibration. I could almost use just my fingertips with this one and there is really no vibration to speak of. I have used it up to an hour at a time so far with no ill effects.

I had to use a little duct tape because the hook up from my shop vac is slightly larger than the discharge pipe on the back of the sander, but it isn’t a big deal. Since I always use the shop vac with it anyway, it is just as easy to plug things in and go.

I appreciate your thoughts on things. Thanks for joining the discussion. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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