Which type of sander should I get next?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Rob posted 11-26-2015 04:01 AM 2399 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 4551 days

11-26-2015 04:01 AM

Up until now I’ve only used a 1/4 sheet ROS for pretty much everything other than hand sanding. From time to time I think that it would be handy to simply hold the item against a flat sanding surface though. I get by with putting a sheet on a flat surface and moving my work piece back and forth, but I’m starting to batch out projects and would like to pick up the pace a bit. Anyway, I see mounted belt sanders; large disc sanders, strip sanders, drum sanders, etc. I’m sure each of these are ideal for certain things and maybe will come to my shop in time, but for now I will just be adding one so I was wondering what would be the most versatile route to go. Also if there are any particular brands/models I should look for or avoid that would also be helpful.

If it matters what I’ll be using this for… Recently I made a dozen or so frames at once and splined all the miters. After trimming them on the bandsaw it was a lot of work getting them flush with my ROS. I’m also thinking about doing a lot of box joints in the near future and I thought it would be useful for that as well.

18 replies so far

View Karamba's profile


116 posts in 1820 days

#1 posted 11-26-2015 04:19 AM

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 4551 days

#2 posted 11-26-2015 05:13 AM

Did that. You get a lot of comparisons of hand sanders. I want to compare fixed sanders. As I said, there are lots of types that I’m aware of and yet I could google the hell out it but I am very busy and just want someone to point me to such and such that they recommend based on their actual experience. I thought this was the place for that kind of thing last time I checked.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 2220 days

#3 posted 11-26-2015 05:21 AM

A drum sander is one of the most used Sanders in my shop. It is a Performax 16-32. Easy to run multiple pieces through it. Not meant for dimensioning although i do use it that way for wider panels. Next in line is a random orbit oscillating sander. Next is a spindle sander for curves. I have a belt sander that sits on a shelf as I’m too dumb to figure out how to use it without gouging wood.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View oldnovice's profile


7667 posts in 4251 days

#4 posted 11-26-2015 07:00 AM

In my shop work I have used one of three ROS (either of my 1/4 sheet or my 1/2 sheet), my 4”×24” belt/disk sander, a Bosch handheld belt sander, sanding sheets double stuck to steel plates or chunks of Formica covered counter top, sponge sanding blocks, 3M 1/2 sheet manual sander, and probably some I forgot I have used!

In summary, I use what best suits the task!

I would really like a drum sander but I don’t have the room or money. I used a Performax machine at the Sawdust shop (a club one can join, buy time on machines by the hour or day or week) and that is a nice machine.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View JohnStevens's profile


22 posts in 3841 days

#5 posted 11-26-2015 08:26 AM

Wow, big topic. Sounds like you’re asking 2 different questions. Sounds like you want a hand sander of some kind for the most part, but need a wider drum sander occasionally. For the hand sander, I’d get a Festool ETS 125 (5” ROS). Love mine, use it all the time. They have a new, more powerful, lower profile version out now (called EC). But it’s almost twice the price. You’ll probably use it 60-70% off the time.

For the frames you were talking about, the Jet 16-32 drum sander is a MUST!! Love that one too! I can sand flat highly figured wood without the threat of tear out. I can sand picture frames no problem. I can also sand small items that would never go through a planner. (FYI, Woodcraft has them at 15% off through Nov. 30!!)

Good luck in your quest!

-- "I'll show you my tenon if you show me your mortise!"

View Robert's profile


4052 posts in 2364 days

#6 posted 11-26-2015 11:41 AM

Not a recommendation, just a perspective: I use a handplane and the only sanding I do is by hand.

I like the finish and my lungs like the clean air…..

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3180 days

#7 posted 11-26-2015 02:09 PM

As you have a quarter sheet sander I would get an orbital 5 or 6 inch round sander for aggressive stock removal. If you have the grand to spend get a drum sander. You should still have an orbital though in my opinion.

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 2016 days

#8 posted 11-26-2015 02:17 PM

A lot really depends on how much you want to spend.
I think an edge sander is the most versatile.
Something like this:

I started with one of those ^and found myself using it for all kinds of stuff, it’s very handy.

A lot of people here have and like the small rigid edge sander that you can change over to a spindle sander.

-- -

View a1Jim's profile


118143 posts in 4461 days

#9 posted 11-26-2015 04:00 PM

If you talking about a random orbital sander I’ve been very happy with my Milwaukee ROS


View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 2060 days

#10 posted 11-26-2015 04:15 PM

I have a multitude of sanders each has an advantage in specific sititution.

If I understand you correctly for box joints and splines I reach for my Ridgid belt / spindle sander (see Woodust’s post above). If you purchase this make sure you register it online so you have lifetime warranty.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

490 posts in 2564 days

#11 posted 11-26-2015 04:26 PM

For the tasks you mentioned I would say a large disc sander would probably be the best fit. A belt sander works best for things like tapered legs or long sweeping curves where the spindle sander is great for really tight curves and a drum sander is ideal for large flat surfaces. I own the rigid and I really like it but it’s height is pretty limited so using it for large boxes would require flipping the piece over and blending in the middle. It’s strength is working on edges less than a couple inch’s tall.

A free standing disc sander plus the Ridgid for small belt/spindle sanding or a combo disc/belt sander and a free standing spindle sander would probably be ideal for what you mentioned. A drum sander for flattening panels is a huge luxury that I have not had the room or budget for to date but I would love to have one someday.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2849 posts in 3806 days

#12 posted 11-26-2015 07:16 PM

I make hundreds of small cedar jewelry boxes a year and do a LOT of sanding. I once used the “baby drum sander” from Grizzly but had to repair it too much. Tossed it. I now have two harbor freight 8”x48” stationary belt sanders. I have them set up with two different grits. I paid less than $170 for the first one in 2010 and still use it every day. Dust collection took some ingenuity but it works for me.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3388 days

#13 posted 11-26-2015 08:29 PM


-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 4551 days

#14 posted 11-27-2015 03:07 AM

Thanks guys. I think one of the combo units might be in order for me. Wondering if it makes sense to put different grits on each part? Then you run the piece over both of them and you are nearly ready to finish. This makes me also wonder, if say the unit has greater power, could you get by with larger jumps in grits? Say have one at 100 and another at 220? Am I on the right track with this? Or do I really need to sanders to do this kind of thing?

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2849 posts in 3806 days

#15 posted 11-27-2015 11:54 PM

In my shop I have two disc sanders on the two belt sanders and never use them. I burn the wood too easily with disc sanders. Too fast I guess. I have two grits on the belt sanders but use the coarser one the most. (eighty grit). I use a hand held sander, after using it, with finer grits up to 400.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics