Educate me on sanding.

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Forum topic by agallant posted 07-01-2017 01:30 AM 783 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3496 days

07-01-2017 01:30 AM

Hi Folks,

Can someone give me a quick education on sanding? Mainly why would you use a slower speed over a faster speed on a random orbit and why you would use a 1/4 sheet sander vs a 5” or 6” random orbit.

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4257 days

#1 posted 07-01-2017 01:51 AM

1/4 sheet sanders are pretty much an older
technology I think. They do have the advantage
of the paper being cheap and whatever you
have on hand. Now with discs for round sanders
being so common the only other benefit of
the square sanders I can think of is they get
into corners. They are less aggressive in
working on edges too.

Slower speeds are less aggressive. For prepping
wood for finishing I almost always use the
fastest speed. Different speeds are useful
for different types of materials I suppose.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9402 posts in 2938 days

#2 posted 07-01-2017 02:00 AM

A 1/4 sheet sander will save money on sand paper.

ROSs with round Velcro sand paper sheets have a pattern of holes die cut into them that align with holes in the pad which allow for very effective dust collection right at the source with a shop vac. This also prevents the sand paper from getting clogged up. It’s quicker to change sand paper disks, which comes in handy when sanding through a series of grits, which is the right way to do it.

6” sanders can remove material faster than 5” sanders, but the sand paper disks are not as common and cost more.

Faster speed will remove material faster, but potentially faster than you want, so slowing it down can give you more control. I typically run mine at 80-100%

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Rich's profile


5152 posts in 1199 days

#3 posted 07-01-2017 04:00 AM

Everyone has their own preference for sanders, and there’s definitely no right or wrong.

I have several 5” ROSs, a 1/4 sheet Makita, 1/3 sheet Makita and 1/2 sheet Makita orbitals. Of the orbitals, the only one I’d never give up is the 1/2 sheet Makita. It performs beautifully, has good dust collection (see my blog about the paper punch I made for it), and due to its size, sands surfaces very flat with zero gouging.

I bought ROSs for each standard grit I go through, just because ripping off one sheet and adding the next tends to weaken the loop backing on them, shortening the life of the disk. I use Mirka Abranet, which isn’t cheap but lasts a long time, so I want to get all I can out of them.

Regarding the random orbit sanders I have, the Makita BO5041 is the most aggressive, and the Bosch ROS20VSC is the most pleasant to use with very little vibration. A couple of DeWalts perform fine, but the Porter Cable I got on sale at Woodcraft for $40 is a POS ROS for sure. The switch is crap. It actually came on once when I was across the room and orbited its sad little butt onto the floor. I’ll be replacing with another Bosch as soon as a good deal comes along.

Edit: Forgot to mention the best thing about a little 1/4 sheet is getting into corners and it’s less aggressive for relieving edges. I also have one of those original Fein jobs with the triangular head that oscillates in about a 1º angle that’s great for a number of things.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6054 posts in 3018 days

#4 posted 07-02-2017 03:46 AM

RichTalyor makes a good point, I just use one ROS myself but if you are so inclined buy a couple. LOL I would suspect most that have done this for awhile have one of all the tools he listed. I know I do and several others that are in the craft.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2503 days

#5 posted 07-02-2017 04:14 AM

Get some of these

And these

And you’ll never need to ask this question again.
I kid. But not entirely.

This message is brought to you by Sand-Haters Of America Council.

View Rich's profile


5152 posts in 1199 days

#6 posted 07-02-2017 04:27 AM

Get some of these

- ColonelTravis

I should give that a try :)

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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