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Discussion Starter #1
I owned the Mouse MS800 model but it broke. I was so unimpressed when I opened it up and saw that the gears are made out of cheap plastic. It literally wore down from very infrequent, minimal use.

I was just about to get a new sander from Harbor Freight because they're under 20 bucks, but thought... what if it's the same cheap junk? Isn't there a good piece of quality that might cost 2-3 more, but last at least a measurement of years? I figured woodworkers would be the best group to ask, so I joined the forum.

Today I was just building a small floating shelf, but I hope to graduate to more extensive projects in the near future such as a murphy bed, computer work desk area, bench, etc.

Thanks for reading.
 

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Even if it is junk I bet you could get 20 bucks use out of it. The name brand companies are making their tools cheaper and cheaper so I don't see that much difference in most Harbor Freight tools. HF battery powered tools have crummy batteries but I like their electric tools.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
youre probably right, but the big point for me was that i didnt want to have to replace something so soon again because it will inevitably happen again.

today i was using a new makita saw and it just felt like quality. compared to the last "on sale" one i got from some big box store i just couldnt believe it.
 

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Don't buy it but go to a good woodworking store and pick up a PC330 (Porter Cable) 1/4 sheet sander. As soon as you pick it up you will know why I bought it to replace my broken and discarded 1/2 sheet sander that was considerably cheaper and much lighter in weight. I'm very happy with my purchase...

I hope this doesn't turn into another (cheap tool vs expensive tool) argument. I know the importance of family budgets but don't insult me by accusing me of throwing money out the window.
 

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I've hand a bunch of different ones, but the ones I like best are my:
Mouse Iron shaped (Don't know the model)
B&D 1/4 sheet
Dewalt 5" ROS.
Craftsman 3" Belt.

Each has a different use in my shop and each is still going after many years of only occasional use. Each was bought at HD (except the Craftsman) for under $40.00.
 

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You said you had a "Mouse" sander. I'm making the assumption that it is one of those small detail sanders??

Do you specifically need a detail sander or are you just looking for a quality sander?

I have a Dewalt 1/4 sheet sander that I've had for about 5 years and a Dewalt 5" ROS sander for about a year. I bought the ROS because I needed something faster than the 1/4 sheet sander. In fact since I got the ROS, I've hardly used the 1/4 sheet.

I can't give you any comparisons between brands, I've only owned the Dewalts. They are probably better than some and worse than others, but they have worked for me.

There have been lots of threads on Brand/model comparisons in the Power Tools Forum.

I can't give you any help if you are looking for a small detail sander, I don't have one and have never used one (although I would like one eventually ;) ).
 

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If you're looking for a general purpose sander rather than a small, detail sander I'd recommend a random orbit sander. I doubt that I've touched my 1/4 sheet sander in 10 years.

As far as the name brands, I think they're worth every penny. Buy a Porter Cable or a DeWalt and you won't have to buy it again.
 

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The Mouse MS800 is a detail sander from Black and Decker. It has a triangular shaped pad and a small motor body.

The reviews on it in general are not very good.

There are some cheap tools I have bought and they worked good. The HF multi-tool (the better variable speed one) is remarkable. I have beat the tar out of it over 3 years and it works great. The HF sawzalls work decently well for only a little more than the cost of a good blade.

However, when it comes to sanders, I like to buy good ones. I have a 1/4 sheet sander from Porter-cable and its so much better than the cheap ones that it cannot be compared. I prefer my sanders to use the motor to remove material instead of just removing the feeling in my hands because of excess vibration.

I also have the PC 5" random-orbit sander for heavier material removal. In my opinion both PC sanders would be hard to improve upon.

I bought the HF detail sander real cheap ($10) a few years ago on black friday and rarely use it. It works, but lots of vibration and removes little material.

Steve
 

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Almost all of my sanders are Porter Cable, (the exception being a Makita 1/4-sheet I received as a gift). They are well made and effective. But I bought them because fifteen or twenty years back, when I bought them, they had the best dust collection. At that time it was rare for sanders to have a bag that worked. All the Porter Cable sanders had a one inch connection for a vacuum hose that you could also connect a bag to.

Light weight is your enemy with any kind of oscillating sander. The less mass the sander has the more any vibration will transfer to your hand. Plus things that weigh more cost more. Steel gears weigh more than plastic. Ball bearings weigh more than plastic, or even bronze bushings.

Before buying any power tool check to see if the instructions include an exploded diagram and parts list. If there isn't one the tool is made to throw away. If there is one look to see if it has bushings, or ball bearings. Bearings cost more, but last longer and are generally replaceable.

Do the brushes have access covers? Or are they buried in the tool?

How much information do the instructions give on maintenance? Do they say how to lubricate the bearings and change the brushes?
 

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sanders

I too, have the mouse sander that doesnt get much use, two dewalt 5" ros that I have had several years and a B&D reconditioned 3" belt sander that I have had for 20 years with occasional usage, but to your question, I would buy quality where I could and hopefully it will last for you..:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all for the quick, numerous and quality replies! I am impressed!

Don't buy it but go to a good woodworking store and pick up a PC330 (Porter Cable) 1/4 sheet sander. As soon as you pick it up you will know why I bought it to replace my broken and discarded 1/2 sheet sander that was considerably cheaper and much lighter in weight. I'm very happy with my purchase...

I hope this doesn't turn into another (cheap tool vs expensive tool) argument. I know the importance of family budgets but don't insult me by accusing me of throwing money out the window.
Why do you say dont buy it? (Seems like you really like it.)
You said you had a "Mouse" sander. I'm making the assumption that it is one of those small detail sanders??

Do you specifically need a detail sander or are you just looking for a quality sander?

I have a Dewalt 1/4 sheet sander that I've had for about 5 years and a Dewalt 5" ROS sander for about a year. I bought the ROS because I needed something faster than the 1/4 sheet sander. In fact since I got the ROS, I've hardly used the 1/4 sheet.

I can't give you any comparisons between brands, I've only owned the Dewalts. They are probably better than some and worse than others, but they have worked for me.

There have been lots of threads on Brand/model comparisons in the Power Tools Forum.

I can't give you any help if you are looking for a small detail sander, I don't have one and have never used one (although I would like one eventually ;) ).
To be frank,I am not sure what kind of sander I need. The Mouse served me for really any sanding I needed. Small baseboard sanding, doors being repainted, cabinets getting repainted. In the future I plan to strip and refinish my kitchen cabinets. I also want to build a chest that I imagine will need some hand power sanding.
 

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I have been using my Porter Cable 1/4 sheet sander for about 20 years and love it. Along with it's longevity my favorite feature is that it actually fits in the case that it came in.
 

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I too have Porter Cable sanders. My half sheet was a 25th anniversary model. I'm older than dirt. I also have given in to buy a ROS for speed. But still finish furniture projects with the 1/2 and 1/4.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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My 5" DeWalt ROS, is the best. I have had two 1/4 sheet orbital sanders that just didn't make the grade. My DeWalt is my go to for finishing.
 

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yank said:
My 5" DeWalt ROS, is the best. I have had two 1/4 sheet orbital sanders that just didn't make the grade. My DeWalt is my go to for finishing.
Great for flat work. Really sucks when doing edges and curved surfaces. After sanding a seat I had to replace the pad as it was no longer flat. If you use a fine finish you have to sand out the swirl marks.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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Loren D. said:
If you're looking for a general purpose sander rather than a small, detail sander I'd recommend a random orbit sander. I doubt that I've touched my 1/4 sheet sander in 10 years. As far as the name brands, I think they're worth every penny. Buy a Porter Cable or a DeWalt and you won't have to buy it again.
You know most I speak to say they prefer orbit sanders to the sheet sanders... But really I always wonder why, or I wonder what I'm doing wrong that I get much smoother results with my sheet sander. When I use the orbit I tend to miss spots...
 

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Quality Wood - good question - "why did I say 'don't buy it...' " I guess I wasn't articulate. I meant to elaborate on the action of going to a store and physically picking up that PC330 sander and feel it. Jigs-n-fixtures makes my point rather nicely - light weight sanders will vibrate. The PC330 is a very nice heavy sander and I doubt I will ever replace mine or even need too. You will know what I'm talking about when you hold one in your hand...
 

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sander

I love my Porter Cable sanders and have had them for some time. However, when the brushes went bad in my ROS I needed a sander now and got a hook/loop ROS sander from Harbor Freight just to get me through the afternoon, that was three years ago and I can't believe the stupid thing is still going strong. My Porter Cable does not have the hook/loop system so I may not even fix it, although I will most likely get a new one before I do any large furniture or cabinet jobs
in the new future. I have been very impressed with the Mirka and the Festool sanders but they are pricey.

Bandman
 

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I had a 1/4 sheet porter cable for years. Very good sander for sure. It died on me this past summer, and I needed a sander to finish a project. I ended up with a 5" Milwaukee ROS. It's got some weight to it and is pretty comfortable in the hands.
 

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bandman said:
I love my Porter Cable sanders and have had them for some time. However, when the brushes went bad in my ROS I needed a sander now and got a hook/loop ROS sander from Harbor Freight just to get me through the afternoon, that was three years ago and I can't believe the stupid thing is still going strong. My Porter Cable does not have the hook/loop system so I may not even fix it, although I will most likely get a new one before I do any large furniture or cabinet jobs in the new future. I have been very impressed with the Mirka and the Festool sanders but they are pricey. Bandman
You can buy the hook and loop platen and install it on your sander. Amazon has them starting at around $15.
 
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