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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When was the last time a busted power tool made you laugh out loud? Wanted to share this because it got me nothing but a scowl from my wife, but I figured maybe someone here might find it humorous.

I've had a cheap Skil palm sander for about 7 or 8 years and it has served me well until the last few months when the power switch on it got funky. At first it just wouldn't shut off and was always on when plugged in. Then I had to actually hold the switch in the OFF position while sanding for it to function. I was using it tonight and released the OFF switch and set it on my workbench. It was still plugged in. A good 10 minutes later it suddenly turned itself on and vibrated right off my workbench to the floor before I could react. My immediate reaction was to laugh. Now it runs at about half speed and twice the volume if I can get it to run at all.

So, as I relayed this to my wife, still amused by it, I got the scowl. "This means you'll be buying a new one, right?" (I just bought a new jigsaw and router in the past month.) Yep!

Anybody hear of any good sales on 1/4 sheet palm sanders?
 

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Old School
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I can't remember the last time I used my palm sander (finishing sander). It's been a ROS, which seems to do a better job. But, that switch problem might take making notes as to what it's been doing lately. Dirty switches could be the cause. But, don't tell your wife that.

Reminds me of a router I bought when it first came out. It was a 3¼HP Bosch. After about 6 months, the switch went, and it stayed on. I had some fun with friends that came to the shop to see it. I would tell them that the thing was on, and you have to hold it with one hand and plug it in with the other. You should have seen the look on their face when it came on it would twist their arm out of whack.






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Chairman of the 'Board
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I remember a friend who had a sander that had given up the ghost. He had even cut the cord and was using it as a manual sanding block. It was just so funny to see him sand with it's little pig tail hanging off to the side. His comment was something like "What? I didn't have a sanding block!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Amazon has the Porter Cable 380 for $35.
Looks like the local Lowes has the same model in store for the same price and I can get it today. The pictures look different, with the Amazon version showing a plastic dust collector and maybe a more ergonomic design, and the Lowes version having a cloth dust bag. Wonder if the Amazon version is a new design on the same model.
 

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Haha--feel your pain!
If $ a real issue, try HF or Northern--they should be as good as Skil, plus if it quits the replacement warranty is worth the extra few $.
 

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I'm not sure how high tech these are or have to be but I've been using a cheap 1/4 sheet palm sander Black & Decker from Walmart that costed $20, and also a random orbit sander costing $25, for a couple of years with good results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My old Skil didn't have any dust collection, and since I've moved from the garage to the basement for the winter, that will be a welcome feature in a new model. I may get out to Lowes later and check out the PC.
 

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Do you have to have the 1/4 sheet style? I have a DeWalt low profile ROS. My PC broke a spring and flew apart one night and I lucked onto the DeWalt on sale. It's exactly like the PC model only in yellow. It's a variable speed model but I really don't use it much. But do like to turn it down when sanding an edge.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yep, I picked up the PC at Lowes. I think it's a good price and the wife was happy I kept it under $50. Not using it tonight as I'm on the couch with my dog, watching some football. I'll report back on my impressions of it when I get to use it, either here or over in the power tools section.
 

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Glad you found a good buy...

I bought a PC 330 a couple of years ago and payed a lot more then you did for it. I hope this doesn't lead us all into another "cheap" vs "expensive" , but I really lie my expensive PC 330 quarter sheet sander. I may be talking threw my annal pore at the moment, but I will need to verify my next comment...

Over the years, I have learned to be cautious purchasing tools. It's a habit we all need to learn. Of course we are all limited by our income vs budget and I'm fortunate to be retired in a comfortable income level, but my history involves near poverty line living to now. I learned the hard way that less expensive tools are not always the best buy even on a budget. So in my past, I learned to buy the tools I thought were the best deal by skipping coffee breaks and brown bagging my lunches. The money saved went towards my tools and my wife agreed because I was willing to give up my comforts for good tools.

For anybody needing to purchase a 1/4 sheet sander - do your shopping and do it thoroughly. What convinced to buy the PC 330 was the feel. Go to a store that sells this sander and pick it up. Feel the solid build and pick up other brands and models...

Over the years, I learned that similar machines are sold at different prices. That is to say tool model # 00007SQR is sold for $65 less then tool model # 00007 (same brand name but different stores). The reason is that big box stores (that sell for less) will specify how their less expensive tools will be built. They will tell the manufacturer to use plastic gears etc to cut down the cost, but the mfg will add letters to their model #'s.

Do your homework... price the tools... read reviews... carefully checkout model numbers... and when given the opportunity, pick up the tools and feel their builds. I spent my money on the PC 330 and I like it. It performs like it feels...
 

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Glad you found a good buy...
Over the years, I learned that similar machines are sold at different prices. That is to say tool model # 00007SQR is sold for $65 less then tool model # 00007 (same brand name but different stores). The reason is that big box stores (that sell for less) will specify how their less expensive tools will be built. They will tell the manufacturer to use plastic gears etc to cut down the cost, but the mfg will add letters to their model #'s.

Do your homework... price the tools... read reviews... carefully checkout model numbers... and when given the opportunity, pick up the tools and feel their builds. I spent my money on the PC 330 and I like it. It performs like it feels...
How true - the one that amazes me the most is the 1" belt sander - HF @ $39, others, Delta, Grizzly, etc, same sander, up to $150. Note Amazon listing the HF @ $65. Nice markup, and didn't even change the label.

http://www.harborfreight.com/1-in-x-30-in-belt-sander-60543.html


http://www.grizzly.com/products/Belt-Sander-1-x-30-/H3140

http://www.mscdirect.com/product/00..._s2CWLVzuV_PLA__25122940744_c_S&026=-99&025=c
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bernie, I definitely agree with everything you stated and appreciate your perspective. I've always tried to buy the best available within my budget at the time. I happen to be in the middle of a few small Xmas gift projects and need a sander. Having just purchased a new router and jigsaw in the past month, my budget was $0. At $35 and with a 3 year warranty, I think this unit will work out fine for now. That 330 does look nice though...

These days, with nearly the whole of recorded knowledge available on a smart phone in your pocket, there is no excuse for making uninformed purchases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Oh, speaking of cutting things to save money to feed the habit... On Wednesday it will be one month since I quit smoking. I quit one habit for another. I was never a heavy smoker, but I should have an extra $50 or so in my pocket every month now. Yes, of course I pointed that out to my wife.
 

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DeanK said:
Oh, speaking of cutting things to save money to feed the habit... On Wednesday it will be one month since I quit smoking. I quit one habit for another. I was never a heavy smoker, but I should have an extra $50 or so in my pocket every month now. Yes, of course I pointed that out to my wife.
Darn good for you! It's my understanding it's one of the hardest things a person has to do. Brag often because you are entitled to.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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As far as sanders go. I'm using a ROS but I don't know if it will do as well as my Porter Cable speed block. Haven't really tried it on any high end furniture yet. It does knock in off fast though and picks up more dust. Not all but more anyway.

I do know if I do anything but flat work with the ROS. I need a new pad because it's no longer flat. So I kept the worn round one for the curved work.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Got to use the new PC 380 for a while last night, and I mentioned I would post my initial impression of it. I don't have much to compare it to, just my old busted Skil palm sander, but it's a big step up from the old one.

It has a nice solid feel to it and gets the work done quite a bit faster, probably due to higher RPMs. I'm not sure how I dealt with no dust collection on the Skil for so long. While it's not perfect, I'm definitely a lot less of a walking dust pile after using it for an hour or two. That should make end of the night workshop cleanup a little quicker, leaving more time for working the wood. I will say I preferred the sandpaper clips on the Skil, but that may just be because I used them for so long and could change out a sheet in seconds. I'm sure I'll get the hang of the PC clips over time. The sheets fit perfectly and the hole punch lines up nicely. I also like the more pliable and longer cord and beefy plug that comes with PC tools.

Overall, seems like a good purchase. Durability remains to be seen as I only have a couple hours on it so far.
 
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