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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have both a handheld orbital sander and palm sander. I've built two identical freestanding bookcases using these. On the first one I use the palm Sander and the edges came out nice and square. For the other one I used the orbital sander and the edges came out slightly rounded off and wavy. I did notice the Orbital sander was more difficult to control. Has anyone else had similar results? I was very careful using both sanders and was careful to keep them square to the wood, or so I thought.

Are there any tricks to using an orbital sander that would yield better results?
 

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Old Methane Gas Cloud
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Both palm and ROS are orbital. The ROS sanders are usually more aggressive than a palm or finishing sander. The ROS likes to pull itself over the edges. It's just the way that it works.

There is one other thing. The pads on palm sanders are usually harder than those of a ROS. (Comparing my Bosch / Porter Cable to a B&D palm or finishing sander.)

As you are sanding with the ROS, don't move the sander over the edge of the wood by much more than an inch. The center of the ROS disk does almost no sanding.

BTW - Sanders are similar to rotary lawn mowers, only the very tip of the blade actually does the cutting. With the ROS, it is the outside of the circumference of the sanding disk that does the sanding.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great Advice, thanks. By the way, how is a finishing Sander different from the ROS and the palm? And how do you decide which one is the right one for the particular job at hand?
 

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I have both a handheld orbital sander and palm sander. I've built two identical freestanding bookcases using these. On the first one I use the palm Sander and the edges came out nice and square. For the other one I used the orbital sander and the edges came out slightly rounded off and wavy. I did notice the Orbital sander was more difficult to control. Has anyone else had similar results? I was very careful using both sanders and was careful to keep them square to the wood, or so I thought.

Are there any tricks to using an orbital sander that would yield better results?
I also have both and have the same observation and experience.

I prefer to use my ROS for general sanding. Edges I either sand by hand or the 1/4 sheet palm sander.

The only way to improve control for edge sanding with ROS would be to clamp sacrificial pieces to either side of the wood to provide an effectively wider edge.
 

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With the sanders I have, a finishing sander is mainly a straight line, but some have a switch to "orbit", most have a square or rectangular pad. A ROS (random orbit sander) has a round pad, and that pad rotates slowly, while the sanding action is a random orbit.

On both sanders, the whole pad does the sanding. Most ROS's have holes in the pad to line up with holes in the sanding disks. With a ROS, you have to get the "feel" for keeping it balanced on the workpiece. It's similar to a large round pad floor buffer. Once you get the feel, you can almost guide it with one hand. Get it off balance and it will jet away from you.

Doing edges with each is not that easy. Most small edges would be done better by hand, or with scraping.






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Doing edges with each is not that easy. Most small edges would be done better by hand, or with scraping.






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+1 - I hand sand as much as possible on smaller pieces if I'm going for a right angle or chamfered edge. If I'm beveling the edge I can always touch it up with a sharpened router bit.

I'll be honest though and say that I'm relying more and more on hand tools for furniture building. All it takes sometimes is the wrong twitch and your power tool takes off on you.

Curtis
 

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I use the palm sander, it's just easier to control and therefore has more uniform results. And I always hand sand during the "finishing" phase of a build.
 

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Old Methane Gas Cloud
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Great Advice, thanks. By the way, how is a finishing Sander different from the ROS and the palm? And how do you decide which one is the right one for the particular job at hand?
Smaller orbits which makes it not as aggressive. Mine ($10 and 15 years ago) seems to be more suited for auto body work rather than woodworking. I do use it with wet or dry to get a very flat surface while building a finish. With 220 and then 400 I can fill the grain rather well and the finish is really glossy.

I have tried using it with 100 grit and it seems that the paper isn't attached as the sanding goes sooooo slow.
 

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Originally Posted by rrich
The center of the ROS disk does almost no sanding.

That absolutely has not been my experience, so I'll have to disagree w/ you on that.
I'm basing it upon looking at the disk when it comes off the sander. The center seems to be fresh and pristine while the circumference is beyond it's useful life.

That is observations from Dynabrade PSA sanders, PC 333 5 hole, Bosch 8 hole something that I'll never buy again. Maybe I've used the sanders so much that the H & L disk is concave????

We would take the used PSA disks and fold them in half. The center was great for hand sanding tasks of irregular surfaces.

DUNNO...... I can't disagree with you but my experience is different.
 

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Rich,
I have a matched pair of Bosch ROS20VS's variable speed ROS's and like them a lot. I haven't noticed that they do the majority of their sanding on the edges but have noticed that the edges wear out first from getting beat up by bumping against stuff. Also, I occasionally 'tip' the router for specific operations which can cause edge wear. With the two of them, I keep fine disks on one and medium on the other to help avoid disk changes that can wear out the pad's hook&loops. If I'm doing regular sanding on a flat surface, the disks seem to wear evenly. Maybe you have a bad pad.

Steve M.,
What specific sanders do you have? I'm a bit confused. Could you give brands and models, or even better, post pics?

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
View attachment 75656 Steve M.,
What specific sanders do you have? I'm a bit confused. Could you give brands and models, or even better, post pics?

Bill[/QUOTE]

HI Bill,
I had a Rigid 25011 1/4 sheet sander that I was very happy with until it started dropping the sandpaper off the front clamp after awhile. It got worse and worse until I couldn't keep the paper on anytime at all so I took it back to Home Depot to complain. They told me I could swap it out for another Rigid sander so I thought I'd try the Rigid R2601 5" Random Orbital model. I didn't want to get another of the same Rigid 1/4 sheet models and have it drop the papper again. I'm not very happy with the 5" ROS due to how hard it is to hold and how much it wobbles around. I may return it if I can't find some better uses for it.
Based on what I've read here I'm going to find another 1/4 sheet sander that has a more positive clamping system.
 

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