orbital and typical palm sander.. explain plz

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Forum topic by Mark posted 09-13-2009 10:13 PM 1037 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mark's profile


1807 posts in 3271 days

09-13-2009 10:13 PM

okay fellow LJ’s I have a question that I need answered. For the past 10 years of my own experience in woodworking I have never understood the reason behind the orbital sander. As far as I know I’ve always been taught to sand with the wood grain and to which I’ve always used a palm sander. The orbital sander goes in 360 turns and I would always think that it would spin against the grain wouldn’t it? describe…

-- M.K.

2 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#1 posted 09-13-2009 10:22 PM

Hey Mark
It forms kind of a figure 8 on your wood It’s make sanding about 10 times faster. There are woods like cherry that when you get to the finer grades you still need to sand with the grain by hand or with a pad sander.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DaneJ's profile


56 posts in 3206 days

#2 posted 09-13-2009 11:18 PM

there are 2 distinct kinds of orbital sanders. The square pad sanders are true orbital sanders the pad ‘vibrates’ in tiny circles(orbits), the round pad sanders also orbit, but the pad is free to rotate ‘randomizing’ the little circles. you can see this by using coarse(60-80) paper and run the sander for second or two on a smooth surface, the circles of the square pad will be obvious where the circles for the round pad sander will be either figure-8s or ellipses.

As I understand the theory of a random orbit, the resistance across the grain encourages the sander to ‘orbit’ in long ellipses along the grain, minimizing the cross grain portion of the stroke. I dont know how true this is, maybe just marketing hype ;)

-- Dane, Fairview Pk, OH. The large print giveth and the small print taketh away... Tom Waits

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