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Forum topic by JeffP posted 07-10-2015 01:42 AM 826 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JeffP

573 posts in 858 days


07-10-2015 01:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sander finishing

Well, not as old school as a block of wood with sandpaper wrapped around it, but almost.

Here’s the deal. I’m just now getting back into WW after dabbling in it a couple times over the course of my half century on this planet.

During that time, the “normal” kind of sander has changed. I need to understand if this change is as stupid as it seems or I just don’t get it.

Back in the day, your typical power sander did NOT orbit anything, randomly or otherwise. “Back when I was a kid a sander always went in a straight line…we didn’t have none of this new fangled orbitational nonsense!” “Hey, you kids…get off my lawn!”

So, over the years, somebody convinced the public that a sander should wiggle around aimlessly and by doing it randomly enough, it would still rub the wood mostly the wrong way, but since it is random, maybe you won’t see big circles etched permanently into the surface.

Anybody who ever picked up a sanding block quickly learned….you go with the grain, not every which way.

Please educate me. Why do almost ALL of the sanders out there orbit randomly instead of going back and forth like they used to (back in the days before this insanity befell the planet).

I managed to find a small number of such sanders out on the inter tubes. Here is an example of a right and proper sander:
http://www.amazon.com/Makita-BO3710-Finishing-Sander/dp/B002WU950M

It seems to me an ROS might be acceptable for something like auto-body finishing or getting rusty flaking paint off your metal lawn chair…but for wood working????

I’m thinking it makes more sense to use a stationary belt/disc/spindle sander to change the shape/size of a piece…but when it comes to finishing it, back and forth makes more sense than orbital. I just don’t see how ROS fits into the mix for WW.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.


11 replies so far

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

1921 posts in 1222 days


#1 posted 07-10-2015 02:01 AM

Jeff, have you ever heard the old expression “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it”?

Give a ROS a try, you just might like it. I’ve got twenty years on you, and after trying a good (Bosch) ROS, it’s become my favorite.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View JeffP's profile

JeffP

573 posts in 858 days


#2 posted 07-10-2015 02:02 AM

Well, this is embarassing. More careful reading seems to indicate that even these 1/2 1/3 1/4 sheet sanders orbit these days. I’m fairly certain the first one I had back in the day had a lever you could move to choose between back and forth motion and orbit (though in those days it was not random orbit).

The only for sure back and forth ones I can find are air powered. Ugh.

What’s up with that?

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View JeffP's profile

JeffP

573 posts in 858 days


#3 posted 07-10-2015 02:04 AM



Jeff, have you ever heard the old expression “don t knock it til you ve tried it”?

Give a ROS a try, you just might like it. I ve got twenty years on you, and after trying a good (Bosch) ROS, it s become my favorite.

- dawsonbob

Thanks Bob. I have a POS ROS from Ryobi. It is definitely NOT my favorite. Get much better results with a block of wood with sandpaper wrapped around it. (but it does wear you out quickly)

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View dawsonbob's profile

dawsonbob

1921 posts in 1222 days


#4 posted 07-10-2015 02:07 AM

Jeff, at your age you should get a decent ROS, and let that do all the work :-)

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14626 posts in 2150 days


#5 posted 07-10-2015 02:08 AM

The 1/4 sheet palm sander I use does not orbit. And no swirl marks either….

Mine is a Toolshop. Black & Decker and a few others also make them.

Also have seen a LOT of the old all-metal 1/3 sheet finishing sanders out on yard sale tables….$10 a piece..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1783 days


#6 posted 07-10-2015 02:34 AM

Straight-line sanding along the grain is the best and fastest method. Nothing beats a belt sander to quickly smooth out parts – unless the parts in questions have grain going every which way.

When doing face frames for example, a random orbit sander makes it really easy to smooth the joints between rails and stiles.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View JeffP's profile

JeffP

573 posts in 858 days


#7 posted 07-10-2015 03:42 AM

All of the “portion of a sheet” sanders I have been able to find online (including tool shop brand) talk about how many OPM they run at.

OPM stands for Orbits Per Minute.

To me that suggests that they all orbit.

Maybe I’m just fooling myself. Maybe the ones from way back all “orbited” as well, and they just didn’t talk about such things back then.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1492 days


#8 posted 07-10-2015 06:54 AM

The better sanders all orbit at a very high rate of speed (OPMs). The orbits are quite tiny. As a consequence, they leave no swirl marks, and of course as you work your way through the grits, any scratch marks disappear. The first ROS I ever used was a Wolfcraft attachment for a 4.5” angle grinder. I was astonished at the speed and power of that thing. What really impressed me was the ability to sand right across a miter or butt joint without getting cross-grain scratches.

Consider this about the straight line sanding. When you come to a butt or miter joint, what do you do? Straight line sand right up to the joint, but not over it? Takes a lot of care, and a delicate touch, especially sanding a rail that butts against a stile. I remember this all too clearly, as I have even more decades on the planet than you do.

I think PC introduced the principle of high speed orbitals with their Speed Bloc. It put out something like 12,000 OPMs, compared to maybe a couple of thousand straight line strokes (can’t vouch for that latter number)

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2326 posts in 1763 days


#9 posted 07-10-2015 11:16 AM

I have that Makita and it’s a very nice sander. Also have their quarter sheet sander. I also have a couple of random orbit sanders. The ROS won’t give you tendonitis like the orbitals will. MY EXPERIENCE only….

View Daruc's profile

Daruc

459 posts in 599 days


#10 posted 07-10-2015 01:07 PM


Well, this is embarassing. More careful reading seems to indicate that even these 1/2 1/3 1/4 sheet sanders orbit these days. I m fairly certain the first one I had back in the day had a lever you could move to choose between back and forth motion and orbit (though in those days it was not random orbit).

The only for sure back and forth ones I can find are air powered. Ugh.

What s up with that?

- JeffP

One of my first sanders did this. Craftsman, until the plastic gear inside broke.

I use the Mirka pneumatic ROS these days. Never see swirl marks, great little sanders that fit your hand.
I think type and brand of sandpaper also make a difference to the quality of the sanded finish.

-- -

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1492 days


#11 posted 07-10-2015 06:08 PM

I have had at least one sander (Wen, I think), that had the dual mode—orbital or straight line. It was a crappy sander, however.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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