Poor results from a sanding spindles that doesn't oscillate

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Forum topic by GregD posted 07-12-2011 12:35 AM 1826 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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788 posts in 3158 days

07-12-2011 12:35 AM

I rigged up a home-built sandling spindle on my drill press. At first I thought it would be a satisfactory stand-in for a spindle sander. However, after using it a bit I found that it left significant scratches in the direction of sanding even with high grits such as 220 and 320. The spindle diameter was 3/4” and I ran it about 1800 rpm. Even with a very light touch and moving the work a bit up and down I got much deeper scratch marks than I was happy with. Is that an indication that the spindle needs softer padding? Any other suggestions? Or do I really need to spring for an oscillating spindle sander?

-- Greg D.

10 replies so far

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 2700 days

#1 posted 07-12-2011 12:46 AM

I don’t own a spindle sander but it seems to me if you’re getting big scratches you should try a finer (higher grit number) sand paper.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3158 days

#2 posted 07-12-2011 03:38 AM

The objectionable scratches are deeper and more widely spaced than what one would expect from the grit that I’m using. For example, I had 220 grit on the spindle, but to sand out the scratches by hand I needed to go to 100 grit. I had 320 on the spindle and had to go to 150 grit to get those out. And the scratches are spaced nominally 1mm apart.

-- Greg D.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2712 days

#3 posted 07-12-2011 04:11 AM

I had exactly the same experience as you when I did the drillpress/drum sander route plus my paper seemed to load up REALLY fast. I went to Harbor Freight [gasp], bought their oss for less than $100 and have been really happy with it for over a year.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View holmgren's profile


6 posts in 2804 days

#4 posted 07-12-2011 05:45 AM

I can’t answer your original question because I’ve never used the drill press/drum sander but I recently bought the HF OSS and it works great. I’ve only used 80 grit on it so far and am amazed at the good finish. Less than $100 on sale.

View kpo101's profile


32 posts in 2651 days

#5 posted 07-12-2011 06:02 AM

Try 2400-2600 rpm

-- When the problem becomes just too much, There is always the directions!! Karl O. of Louisiana

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3073 days

#6 posted 07-12-2011 06:34 AM

Your sandpaper is loading up because you are using only a small part of it and it gets HOT. Resin sticks causing dust to stick, and it cooks into a rock-hard mass that will scratch anything it touches. A OSS avoids that by moving up and down allowing more paper to be used and to cool. I too have the HF oss, paid $80 for it and am thrilled. Used it last on cherry, and no blemishes or burns. Get one.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3158 days

#7 posted 07-12-2011 02:59 PM

Steve – When I am sanding the entire width of a 9” panel is in contact spindle that is 10” long, so I’m actually using the whole spindle, kinda like a mini drum sander. I am sanding the end grain of a raised panel. I didn’t notice the sandpaper loading up much, but I didn’t check too closely for that. I was using very light pressure and it started on the first panel after changing the paper.

Karl – IDK why a slightliy higher RPM would work, but that is easy enough to try.

Yeah, a spindle sander is probably in my future. So far I’ve been able to stick to my New Year’s resolution – no new power tools. Last year was a big year for that category. I’m looking at the HF OSS and the Rigid belt/spindle sander, but for now I’m waiting for the after XMas sales.

-- Greg D.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2864 days

#8 posted 07-12-2011 03:18 PM

I don’t know what causes it, but I used to have the same problem with a drill press mounted spindle sander. Then I bought my Ridgid spidle/belt sander combo have had no more problems. I don’t know how I ever lived without that thing.


View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3005 days

#9 posted 07-12-2011 05:32 PM

Since the oscillation is what helps to remove the sanding marks here’s a trick that might help without buying a new sander right away.
Its a thought to try, but if your as coordinated as I am its easier to buy an oscillating sander for around $100. I bought a Wilton for around that much.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2590 days

#10 posted 07-12-2011 05:41 PM

i have the same setup as William and can echo his comments. I am using it constantly.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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