Problems w/ 1/4 Sheet Sander

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Forum topic by jasoncarpentry posted 08-16-2012 03:27 PM 1012 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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142 posts in 2680 days

08-16-2012 03:27 PM

I have two 1/4-sheet hand sanders: a Makita and a Porter-Cable. Both work fine once you get the paper inserted.

My problem is w/ the Makita. Putting in new paper is a nightmare! The side levers the jaws just enough to remove the old paper. But putting in fresh sandpaper is very difficult because you’re fighting a small opening, and one of the two sides of the opening has teeth (the Porter-Cable works fine without any teeth). I’ve been able to pry the jaws apart a little more using a screwdriver (yes, I know this is a misuse of a hand tool; shoot me!). Then I “pre-fold” the end of the paper so it points up. The results? I just barely get the paper inserted past the teeth, and even then I scrape much of the skin off my poor l’il fingertips. I like the pre-cut 1/4 sheets, but I can’t fully insert them.

I’ve developed a work-around: I cram the paper in as far as I can at both ends, then insert several pieces of cardboard between the back of the sheet and the sander to give me a tight fit. Even then, the cardboard tends to work loose as the sander vibrates, and I have to shove it back in. Redneck engineering? Yep, but I live in Tennessee, so I don’t think I’ve broken any laws. I realize I can lop off one end of the pre-cut sheets, but the length implies that I should be able to fully insert the paper.

Anybody have any suggestions?

-- Jim in Tennessee

5 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#1 posted 08-16-2012 03:41 PM

I “break” the paper on the edge of a bench so it curls evenly
at the ends. This makes it easier to get more paper shoved
up under the clamps.

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 3065 days

#2 posted 08-16-2012 10:21 PM

I have that same Makita sander and it has worked fine for me for twenty years. To insert the paper I first fold back one edge of the sheet 1/4 inch so that you have a fold with the back of the paper to the back of the paper. Insert this folded end of the paper under one of the paper clamps on the side of the pad. Drill a 3/8” hole in the end of a wood scrap and clamp it in your vice so the hole points out tqward you. Insert the end of the clamp release arm inside the hole in the board to help you hold the clamp open while you work the other end of the paper into position. If your paper is still too long fold over both ends. If you don’t like the teeth on the clamps just remove the four screws that go through the pad. this will let you remove the pad and the clamps. Grind the teeth off the clamps and reassamble the parts.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2995 days

#3 posted 08-16-2012 10:28 PM

If you can find an abrasive with a lighter backing paper it would make it much easier.

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1782 posts in 2590 days

#4 posted 08-17-2012 02:38 AM

I have never been too fond of 1/4 sheet sanders for this reason…I hope someday someone comes out with a good one that you don’t have issues with trying to get the paper in and to stay in, but until then I’m not gonna put too much faith into them

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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142 posts in 2680 days

#5 posted 08-17-2012 11:32 AM

Thanks for all your responses. BentheViking: I’ve had similar problems w/ 1/3 sheet sanders also. They can have frustrating jaws as well.

Besides Porter-Cable, does anybody know of a line of sanders w/ “user-friendly” jaws?

-- Jim in Tennessee

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