Orbital or 1/4 sheet sander?

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Forum topic by BigJerryWayne posted 01-01-2013 06:56 PM 2911 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BigJerryWayne's profile


138 posts in 2277 days

01-01-2013 06:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip sander finishing sanding

I was wondering which one would I would benefit the most from, and what the differences are between the two types are. I am adding to my tools a little at a time.

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

17 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5783 posts in 2987 days

#1 posted 01-01-2013 07:03 PM

Random orbit sander is the only one I use. My 1/4 sheet buzz sander just sits in the cabinet. The old 1/4 sheet sanders vibrate your hand numb very quickly, and tend to get squirrely. The new breed of ROS’s, especially those with variable speed are a vast improvement. They are much easier to handle, and the resulting finish is great.
I like the Bosch and Dewalt 5” sanders. I use them connected to a shop vac.
Good luck.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2214 days

#2 posted 01-01-2013 07:18 PM

The orbital sanders are obviously round because they orbit. That means you can’t get into corners with them if you have that need. Like Willie, I only use an orbital sander because it just does so much better of a job. Someplace around my shop that I would have to search for, I have one of those pointy nose vibration sanders that I can dig out in the event I need to get into corners. What I would normally do is finish sand before assembly to avoid having to sand in corners. If you are only buying one, my suggestion is the orbital.

View GT350's profile


369 posts in 2155 days

#3 posted 01-01-2013 07:22 PM

I prefer my 5” orbital sander. Keep in mind that it won’t get into corners but you can always hand sand those spots. Mine uses hook and loop sandpaper and it doesn’t tear like quarter sheet paper does and it is easier to change paper than the quarter sheet sander.

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 2988 days

#4 posted 01-01-2013 07:26 PM

A fourth vote on the ROS. There is no choice, as far as I am concerned. The advantages of the ROS over the 1/4 sheet sander are numerous. Plus, the 1/4 sheet sander is gonna leave those pesky little swirl marks (pig tails) that like to stay hidden until the finish is applied. Plus you are limited in sanding in regards to grain direction. With a ROS you can sand any direction and when you have grain meeting from different directions (mitered corners, perpendicular, etc) there is no worries of scratching the grains.
So go with the ROS….you’ll love it.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2738 days

#5 posted 01-01-2013 07:37 PM

+1 for ROS. My 1/4 sheet always had problems holding onto the sandpaper and id end up scrubbing with it so it was basically a powered hand sander. Not even sure if I have it any more. Once I went ROS I never looked back and you won’t either.

I get it about the corners but 1/4 sheets don’t get in completely either. I have the sanding attatchment for my osciliating multi tool if I need to or I can always do it by hand.

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

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3097 days

#6 posted 01-01-2013 07:42 PM

I have a Ridgid and a PC orbital. My go to is the PC .

-- Life is good.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2751 days

#7 posted 01-01-2013 09:06 PM

I have and use both, as both have their place.
For flat pieces I use a ROS (dewalt D26456) and on areas with curves and for my small boxes I use a porter cable 330.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2864 days

#8 posted 01-02-2013 03:01 AM

I bought the DeWalt set that had both sanders a long time ago. The quarter sheet sander gets very little use but is nice for sanding curves where the ROS wants to bridge the curve and dig a groove.

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

View robjeffking's profile


26 posts in 2280 days

#9 posted 01-02-2013 03:40 AM

The ros is the best for finishing and swirling out machine marks but the sheet sanders work the best on edge sanding
I also find the sheet sanders works best at holding a heavier paper not to mention you can clamp in non-velcro paper
you may have laying around . Go with the ROS first and look for a model with a sealed on/off switch my first ros sander’s switch was unprotected and failed in less than a year.

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3862 days

#10 posted 01-02-2013 04:33 AM

Go for the ROS first and if you ever need a superb 1/4 sheet , you can’t go wrong with this model : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2385 days

#11 posted 01-02-2013 04:43 AM

I haven’t touched my 1/4 sheet sander at all since I acquired my Bosch oscillating tool.

It gets into corners and does a dozen other chores as well. For most sanding I use a Dewalt orbital sander.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View beech's profile


7 posts in 2206 days

#12 posted 01-03-2013 07:19 PM

Happy New Year!

Love the holidays

Got this great Dynabrade

and a lot of PSA discs to go with it.

Super happy my love found this on the web

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2181 days

#13 posted 01-03-2013 07:28 PM

I have a Makita 1/4 sheet that I bought in 1989. I usedta think it was the best thing since sliced bread. Well except for those dam pesky paper clamps that are such a pain! I bought a ROS (Dewalt) about 5 years ago and havent touched the Makita since then. In fact I bought another about 3 months ago and havent even taken it out of the box yet.
So now you know which way I vote

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View BigJerryWayne's profile


138 posts in 2277 days

#14 posted 01-04-2013 07:40 PM

Thank you for all the input. I am one to look at reviews on things before I buy, and I see lots of positive reviews on the Bosch ROS20VSK. I have a Craftsman C3 pad (mouse) sander for corners. I was at Lowe’s the other day and gave the sanders a good looking over. I think I can hear the Bosch telling me to come get it now, and will probably go get it before the day’s end. I can go to Lowe’s and just walk around and look for at least a couple of hours at a time, and do that quite often. It keeps me out of the beer joints and pool halls, as my dad used to say. lol

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2864 days

#15 posted 01-05-2013 02:46 AM

beech- Yer gonna love that sander! I don’t use that PSA paper though. I use Abranet for the speed, longevity, and great dust collection. Enjoy!

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

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