Combination Sanders... what's the difference between the doo hickey and this doo hickey?

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Forum topic by WorksInTheory posted 04-14-2014 11:11 PM 1355 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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137 posts in 1600 days

04-14-2014 11:11 PM

So finishing is my least favorite part of woodworking. Looking at getting a combination sander but don’t understand the differences between the “Stations”.

For example, most have a circle part and a big belt sander. What’s the diff between the 2 and when do you use which? Like this pic

The Ridgid one has a belt and then it coverts into the cylinders. I get the cylinders are for inside curves and the belt is for edges.

Right now I only own one of those hand sanders – square one. Don’t know if i need a circle one – ROS also.

I maybe like staining more than sanding but I know if you don’t sand well then your staining will suck.

10 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1718 days

#1 posted 04-14-2014 11:22 PM

Sanders like the one you have pictured are great for hogging off lots of material quick with an aggressive grit and can be used for finer work as well with a higher grit. The additional mass of such a machine is also helpful. The RIDGID is good for doing inside curves as well as outside curves and flat edges with the belt, but lacks the mass and power of a bigger machine. Having to combat the side force of an edge sander without a stop installed can be a little more demanding than a belt or disc holding the work piece down against the table. I have used the RIDGID and I own one similar to the one you have pictured, a spindle sander is on my list of things I’d like to add to my shop, but the belt feature of the RIDGID is of no benefit to me.

View WorksInTheory's profile


137 posts in 1600 days

#2 posted 04-14-2014 11:25 PM

SPINDLE! That’s the word! Not cylinders. ha. See how much I know about sanding? Thanks bigblockyeti!

View bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1718 days

#3 posted 04-14-2014 11:30 PM

The spindle usually refers to the steel shaft the rubber cylinder is mounted on and the sanding sleeve goes over that. The terminology is far from exact, I know what you meant.

View dawsonbob's profile


2854 posts in 1753 days

#4 posted 04-14-2014 11:34 PM

As I understand it, the other piece (not the doo-hickey) is a thingamajig. That’s the technical term, anyway.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#5 posted 04-14-2014 11:49 PM

The circle part, the disk, is much more accurate for things like adjusting the fit of a miter joint.
The belt is just faster.
For handheld sanding machines, if all you have used is a square one, I assume you mean a palm sander, no wonder you dread sanding. A round one, a ROS, is infinitely better, faster and cleaner. That last point should not be ignored. You can hook a vacuum to your ROS and it will suck the dust right through the holes in the pad. That does two things. It cuts down on the dust in the shop, obviously, but it also removes it from your workpiece so you are not re-sanding sawdust. This alone probably makes the ROS twice as fast as a palm sander

View Ted's profile


2846 posts in 2209 days

#6 posted 04-15-2014 12:24 AM

...and the ROS is a Random Orbital Sander thingy ;)

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

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2255 days

#7 posted 04-15-2014 12:41 AM

I have the Grizzly sander pictured and it wasn’t my best purchase in terms of paying for itself. I use the disk sander MUCH more than the belt sander. I use the disk for rounding corners, rounding edges on small parts, refining mitered angles, etc. The dust collection is good IMO.

I agree with the others that a good ROS would be a much better purchase at this stage.

If you are like me, you may be overdoing the whole sanding thing. Teri Massachi’s book Foolproof Wood Finishing does a great job of teaching how to sand without going overboard. HTH

-- Art

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2562 days

#8 posted 04-15-2014 12:49 AM

love my ridgid oss

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

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 2996 days

#9 posted 04-15-2014 12:58 AM

IMHO, that belt/disk sander is not a finish sander, nor is the Rigid oss a finish sander either. I definitely agree with Art that “a good ROS [random orbital sander] would be a much better purchase.

In addition to Terry Massachi’s book (which I have never read) you might consider Charles Neil’s “Finishing, Simply Put.” Reviews are posted here: Excellent material.

Good luck.


View WorksInTheory's profile


137 posts in 1600 days

#10 posted 04-15-2014 03:34 AM

Thanks for all the advice. I think I will get an ROS – what’s the best one? (for the value).

Then I will get an disc for shaping and adjusting.

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