Which Sander?

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Forum topic by interpim posted 04-03-2009 04:34 AM 2141 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1170 posts in 3454 days

04-03-2009 04:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question sander

It’s me again, and it’s time for another round of “Money burning a hole in my pocket!”

Well, I have saved a bit of my allowance up and I need another sander. Currently all i have is a cheap B&D 1/4 sheet palm sander (Jitterbug). I really need something a little more substantial for getting my initial sanding done, besides the elbow grease.

I went to a local tool place today, and asked their advice, and it was obvious they were after the high dollar sale.

My question is, what should I go for first? A random Orbital Sander, or a belt sander? What brands are good, and what brands should I stay away from?

-- San Diego, CA

28 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3984 days

#1 posted 04-03-2009 04:41 AM

A random Orbital Sander will be the most useful. Porter Cable and Bosch are the two that I have experience with and the both work great. Check out the review section here on Lumberjocks.

I think I have used my belt sander about 10 times in the last 10+ years.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3749 days

#2 posted 04-03-2009 04:45 AM

I would go with a ROS as your next sander. I assume by a belt sander you mean a hand held one. These are very aggressive and unless you do very large / thick work you probably will not much use for one. Once again take this with a grain of salt if your style calls for large knock downs a belt sander would work for you. Just my two cents.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3881 days

#3 posted 04-03-2009 04:47 AM

“A random Orbital Sander will be the most useful” to quote Gary above. I have a Bosch and hooking up a dust collector to it is at best troublesome. The 1st thing I’d look for in a ROS is one that hooks up to a dust collector easily.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#4 posted 04-03-2009 04:48 AM

I too use my ROS far more than my belt sander. I have only used it for flattening large glue-ups such as counter tops. But even that is fading as I like to use a card scraper now.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3454 days

#5 posted 04-03-2009 04:51 AM

I usually smooth larger panels with planes anyways, so yes… most of my sanding is going to be general sanding probably the roughest grit around 100 moving up to 240 or so.

-- San Diego, CA

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3348 days

#6 posted 04-03-2009 04:52 AM

I bought Porter-Cable’s 4” belt sander many years ago, still have it, hardly use it. It can be too aggressive and in a moment you can do more damage then good. It has its place, but not for surface sanding in my book.

My sander of choice for surface sanding is my 5” orbital sander. It’s more aggressive then a 1/4 sheet sander but not as aggressive as a belt sander. I keep 80, 120, 150, 220, and 400 grit discs on hand which offers me all the choices of aggressiveness I need. I makes short work of getting anything ready for finishing.

I have a DeWalt, it was a toss up between that one and Porter-Cables (but not the $129 PC, I think that is outrageous for a sander of that type, way too much for one, for what it does), and if I were to do it over it would still be between those two.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3454 days

#7 posted 04-03-2009 04:52 AM

what do you guys think of this sander?

-- San Diego, CA

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3550 days

#8 posted 04-03-2009 05:31 AM

I would try it first but for that price, it seems like a good deal. I have a Porter Cable and like it although the vibration is a little much. My hand gets numb if I have to sand a lot. Much prefer using my planes if I can.

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3748 days

#9 posted 04-03-2009 06:03 AM

I have a few of the Porter Cable 1/4 sheet sanders, they last a long time. I have a couple that are 15-20 years old. My sail boat has a lot of exposed teak that I need to deal with every year so I keep two on the boat as well. I Like being able to cut my own sheets, I use an old hacksaw blade mounted on a board with a thin washer under each end of the blade. I found on the boat that the velcro type sanding discs where a lot higher cost than just cutting my own.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3428 days

#10 posted 04-03-2009 06:28 AM

I like the random orbitals. Like Blankman said, with a few different grits, you can accomplish almost any sanding task. I don’t however go for those reconditioned tools any longer. Every time I have ever bought one, it was nothing but trouble. Some people probably get away with it. I never do.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4059 days

#11 posted 04-03-2009 06:50 AM

The price on that Makita looks good. The Makita BO5012K got good marks in a 1996 FWW review, with a good scratch pattern. They make good tools in my experience.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View LesB's profile


1725 posts in 3438 days

#12 posted 04-03-2009 07:04 AM

My general impression on Mikita is that they are “second” grade tools. OK for the occasional home repair guy similar to B&D but not adequate for serious wood workers.
I have two Porter Cable 5” ROS and use them often. One is the older style Model 7335 that uses adhesive disks (it comes with hook pad). It is more aggressive but changing adhesive disks that are not worn out can be a little wasteful because the disk can seldom be re-attached. I fold them back on themselves and use them for hand work. It has a dust collector but must be attached to a vacuum which is a pain.
The other is the newer low profile type with the hook pad. While not quite as aggressive the quick change of grit with the hook pad is very convenient and the built in dust collector works moderately.
My Recommendation: Go for the Porter Cable low profile with the dust collector.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#13 posted 04-03-2009 11:54 AM

The concern I would have is that it is a reconditioned sander, and agree with Gary’s comment about reconditioned tools. I am a firm believer that, with tools, you get what you pay for.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 3811 days

#14 posted 04-03-2009 03:51 PM

I’ve had 2 porter cable ROS’s burn up in the last 3 years. The last one the brake quit working and would just spin out of control if you didn’t have pressure on the tool. I switched to a variable speed Milwaukee and it works pretty good. But i’ve also gotten away from sanding as much, I’ve started using smoothing planes, scraper planes and card scrapers to get my final smoothing on my wood.
The new Porter cable with the low profile has gotten alot of good reviews and they are supposed to have changed the type motor that they are using.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3870 days

#15 posted 04-03-2009 04:08 PM

I read a few really good reviews on the Milwaukee 5” ROS so I bought one about a week ago. So far I’m very pleased with it.

-- -- --

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