Do I Have The Right Sander?

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Forum topic by Alan S posted 04-26-2009 09:46 PM 1341 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Alan S

181 posts in 3340 days

04-26-2009 09:46 PM

I am trying to make an end-grain cutting board. I laminated about 8 strips of wood together last weekend and they didn’t end up perfectly aligned on the top and bottom (This is my first project). I bought a Bosch random orbit sander (ROS20VSK) to try and flatten the panel. I’ve used discs from 120 to 60 grit, but I can’t get the surface flat. The ROS doesn’t seem that aggressive of a sander at all. I am sanding hard maple and padauk, so maybe hardness is an issue? I noticed if I run the ROS off any wood and touch the sanding pad lightly with my finger, it stops spinning. It orbits fine, but it doesn’t spin when very little pressure is applied. Is this normal? I’m starting to think I need a belt sander or something else to flatten this panel. Help Please!! Thanks!!

10 replies so far

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3736 days

#1 posted 04-26-2009 09:52 PM

I generally think of my ros as my finish sander and go to one of my belt sanders for actual wood removal. can’t really comment on yours since I don’t have that sander.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3696 days

#2 posted 04-26-2009 09:54 PM

Sounds like you have a bum sander, I would have to really lean into my sander to get it to stop moving like that. Something might be stripped out.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4337 days

#3 posted 04-26-2009 10:15 PM

Belt sander! I actually use a 36 grit belt for power hackin. Work my way to 100 grit before I even start with the finish sander. The term “finish” might be your clue. If your sander creates dust it is working.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4122 days

#4 posted 04-26-2009 11:10 PM

It sounds like the sander is not working properly. Other than that I support all of the previous comments.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3565 days

#5 posted 04-27-2009 07:12 AM

Is this the long grain lamination? or is it the end grain lamination. If it’s long or edge grain, you really need to plane it flat before crosscutting and turning up on end. Otherwise, you won’t get a good enough glue surface. If it’s end grain, then ya, what everybody else said. I use a drum sander to get my end grain boards flat and then turn to my 6” ROS to finish.

-- Childress Woodworks

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3345 days

#6 posted 04-27-2009 11:47 AM

Having done cutting boards of both end grain and long grain (but still learning!) I would point two things out. Your finish sander isn’t designed to remove the amount of material that you are describing. A belt sander with a fairly aggressive grit would improve the situation immensely.

As for what you have described when putting pressure on the ROS. Given what you initially were trying to accomplish with it, your ROS has probably given up the ghost. Over the last few months I’ve had one finish sander literally shake itself to pieces (it liquified the plastic inside itself—ewww) and another that is only hanging on because I have huge rubber bands holding the hook and loop surface onto the machine. Many of the small, craft oriented machines are really not up to the rigors of serious woodworking.

Best of luck with the cutting board. If it turns out well, post a picture!

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View stahlee's profile


4 posts in 3348 days

#7 posted 04-28-2009 02:44 AM

A drum sander is ideal to flatten your cutting board, but if you don’t have that, then a belt sander would be your best choice. Be careful with the belt sander, you can remove a lot of wood quickly if you’re not careful. Especially if it’s your first time using one.

View mski's profile


439 posts in 4003 days

#8 posted 04-28-2009 03:20 AM

We made a bunch 2 years ago , planed them with a Dewalt planner VERY VERY light cuts, probably 10X each side, then went ROS 80-100-120-150-180-220-320. came out awesome!
One gift recipient said it was like a slab of marble.
Some say don’t plane end grain, but it worked great and my blades were still sharp as a razor, but again light cuts!!
One other thing after planing and sanding, finish quickly, ( End grain is sensitive to warping) we waited a day or two and they started twisting, kept flipping them and when the got straight we finished them and they stayed flat.


View Alan S's profile

Alan S

181 posts in 3340 days

#9 posted 05-05-2009 04:21 PM

Thanks to everyone for all the great responses! I’ve borrowed my dad’s belt sander and it’s made quick work of leveling my panel. I think my ROS is working too, as it has quickly smoothed out the sanding marks from the belt sander.

I’m very impressed with the response I got from my first question on LumberJocks. I’ll definitely be around here more and I’ll try to post pictures once I’m finished with this project. Thanks again!


View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#10 posted 05-05-2009 04:34 PM

I would start with a belt sander of drum sander before a ROA sander .

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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