This week's column: #777
| May 10, 2013 #776
| April 26, 2013 #775
| April 5, 2013 #774
| March 28,2013 #773
| March 9, 2013 #772
| February 22, 2013 #771
| February 8, 2013 #770
| January 25, 2013 #769
| January 11, 2013 #768
| December 21, 2012 #767
| December 7, 2012 #766
| November 23, 2012 #765
| November 9, 2012 #764
| October 26, 2012 #762
| October 12, 2012 #761
| September 28, 2012 #760
| September 13, 2012 #759
| August 31, 2012 #758
| August 10, 2012 #757
| July 20, 2012 #756
| July 6, 2012 #755
| June 22, 2012 #754
| June 8, 2012 #753
| May 25, 2012 #752
| May 11, 2012 #751
| April 28, 2012 #750
| April 14, 2012 #749
| March 30, 2012 #748
| March 16, 2012 #747
| March 2, 2012 #746
| February 17, 2012 #745
| February 3, 2012 #744
| January 20, 2012 #743
| January 6, 2012 #742
| December 23, 2011 #741
| December 9, 2011 #740
| November 25, 2011 #739
| November 11, 2011 #738
| October 28, 2011 #737
| October 14, 2011 #736
| September 30, 2011 #735
| September 16, 2011 #734
| August 12, 2011 #733
| July 29, 2011 #732
| July 15, 2011 #731
| July 1, 2011 #730
| June 17, 2011 #729
| June 3, 2011 #728
you have severe allergies to the sawdust from some wood species you can
probably blame Isaac Fisher, Jr. Fisher, who lived in Springfield, Vermont, was
the guy who invented sandpaper. Fisher did this in 1834 and obtained four US
patents that were titled “Coating Paper. In fairness to Fisher however,
sawmills and other woodworking tools and machinery were also to blame for
Probably the one tool that makes the most (and
the finest) sawdust in workshops today is the electric sander. In their efforts
to try to ease the sometimes tedious task of hand sanding the woodworking tool
manufacturers have tried to cover all possible forms of sanding procedures.
of the first of these powered sanders was like the Porter-Cable orbital surface
sander pictured here. This one probably dates back to the late 1930’s and made
one heck of a loud noise and a lot of sawdust when it was being used.
Machines That Make It
cabinetmakers/woodworkers have a number of sanding machines in their shops and
they range from small palm sanders to large combination types and I’ll attempt
to shed some light on these various tools and explain what they do best and how
they do it. We’ll start with the smallest first.
Palm Sander: The palm sander has
always been considered the ‘basic’ finishing sander in professional woodshops.
These have a square sanding pad, usually slightly less than 5” and use a ¼
sheet of sandpaper (the standard sandpaper sheet size is 11” x 9”). The palm
sander is used in finishing due to its speed; the palm sanders pad usually
rotates at 14,000 OPM’s. The ‘O’ stands for orbits, the square sanding pad
actually rotates in very small circles. The Porter-Cable palm sander pictured
has an orbit diameter of 5/64”. The sandpaper is held in place with spring
clips but hook and loop (Velcro®) adapters are available. The palm sander is
designed to be a finishing sander and does not remove a lot of material. The
palm sander should be used with 120 grit and higher sandpaper.
Finishing Sander: The finishing sander
is a ‘1/3rd sheet or ‘half-sheet’ sander that functions in much the
same way as a palm sander but on a bigger scale. The sanding pad is twice the
size and holds the sandpaper with spring clips on the ends. A hook and loop
adapter is available. The finishing sander is a relatively heavy machine that
does not require any downward pressure on it. The finishing sander usually
rotates at 10,000 – 12,000 OPM’s and has an orbit of just less than 1/8”. Some
models have a variable speed control built in. This tool is designed for
sanding larger flat surfaces like table tops or cabinet tops and is for surface
finishing. The Bosch model 1293D is pictured. Use 120 grit or higher sandpaper.
Orbital Sanders: Random orbital sanders fall into two categories,
finishing and rough sanding. The rough sanding orbital sander will be discussed
random orbital finishing sander has a circular pad that is 5” in diameter and
is usually perforated to allow for sawdust collection. The random orbital
sander is a finishing sander and it works through a ball bearing set up that
allows the pad to freely rotate in elliptical motions. The rotation varies
depending on the grit size and the pressure applied to it. The purpose for this
is to eliminate “swirl” spots on the workpiece that are sometimes caused by
palm and finishing sanders.
random orbital sander may rotate at 12,000 OPM’s and many of them offer a
variable speed control. This would allow the sander to rotate between 7,000 and
12,000 OPM’s. The ROS as they are sometimes called are designed for finishing
and should not be used with sandpaper grit numbers below 120. The sandpaper is
held onto the sanding pad with Velcro-type hook and loop fastening. The
Porter-Cable sander pictured is their ‘low profile’ model and has a fairly
efficient dust collection canister attached.
Portable Belt Sander: The
portable belt sander is used for high material removal and is not usually used
with grits higher than 120. The portable belt sander was originally produced in
the early 1930’s like the model shown here. The belt sander uses a loop or belt
of sandpaper that rotates horizontally and is powered by an electrically driven
drum. The inside of the belt rides on a flat paten, a control knob ‘tracks’ the
belt to make sure it rides the rollers correctly.
The portable belt sander is a very aggressive tool and
can remove a lot of material if not handled properly. Generally the sander is
used to sand surfaces with the grain but may be used cross grain for
maximum material removal. The portable belt sanders runs slower than finishing
sanders and has higher powered motors and most have variable speed controls. A
typical portable belt sander runs at 800 – 1,200 SFPM (Sanding Feet Per Minute)
and the most common use a belt size of 3” wide x 21” long. At one time the
sanding belt manufacturers had arrows printed in the inside of the belts. This
was because of the way the belt ends were joined. Newer methods of joining are
Right Angle ROS: This is also an
aggressive sander but is made for more general sanding purposes. The pad is a
6” diameter disc and usually holds the sandpaper with a hook and loop system.
The pad may be perforated (preferred) to facilitate a dust collector and most
have a variable speed control. Speeds are in the range of 4,000 – 10,000 OPM’s.
The right angle random orbit sander is designed to remove a lot of material and
should be used with grit sizes 120 and below. The right angle ROS functions in
much the same way as the random orbital finishing sander but it has a much more
powerful motor and the motor actually forms the handle for the tool.
right angle sanders have a switch that will allow the user to choose a much
more aggressive orbital pattern; the Ridgid model 23963 pictured here has
orbits of 1/8” and ¼”. The random pattern prevents swirl marks even with grits
like 24 or 36 and is more suitable to sanding vertical surfaces.
Detail Sanders (aka Multi Tools): These are
a must for any woodworker doing cabinetry. A detail sander is a hand-held tool
and has a diamond shaped sanding pad that will allow the user to get into tight
corners where conventional sanders can’t go. The motion of the sanding pad is
usually a small orbit usually 1/16” – 1/8” in diameter. The pads are hook and
loop compatible and some types are perforated to allow for sawdust removal.
Most of the better detail sanders today have variable speed controls to better
control the tool. Some range from a low of 8,000 OPM’s to a high of 20,000.
There are those that have interchangeable pads of various shapes for more
versatility. The detail sander can be used for aggressive material removal or
for finish work and is at home in either mode. Detail sanders vary widely by
price and the buyer should look for a tool that offers the least vibration
the past 10 years or so the Detail Sander has developed into a Multi Tool. This
relatively new adaptation allow the tool to undercut baseboards, cut wood,
metals and plastics, remove tile grout, scrape materials like the removal of
floor tiles and much more. The newer tools allow for tool-free
interchangeability of accessories and with the advent of Lithium-ion battery
power are available as cordless tools as well..
Profile Sanders: The profile sander is
a specialty type sander that comes with a variety of ‘plug-in’ shapes rather
than a fixed pad. These shapes are hook and loop compatible and the sandpaper
adheres to their profile. The shapes may be rectangular, for sanding inside
dadoes for example; others may be round-overs or coves of various radii and
fine points for in-close sanding. Most have the variable speed feature as well.
One major problem with these sanders is the availability of the sandpaper
shapes to fit them. The large home improvement retailers carry only a limited
variety if any. The profile sander is designed to be a finishing sander
however; they can aggressively remove material as well.
Portable Oscillating Spindle Sanders: The
oscillating spindle sander is also a specialized type of sander. To this
writer’s knowledge there is only one manufacturer of this very handy tool and
that is Porter-Cable. Their model 121 is a variable speed tool with a range
from 2,400 – 3,600 RPM’s. The oscillating spindle sander is much like a drum
sander that holds a variety of diameters of drums and sanding tubes. These
range from ½” to 2” in diameter and of course there are a multiple of grit
sizes as well.
sander works this way; the spindle rotates and while it is doing this it is
also rises and falls. The purpose is two-fold, as well as preventing burning as
some drum sanders are quick to do, but it also prevents clogging of the
sandpaper. The oscillating sander is used primarily for edge sanding and the
portable version has an edge guide to prevent gouging.
STATIONARY & BENCH-TOP SANDERS
Sanding Center: The sanding center
is a tool that combines a large belt sander and a disk sander that are powered
by the same motor. These can be large stationary tools with a 12” disk and a 6”
x 48” sanding belt down to a bench-top model with a 1” x 24” belt and a 4”
disk. The larger of these sanders generally have the ability of attaching a
power take-off that will operate an inflatable drum or a flexible shaft used
for both carving and shaping or detail sanding. The large models are used to
remove a lot of material, not for finishing. As with portable belt sanders the
sanding belts are loops and fit over a drive wheel and an idler wheel and have
a control to keep the belt in line. The disk accommodates PSA (Pressure
Sensitive Adhesive) sanding disks but there are hook and loop adapters for
them. A fence or table is provided to control the workpiece on both the belt
and disk operations. The belt portion may be lowered into the horizontal
position or raised to the vertical.
Stroke Sander: A stroke sander is a
large stationary sander that resembles a belt sander with the belt running
horizontally and above the workpiece. The workpiece is placed on the
tools table and a hand held pad is used on the back surface of the moving belt.
The pad presses down on the belt and moved to cover all areas of the work
piece. The stroke sander is used for semi-finishing to level the surface of
large flat pieces such as table or cabinet tops. The tool generally has a fixed
speed and is used as a specific step in production cabinet shops.
Spindle/Belt Sander: This tool is made by Ridgid and is quite versatile. The unit is designed to remove material on workpiece
edges. The spindles range in size from ½” – 2” in diameter and while rotating
the spindle raises and lowers. The spindle may be removed and a 3” x 21”
sanding belt can be installed. The belt also has that oscillating motion. The
oscillating helps to reduce burning of the workpiece and reduces wear on both
the belts and the sanding tubes.
drum sander is perhaps better called a surface sander. The better known Delta 31-260X tool has a wide strip of sandpaper diagonally wrapped around and
fastened to a large steel drum. The drum rotates at high speed while an endless
conveyer belt propels the workpiece (table top or cabinet top) through the
machine. Some of these are open ended so that a wider workpiece may be sanded
while others have fixed widths. The most common for the small woodshop is what
is called an 18x36 sander. This means that the tool will sand a piece that is
36” wide by passing it through the 18” drum twice. There are also dual drum
sanders on which you fasten different grades of sanding strips. The tool is
sometimes mistakenly used as a thickness sander. The tool may aggressively
remove a lot of material but should not be forced. It is much more efficient as
a surface finishing sander.
This is our newest feature wherein we try to keep you up
to date on the latest woodworking news and products.
for some new saw blades coming soon to a dealer near you. There is some really
interesting new products under the Irwin Marples label. Marples of Sheffield
has been a trusted brand and has been around since 1828 making all kinds of cutting
tools. To learn more about the new blades click here. Be sure to run
OUR SOMETIMES REGULAR BOOK REVIEW
Summer is the time to
think about landscaping so before you get knee deep in mud, consider this
week’s book first. It will help you not only decide on what to do but how to do
can have a simple grassed-in area around your house or a landscaped treasure of
flowers, shrubs, trees, a patio and even a babbling waterfall to relax in and
this book will show you how it’s done. The authors go into great detail on
building and installing various types of fences.
is a pleasant bench supported with planters on page 234. Fabricating a pool and
a water garden are extensively covered as well as dealing with sloped areas.
is a whole list and description of garden tools and how to safely use them at
the front of the book and a great appendix of trees and flowers and shrubs with
all of their details and planting directions.
a tree or hedge has always been a poser for homeowners and Landscaping
graphically shows you how it’s done.
ideas in this book are bound to increase the curb appeal of any home,
minutes is all it took me to clean a 12’ x 16’ deck with a new product from
Thompson’s. The product is called Thompson's®
WaterSeal® Oxy Foaming Action Exterior Multi-Surface Cleaner. Quite a moniker!
a product!. To make it work you simply add the crystals into warm water in a
watering can, stir it up, dampen your deck and sprinkle the solution onto the
boards. Let the product sit for 10 minutes or so and watch it work. The Oxy
Cleaner will foam up and you will see the dirt being lifted off the deck boards
and that includes mildew and fungus and all of that other crud that accumulates
over the winter. Now, you simply take a stiff long handled brush and scrub the
boards. A good hosing down is all it takes for a clean, looking like new, deck.
don’t know about you, but I dread the annual spring cleaning of my decks as
most other products that I have used have a long list of cautions and
conditions. Not so with Thompson’s Oxy Cleaner and for that reason alone, it
gets our rating. It’s fast, easy and it works!
at DeWalt sure have their thinking caps on. I just received what I first
thought was a hex bit screwdriver holder but on closer inspection (my old eyes)
I realized it was a magnetic ¼” nut driver. But, a nut driver with a
difference! First and foremost this innovative tool is beefed up
and ready for an impact driver.
problem with a lot of these magnetic nut drivers is that they will accumulate
all sorts of steel fragments that over a short period of time will render the
magnetic pull useless. DeWalt solves this problem with a simple slide mechanism
that exposes the magnet for easy cleaning. Problem solved!
the nut drivers that you want in your tool box and they are available in five
sizes up to ½”.
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