Different Types of Electric Sanders

What Type of

Electric Sander

Should I be Using?


Electric Sanders - The Many Different Types
By: The Working Man

There are many different types of electric sanders. They
make the job of sanding a project easier. Different sanders
are used for different surfaces so you have to be careful to
choose the right sander for the job.

Electric Sanders include:

- Belt Sander

- Bench Sander

- Detail Sander

- Disc Sander

- File/Finger Sander

- Floor Sander

- Orbital Sander

One important thing to remember is that when you are
operating an electric sander you need to keep it moving.
Leaving an electric sander in one place for even a second
will over sand that area and probably make it so you will
have to re-plane the object you were sanding.

You will also need to remember to change the sand paper
while you are sanding, starting with coarse and going to
finer and finer grades until you get the finish that you
want on your project. One grade of sandpaper will not do all
of the work for you.

There are three basic motions used in sanders:

- Belt

- Orbital

- & Rotary

The belt sander sands in the same direction back and forth,
so that if there are any scratch marks they will move along
the same direction. The orbital sander moves in such a way
as to create small circles with the abrasive sandpaper. The
rotary uses a sanding disc that spins around, the edge
moving faster than the center, and this provides varying
degrees of sanding.

The belt sander removes excess material from your work area
quickly but it is harder to get a really smooth fine finish
as compared with an orbital sander. It is important that
when you are operating a belt sander you go with the grain
of whatever you are sanding. If you go across the grain or
against the grain sandpaper markings will be left on the

You can buy belt sanders that are either bench-mounted or
hand-held. When the piece you are doing is small it is
usually easier to use a bench-mounted belt sander.

The bench sanders are more often than not belt sanders and
usually incorporated into a rotary sander. They can be used
for shaping as well as for sanding purposes. They make
working a piece much easier and rapidly remove excess

Detail sanders are essentially orbital sanders with a
triangular small base plate that can fit into hard to work
areas like window frames, furniture or even small items. A
special, self-adhesive sandpaper must be used with a detail
sander. The small pointed shaped plates make this sander
ideal for sanding into places that can't be reached using
other sanders.

The disc sander isn't as common as other sanders and is
usually used as an accessory for a power drill or fitted
onto a bench-mounted sander. The round abrasive discs spin
the outer edge of the disc faster than the interior of the
disc. They can't be used to get a good finish on a large
flat surface area.

The file or finger sander is a very narrow sanding belt used
to get into narrow areas.

The floor sander is usually rented or hired by someone
instead of being purchased outright.

There are two different types of floor sander the large drum
machine and the edging sander. The large drum sander is a
machine that you walk behind like a lawn mower and sands as
you move. The edging sander reaches the corners of the wood
floor that the drum sander can't reach.

The orbital sander is one of the most common types of
electric sander aside from the belt sander. They can have
square, rectangular or round base plates. You don't have to
worry about the direction of the grain when using an orbital

The shape of the base plate and what model electric orbital
sander you choose will determine whether you can clip or
must adhere sandpaper to the plate. The round plate models
of circular sanders require adhesive sanding discs to be
used on the base plate.

When choosing a square plate or rectangular plate sander
they come in many different sizes to accommodate different
sizes of sandpaper including one half, one third or even one
quarter sheet of sandpaper.

When you are shopping for an electric sander there are some
things that you should watch for, including whether you want
to use a cordless or a corded model, what wattage or volts
you want and whether you need to use a transformer to
operate the electric sander. Also check whether or not the
model has a sand bag that reduces mess.

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