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Woodworking Tools: Power Tools – Using a Random Orbit Sander

Woodworking Tips & Techniques: Power Tools – A random orbit sander is a must have tool in your woodworking shop and a great way to sand most woodworking projects. George Vondriska explains the benefits and features of a random orbit sander and the correct way to use this helpful tool.

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22 Comments

  1. what about the speed you need to move the sander ? does it matter ? some
    ppls say to go fast, some to go as slow as 1 in/ sec , your thoughts ? ty !

  2. The pencil lines is a good idea. I’ve used it for years. I thought about
    buying an orbital sander but I don’t think they will hook up to my shop
    vac. Now I don’t think I need one anymore since I bought a drum sander.
    What are your thoughts on this? 

  3. WoodWorkers Guild Of America

    Guillaume, I’ve never actually quantified this, but I do keep the sander
    moving across the work so it doesn’t over sand in any one spot. I estimate
    that I’m sweeping back and forth over a 12” wide area in a second or so.

  4. Very helpful info. Succinct and to the point. Sub

  5. The President of The Internet

    Why is it woodworkers often have arthritic hands?

  6. based on what you said about not pressing down, are the pressure sensors on
    some sanders just a gimmick and uneeded?

  7. What difference would it be to go against the grain? The sanding disc is
    spinning and cutting across/with and against the other grain directions as
    it rotates anyway.

  8. Yeah, it seems weird, but keeping the abrasive moving parallel to the grain
    makes for a slightly better surface than ever moving it across the grain.

  9. My random orbit sander cut the speed down and gets hot
    How can I fix it?

  10. Very helpful for a novice, many thanks!

  11. This was great – thank you!

  12. When I try to finish weathered wood I’ll generally start with 60 grit
    sandpaper but after I am done with the 60 grit I’ll always end up with
    little swirls in my wood especially noticeable when I get to the 220 grit.
    I always go with the grain and only sand till I have the paint or weathered
    areas finished. When I sand I also almost always sand with the rpm’s high
    and rarely slow it down. Can you tell me why I have the swirl marks please?

  13. WoodWorkers Guild Of America

    +mypony891 I’m assuming that you are using a random orbital sander. It is
    not uncommon to see some swirl marks with a coarse grit like 60, but with a
    good ROS you should be able to virtually eliminate these as you progress
    through the grits. In my experience the problem that you are describing
    occurs from trying to progress too quickly through your grit sequence,
    and/or pressing too hard on the sander, particularly with coarse grits.
    The first thing that I’d suggest is to use all of the grit increments that
    you have available to you, especially if you are starting out as coarse as
    60. In other words, go from 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, and 220. Don’t press
    down too hard with any of these grits; let the sander do the work and take
    your time. If you press down to hurry through 60 grit, you will spend a
    lot more time with 80 grit to remove the swirl marks from the 60. If you
    skip 80 and go straight to 100, it will take you much longer to remove the
    swirls left behind by the 60 grit. If you take your time, and be patient
    with every single grit, ensure that all of the previous marks are removed,
    you will cover all your tracks.
    Also, with a ROS, grain orientation doesn’t matter because you should be
    moving the sander slowly, and the actual abrasion pattern is randomized.

  14. Thanks very much for the tips! I’ll give that a try on my current
    project! I have been going from 60 ROS to 100 grit, with the 100grit being
    done by hand since its just sheet sand paper.

  15. Thank you very much for this video. I’m glad I’ve seen it before my first
    attempt with this tool.

  16. Can anyone tell me if I would e able to use a Random Orbit Sander
    vertically as opposed to horizontal. In case you can’t envision what I
    mean, if you imagine there was a piece of wood screwed into the side of a
    building, could I sand it if its at that orientation?

  17. Where to buy the sander and how much per unit

  18. thank you for posting this, I was leaning on the sander a little and it
    begun to dance.

  19. Great idea about scribing the pencil line. I do that across my sharpening
    stones to sand down high spots but it never occurred to me to do it when
    sanding wood. I’m about to christen my Bosch random orbit sander and
    figured it best to see one in operation correctly first to avoid getting
    into bad habits. I think sanding is about to come off my dreaded job list.
    Thanks

  20. Festool says to start the sander with it touching flat on the work surface
    then, as you suggest, pull the sander up and away from surface before
    stopping it.

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