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What type of sanders do you use?

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  • What type of sanders do you use?

    I'm curious as to what type of sanders you folks use. I have a price range of about $150, and I'm trying to find out what people say are good sanders. I have been thinking about a spindle, oscillating sander, though the reviews are quite mixed.

    I figured I would check with the people that do the same types of art that I do and get your opinions. I do have a couple dremels and one that is mounted in a "dremel drill press" station. However this gives me less than one inch worth of sanding and can be quite limiting. Please let me know if anyone has any of these cheaper model sanders that you might be impressed with. I'm looking to get something in the next week. Thanks. Oh by the way, I'm looking to do Intarsia type work. Thanks folks.

  • #2
    I am not experienced enough to answer, but ScrollingDays (think I got that right) recently posted a thread about Intarsia Tools that will have what you want. Lots of input.

    EDIT: here it is. The poster was Scrolling Days and here is the thread:
    Last edited by SteveK; 12-22-2012, 07:26 AM.
    Steve in Richmond, VA with a DW-788


    • #3
      Steve's link is perfect. My favorite tool for intarsia, actually 2, Pneumatic drum sander and my Jet spindle sander.
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      • #4
        I have a dedicated motor for my sanding mops....I also have a ridgid oscillating spindle sander which is at least 10 years old and going strong, several palm sanders, a random orbital sander, a 1" belt sander with a 5" disc on the side, a belt sander, emery boards and tons of sand paper.
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        Last edited by wood-n-things; 12-22-2012, 10:27 AM.
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        • #5
          I have a 16 or 18" disk sander on a good size motor that I use a lot but I just recently bought a Ryobi spiral sander and I love it. I've been making Band Saw Boxes and it saves a lot of time sanding the inside curves. It will sand up to about 5" tall and has several different sizes of drumbs. Wish I had bought it a long time ago. I found mine on Craigslist for $100.00 with the stand and a box of cylinders.
          I was thinking real hard about a unit from Harbor Freight, they have one with a couple of years warranty I think it was that sounded good but then I found this one already mounted.


          • #6
            So far I use a Milwaukee Orbital Disk Sander and a Craftsman Handheld (has a triangle end.) Those are easiest for me to maneuver.

            I still want a sanding mop! It is on my Christmas list.

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            • #7
              I'd say the best investment I've made recently in sanders is the Seyco Flex Drum sander. It is a bit more than your looking to spend unless you can maybe find one used or make one yourself. This sander is well worth the money in my opinion and is one of those tools that you wonder how you ever got along without it.

              I also have the Ridged oscillating sander like Montana Mike posted and I really like too. I do quite a bit of intarsia work so... if that's what your into you'll need a variety of sanders. Besides the flex drum and oscillating sanders I also have drums that fit into my drill press, sanding mops that I make, belt, disc, palm, dremel, random orbital, a couple of 1/4 sheet sanders, and files. The sanding mops are really handy and should be high on your priority list as well.

              Good luck and have fun!
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              • #8
                Folks do intarsia in different ways I guess. On the larger pieces, I actually round them off with my table mounted router and sand the smaller ones with a Mastercarver. A dremel type tool works well. I prefer Black and Decker ( $28 at Walmart) to Dremel though. Cheaper and stronger in my experience.
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                • #9
                  I don't do intarsia so this may not pertain. I have two sanding mops in different grits mounted in my 1/2" drill. I know this can cause the drill to wear unreasonably, but I don't put much side pressure on them. Couldn't be without them.

                  I also have a Harbor Freight spindle sander that I've used for a couple of years with no trouble at all. I bought it because I wasn't sure how much I would use one so didn't want to spend much on it. Think I got it for under $100.00 when I found it on sale and used their 10% off coupon as well.

                  Last, I have the Dremel mounted in their drill press, but I use that mostly for drilling the holes. A second Dremel is for sanding and grinding.

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                  • #10
                    This is the one that i'm tossing around a bit. It is a little bit more than i wanted to spend but might be worth the extra.

                    Shop PORTER-CABLE 5-Amp Benchtop Sander at


                    • #11
                      The hard sanders such as a belt or hard drum sander will leave very clear planes, In other words, they produce contours that look klutzy and need a lot of touch-up. Soft-back sanders such as the inflatables and the Seyco foam-back produce a much softer and rounded contour.

                      A belt sander will hog off more material quicker, but I find I need the softer sander to finish the a pleasing contour. I use it for segmentation, a poor cousin to Intarsia.

                      Have a look at Seyco's foam-back sander. It is a mandrel that can be mounted in a drill press with 4 different grit sanding foam sleeves. I think it runs around $40 for everything.. Inflatable and foam sanders need a motor running around 1650 rpm and the inflatable drum can be over $100. I think the Intarsia folks like a drum about 9" in diameter by about 9" long. The Seyco sleeve is about 3" diameter by about 9".

                      I got a Wilton belt sander for $119, and have seen them at Sears for about the same price.

                      You may want to consult with the Intarsia folks but this has been my experience.
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                      • #12
                        I have the P-C 6 in. benchtop grinder which I stripped down to the spindles. Then I mounted a flex drum sander on one side and a Wonder Wheel on the other. My other sanders include a Seyco flex drum unit like the one mentioned above as well as an oscillating spindle sander and a Guinevere System which I bought before I knew better. It uses pneumatic drums which are small and good for getting into spaces that the regular flex drums won't reach. I have 2 sanding mops which are absolutely necessary for me.



                        • #13
                          Harbor freight has a 6" x 48" belt sander similar to the porter cable mentioned only a lot bigger, with a stand. I have one and it is my most used tool in my shop. I paid $169 for it two years ago but it is there for $199 now, I think. The added capacity makes a big difference. I recommend the larger machine. I replaced a Ryobi 4"x48" sander with this larger one. The Ryobi also worked well for me for many years.
                          Hegner Polymax- 3,Hegner Multimax-3,
                          "No PHD, just a DD 214"


                          • #14
                            I use these:
                            A porter cable 4" belt and 8" disk
                            A Rioby quarter sheet palm sander
                            A Harbor Freight 4" disk and 1" belt
                            and hand sanding.
                            Attached Files
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                            • #15
                              I have a 1" belt sander, works great except the belt will twist if you remove the backing bar. OK if that's what you want. Also bows in sanding without the backing bar. With the 2 1/2" backing bar, it will leave a small line if you sand anything taller than the backing bar.

                              Have a HF oscillating drum sander. Works OK, except some of the supplied drums are not quite round/centered and will wobble against the work when sanding lightly.

                              Have a random orbital sander that is fantastic. Great finish with 220 and up paper.

                              several hand sanding blocks, and dowels of various size I wrap paper around.

                              Mop sander which I have not gotten the knack of using yet.

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