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How to Use a Palm Sander


When refinishing furniture, one of the most important skills is  knowing how to use a palm sander. If the piece you are trying to refinish is not properly sanded, you will not get the finish you want. Everyone has their favorite type of palm sander. I could never get used to using an orbital sander, the ones go around in a circular motion. I also didn’t like paying more for those round sanding paper discs. I preferred the quarter sheet sanders where you could get four usable pieces from one sheet of sandpaper. These were much more economical and since we had our own refinishing shop, we went through a lot of sandpaper.How to use a palm sanderBesides the economy of the quarter sheet sanders, I just didn’t like the feel of the orbital sanders. But again, that is a personal choice

Video on How to Use a Palm Sander

 I found a good video on sHow, showing the proper way to use a palm sander. You will notice the man is using an orbital sander, but his excellent tips work with any palm sander. Here is the video.


How to Use a Palm Sander — powered by ehow

 

I want to add one other important tip. If your piece has a scratch in the wood, the tendency is to bear down harder with the sander to try to sand the scratch away. Besides wearing out your sander faster, you can easily leave an indentation. So you want to suppress the temptation, and sand a much larger area and not concentrate on just the scratch. In general, as pointed out in the video, you want to let the sander do the work. Be careful about choosing a sander that is too light. It might feel more comfortable, but you will end up working harder because you have to apply more force to make up for the weight of the sander.

In order to get the desired smoothness, especially on table tops, or the tops of any piece, you will have to use several different grids of sandpaper. I usually started with a 150 grit, unless it really needed heavy sanding to remove some paint (left over from stripping) or just a rough piece. I would then use 100 or 120 grit. I would then follow that with a good sanding using 220 grit. Sometimes I would stop there, other times I would use an even finer grit if I wanted a higher gloss finish.

We never used a sander when we sanded between finishing coats. There will be another article on finishing, but wanted to be sure you knew this. For sanding between the sanding sealer coat and each finishing coat we used either a sanding block and a fine sandpaper (320 or higher) or a foam sanding block. I will show some of those later.

Here is a comparison chart showing some of the palm sanders I like. I included an orbital sander for those that prefer one of those.

Image
TitleDEWALT D26441K 2.4-AMP Orbital 1/4-Sheet Sander with Cloth Dust BagMilwaukee 6021-21 Random Orbit Palm Sander with dust collection bagMakita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander with CasePorter-Cable 342K 1/4-Sheet Palm-Sander KitPorter-Cable 330 Speed-Bloc 1.2 Amp 1/4 Sheet Sander
ListPrice$93.10$132.00$100.00$93.10$174.95
ManufacturerDEWALTMilwaukeeMakitaPorter-CablePorter-Cable
SKU320076W-MLW6021-21572677417912330P
TitleDEWALT D26441K 2.4-AMP Orbital 1/4-Sheet Sander with Cloth Dust BagMilwaukee 6021-21 Random Orbit Palm Sander with dust collection bagMakita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander with CasePorter-Cable 342K 1/4-Sheet Palm-Sander KitPorter-Cable 330 Speed-Bloc 1.2 Amp 1/4 Sheet Sander
PriceToo Low to Display$51.95$57.99$49.95$84.95
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LinkMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore Info

Here is a chart showing some different sanding blocks.

Image
Title3M 9292 Rubber Sanding BlockPreppin Weapon Sanding BlockMotor Guard WB-1 Wonder Block Supreme Sanding BlockFestool 583129 Pocket StickFix Hand Sanding BlockTime Shaver Tools P10 Preppin' Weapon
ListPrice$6.49$28.99$10.80$13.00$24.20
Manufacturer3MRocklerMotor GuardFestoolTime Shaver Tools
SKUEMY-3420884W-JLMWB14014549141908
Title3M 9292 Rubber Sanding BlockPreppin Weapon Sanding BlockMotor Guard WB-1 Wonder Block Supreme Sanding BlockFestool 583129 Pocket StickFix Hand Sanding BlockTime Shaver Tools P10 Preppin' Weapon
Price$3.70$21.20$9.37$13.00$21.95
Feature1-Sheet
Easy to hold and can be used with regular sandpaper
High-impact ABS plastic, tough rubber pad that is firm for wet or dry use.
Ergonomic shape for complete comfort when sanding.
Stainless steel lever action clips to grip & pull the sandpaper tight.
Tapered edges allow you to get into corners
2-34"W x 7-3/4" L
Unique profile for powerful grip.
Ultra flat face for flawless sanding.
Users of these unique Sanding Blocks report reduced paint prep times, reduced material consumption and increased paint department productivity.
Also ideal for woodworking and home improvement.
Highest quality construction
Hand sanding block with StickFix hook and loop for quick and easy abrasive change.
Convenient for touch ups and knocking down sharp edges or corners.
The Perfect Sanding Block
Cut sandpaper waste by up to 36 percent
Rating4.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars5.0 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars
ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead Reviews
LinkMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore Info

I hope you can now see the value of knowing how to use a palm sander properly. Take your time in selecting the right palm sander since it is a tool you will be using often. I must warn you, if you use a palm sander as often as we did, you will wear them out, no matter how careful you are in using them correctly. We found a service center that would recondition them for less than half the cost of a new one. But we were using our palm sander several hours a day. If you enjoyed this article, I would encourage you to consider clicking the “Like” button and sharing it with friends. Feel free to leave any comments below or ask any qustions, we follow them up on a regular basis. There are many other aticles on restoring and refinishing antique on this site and we will be adding more. Gte a great palm sander and it will be one of your favorite tools.

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