Woodworking Sander Explained For The Amateur Woodworker!

When you are actively involved in woodworking and determined to finish your own projects yourself then it is you who will have to deliver the finishing touches. That’s right, your woodwork project won’t look quitefinished till you do away with the uneven surfaces and cuts and nicks on the wood surface. For this you will need a power tool that is capable of smoothening out the roughness – you will need a woodworking sander.

A sander allows you to even out the rough edges, and the uneven cuts and splinters on the surface of the wood. If you are an avid woodcarver, you cannot think of finishing and staining your carving project till you use a sander.

The sander uses sandpaper as an abrasive agent – the sandpaper moves rapidly to give the wood a finish and shine. Sanders are usually electrically powered and come with a dust holding bag which accumulates the wood-dust when you use the sander.

Sanders can be of many types, depending on their specific purpose – you do get multi-purpose drill cum sanders – but as beginners you had best know about the following varieties –

#1 Belt sanders

# 2 Random Orbit Sanders

# 3 Orbital Finishing Sanders

What’s more, you might be confused – given that you are just a beginner at using a sander for woodworking – hence we also get you a recommendation for each of the sander types.

# 1 Belt sanders
You will use a belt sander when you’re working with a really large plank of wood that needs smoothening. Even the roughest and most uneven wood surface will bow to the brute strength of the belt sander – it uses two cylindrical drums, with the abrasive sloth fitted over these in loops. The front drum spins independent of the rear drum that is motor driven. The tension release motor lets you fit the abrasive cloth on the drums and you’re good to go.

Here’re a few quick tips –

  • When you’re sanding the narrow edges of wooden boards, clamp several boards together and sand – it saves time and power.
  • Always sand parallel to the wood surface to avoid scratches.
  • Never let the sander sit idle – you’ll create a depression in the wood.

Belt sanders come in four standard sizes –

  • 3×18 inch
  • 3×21 inch
  • 3×24 inch
  • 4×24 inch

And now for our recommendation –

Grizzly H6070 Belt and 5-Inch Disc Sander, 1 x 30-Inch

Here’s what’s on offer –

  • 1 inch wide by 30 inch long belt sander
  • 5inch disc sander

This multipurpose sander packs in quite a punch and you can safely use it for sanding intricate patterns, as well as dry sharpening. It’s well balanced, and quiet but with a lot of power.

But it can be a bit tricky to handle if you’re not used to sanding with such a powerful unit. So you might want to take a further look at the product details

Next is the…

# 2 Random Orbit Sanders

Don’t confuse it with the orbital sander – the two power tools look similar and are of a similar design, their purpose is also somewhat same, but – the random orbit sander has a round sanding pad as opposed to the random orbital’s square sanding pad.

The random orbit sander moves in circles and the sand pad makes small round variations within those circular movements. It is one of the most versatile sanding units made though it doesn’t quite smoothen out the wood with the same finesse and speed as the belt sander.

This sander comes with –

  • 5 inch diameter pad
  • 6 inch diameter pad

And now moving on to the recommendation –

 Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

You might have heard that certain sanders have a tendency of slipping out of your grasp – the constant vibration making your hand numb doesn’t help – but with this unit you can rest easy. The textured anti-slip grip makes sure you can hold onto the sander firmly even when working with it for hours.

The dust sealed switch ensures that dust particles don’t get in the way and reduce the lifespan of this unit.


# 3 Orbital Finishing Sanders

The safest bet when you are working on a fine piece of woodcarving that needs utmost care and precision. According to most expert users, you can almost NEVER damage the woodwork with this sander. You need this sander for –

  • Ultra smooth sanding
  • Sanding hard putty made of wood
  • Rounding off sharp edges
  • Taking off dry paint coats

And here is a recommended orbital finishing sander –

Makita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander with Case

  • Smooth finish.
  • Quiet but brilliant performance.
  • Contoured palm grip, sweat proof because it is made of rubber.
  • Efficient dust collection system so that there is no messy clean-up to deal with after you’re done.


For starters, these woodworking sanders are a great way to set your hand – once you get the hang of using a sander, you can not only move on to more difficult projects but also upgrade to more complex machines.


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