HOW TO USE AN ELECTRIC SANDER – When it comes to sanding down timber it can be hard work if you do it by hand. Today’s DIY enthusiasts don’t have to worry as there are a number of electric sanders on the market that make sanding much easier and quicker to do.
In this guide we provide some practical advice and tips on using a sander and covering some of the different types of electric sanders that are available.
SAFETY – When using any sander, indoors or outdoors, you should always wear a dust mask and eye goggles.
Belt Sander – This sander is ideal for sanding down rough timber and perfect when sanding down wooden floors or timber decking. As its name implies the belt sander is driven by a motor that rotates the belt wheels and attached sandpaper. The sandpaper used is pre-manufacture red for the model and size of belt sander you buy. Installing the sandpaper is easy, just lift the locking level, slide the sandpaper onto the belt rollers and then push the locking level back into the locking position. Do make sure that the arrows, printed on the inside of the sandpaper match the direction of the arrow on the belt sander. For best results when using a belt sander you should always sand in the direction of the wood grain. Before placing the belt sander to the surface of the wood, depress the trigger and let it run at maximum speed and then gently offer it up to the wood, keeping a good firm grip on the belt sander.
Random Orbital Sander – As with the belt sander above, the random orbital sander is very useful at sanding down rough timber. Sanding discs are attached onto the Velcro pad on the sander. You will need to buy discs that are pre-manufacture red for the size and make of your sander. The orbital sander is most useful when working on curved areas of wood, for example, removing paint from curved table legs. To start your sanding depress the power trigger and let the disc run at full speed and then apply to the surface while keeping a firm grip on the sander.
Sheet Sander – Very similar looking to the belt sander, however you do not use sanding belts but sheets of sandpaper. The sheet sander is far less aggressive than a belt sander and is ideal for finishing work to get a really smooth finish on the timber you are working on. You can buy pre-manufactured sheets for the size and model you own, or simply cut sheets of sandpaper to fit. To fit the sandpaper simply lift the locking clamps, slide one end of the sandpaper into the gripper and then lock your clamp. Now repeat this for the other end and you’re ready to start sanding. Note that you can now buy sheet sanders that have a Velcro back for easier attachment of the sandpaper. If you own this type then you will need to buy pre-manufacture red sheets to the size and model of your sheet sander. To sand wood, depress the power trigger and allow the sander to get up to full speed and then, with a firm grip on the sander, offer it to the wood. For best results always work with the grain of the wood.
Mouse / Palm Sander – These come in a variety of sizes and are just perfect for sanding in corners or other tricky areas, due to the triangle shaped head. Most come with a Velcro pad and therefore you will need to buy pre-manufacture red sanding pads that fit the size and model of your mouse or palm sander. Operating a mouse or palm sander is very easy, just attached your sandpaper sheet and depress the power trigger and the offer the sander to the wood. Remember it is always best if you can work with the grain of the wood you are working on.
Many sanders now come with a dust nozzle which can be fitted to the hose on your vacuum cleaner. Others may be fitted with their own dust bags and both are useful in keeping down the amount of dust produced.
Electric Sanders, of all types, come in cordless and cord versions. Which one you use will depend on your preference and where you will be working. Cordless power tools are very popular as they are not restricted to the length of any power cord.