orbital vs. oscillating palm sander - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Default orbital vs. oscillating palm sander

I am finishing a finger jointed box approx. 5"x7". I want iot to have the smoothest finish possible. Which is a better choice, orbital or oscillating (back & forth motion)
pakm sander?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 06:06 PM
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I like orbital for removing material quickly. For a small project yours I would choose hand sanding for the final surface prep then hand sand between finish coats.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 08:01 AM
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A random orbital will give you abetter finish than a oscillating sander will but even with an orbital one some are better than others because they make smaller "orbits. As Oliver said hand sanding will give you the best as long as you don't skimp on the grades of paper.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 09:06 AM
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I also prefer the random orbital sander and have not used my oscillating sander in years. That being said, finish is so much more than just sanding. You have not mentioned what type of wood your project is made from. Softer woods tend to tear and create very small fibers that microscopically protrude above the wood surface. Sanding will not remove all of these and scraping as a final step may be required to remove these fibers. Stain choice is also a factor. Water based stains will raise the grain of the wood. I prefer oil based stains for that reason. You also did not mention what finish you plan to use. Polyurethane does not require the wood be as smooth as say an oil finish might. For poly, I tend to sand to 220 grit, apply 3 coats of finish with a very light hand sanding with 400 grit between coats one and two and then use 000 steel wool with a furniture grade lemon oil on the final coat to remove any final dust particles and give it a nice polish.

For oil finish, search for the the Jarrah box project posted by Harrysin (Harry Sinclair) on this forum. He sanded his box to 1200 grit before applying 5 coats of Danish Oil and his project looks awesome.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 09:29 AM
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Barry, my first choice for finish sanding is almost always hand sanding.

That said, I have a Porter-Cable random orbital that has orbital adjustment that goes from barely to aggressive. I have sanding screens for it that go up to 600 grit so it almost becomes a polisher.

I also have an antique P-C belt sander that was used in a casket factory for everything from rough sanding to final sanding. I've never mastered the latter but I love it for the initial sanding of large surfaces like doors.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bariatric Barry View Post
I am finishing a finger jointed box approx. 5"x7". I want iot to have the smoothest finish possible. Which is a better choice, orbital or oscillating (back & forth motion)
pakm sander?
I would use a card scraper then hand sand with 320 grit paper. The smoothness will come from the finish. Sand between coats.

Al
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Default orbital vs. oscillating palm sander

Thanks so much for your advice. I knew there was a reason I love this forum.....glad to be part of it.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 04:20 PM
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Default Proud finger joints

In sanding the boxes I make, I prefer to use a belt sander to flatten the finger joints down to the level of the sides. I have found that using an orbital sander to do the job leaves the surface uneven so I just use it for finish sanding, running up the grits to the desired smoothness.

Using a stationary belt sander I hold the box side up against the belt applying light pressure until the side is even all the way across, knocking down any protruding fingers.
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