Belt sander vs palm orbit vs palm sheet


Old 08-20-03, 04:19 PM
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Belt sander vs palm orbit vs palm sheet

Hi folks,

I'm got one of those little B&D "mouse" sanders that I use for little sanding jobs, but I've got some bigger jobs around the house coming up, and I'm looking at what I should use for it.

I was looking at a belt sander vs a random orbit palm sander. Since I've already got a small sander, it's not like I need another palm sander (although I understand the random orbit sanders are better than the one I have).

But a friend said a belt sander will take off a whole lot of wood when you sand, and you can't use it for fine jobs. He tells me that the belt sander is only good for really big jobs (like redoing the side of your house or the outside of a boat).

I won't be doing those kinds of jobs. I'll be sanding some trim around the house, some posts, maybe some drywall goop. And I'll be wanting at least somewhat of a finer finish on at least some of the jobs.

So which should I buy (ignore cost)? I thought the belt sander would compliment the little palm sander I have, but maybe it's overkill? I don't want to get the random orbit sander if my palm sander can do 90% of the same jobs.

Please help!
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Old 08-20-03, 07:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Lake Murray, SC USA
Posts: 1,461
You do not need a belt sander, it is for removing large amounts of wood.

A random orbital sander is much faster than a palm sander, and offers the advantage of not leaving "sanding marks" if you progressively move to smaller grits (higher numbers). It also does not have the tendency to "load up" the sandpaper. I have a 6" and a 5", but discs for the 6" are getting harder to find in the big box stores. The 5" works fine, and most have a vacuum system to keep the dust down.
Old 08-20-03, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
Once I got my random orbital sander, I dumped the belt sander. The belt sander is a lot like a chain saw. There is no job too big for a random orbital sander, no job too fine. I use it for all manner of sanding and buffing. The paper does not load up as with other sanders. There are no swirl marks, even with 60 grit paper. The dust collection through the paper is great. Variable speed enables you to tend to whatever circumstances you encounter.

If you get a ROS, you will find the palm sander is used for fewer and fewer things. I still keep the PC 330 going, though.

Hope this helps.
Old 08-20-03, 08:25 PM
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Wow, that's a pretty thorough endorsement. Thanks!

While you're here, here is the one I'm looking at:

While I wouldn't look for you to endorse it, is there any reason I *shouldn't* get that model? What benefit does having variable speed give a ROS?

Thanks so much!
Old 08-20-03, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,483
I have a Bosch. Nothing wrong with Dewalt. Get the variable speed. There are times that you want to avoid it running at one top speed.

Mine is the predecessor to this one:

I have had mine about 10 years.

Hope this helps.
Old 08-21-03, 05:43 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
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DeWalt's a good choice. I bought mine after reading a head-to-head comparison test in ShopNotes magazine a few years ago. I have one similar to the one you linked, only it's a fixed speed model. Definitely get one that is hook & loop. I have all three kinds of sanders and use the r.o.s. about 99% of the time.

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