How To Operate A Palm Sander How To Operate A Palm Sander

What You'll Need
Palm Sander
Sand Paper (60-80 grit)
Dry Cloth
Safety Goggles
Breathing Mask

Learning how to operate a palm sander will give you added skills as a woodworker. There are many different  tasks that a palm sander can handle. Once you have practiced operating the tool, it should become one of your favorites due to its portability and great versatility. Follow these simple instructions for operating a palm sander

Step 1 – Sandpaper Choice

When starting with extremely rough wood, choose a coarse girt (grade) of paper that will get you going. This would typically have you begin with a 60 to 80 grit paper and then gradually work toward a finer grit, like 100. If the wood is smooth to begin with, then start with 100 grit. If you are attempting to return the wood to its original state, an 80 grit is the best choice to start. After making a pass with the 80 grit, change to a 120 and then to a 180 and then 220 finishing up with a 280 grit. Each successive step will remove scratches produced by the previous step. Most sandpapers produced today are made with aluminum oxide. This allows for long lasting and more evenly cutting sandpaper.

Another substance is garnet, which is good for soft wood finishes and used particularly when the wood is to be stained. Also, silicon carbide is used for wet sanding. Palm sanders normally accept a 1/3 or 1/4  sheet, so cut enough from different grits to make sure you have an ample supply for the task.

Step 2 – Insert Paper

Insert either the third or quarter sheet of sandpaper in the palm sander and attach it securely according to the method your model uses. Start with the lowest number – or coarsest – grit paper first. Put on your safety goggles and place the breathing mask over your mouth.

Step 3 – Start the Sanding

Turn the palm sander on and gently apply pressure to a flat area of a piece of wood as you move along following the grain. Use long, even strokes. Move in one direction only. Never move back and forth over a given area because this will produce visible scratching. Only use a palm sander on flat surfaces.  

Step 4 – Wipe and Switch

Once you have made a pass with a coarse grit paper, wipe the surface area clean with a dry cloth. Then switch to a finer grit of paper and repeat the process above. Keep making sanding passes with progressively finer grit paper until you reach the desired smoothness.

Step 5 – Hard to Reach

If your palm sander comes equipped with the capability to switch to a triangle base, do so to reach hard to get to areas, especially inner corners or other edges that a normal circular or rectangular shaped paper on pad cannot contact. If a triangle base still cannot reach certain areas, you will have to finish these by hand. Palm sanders are versatile but extremely fine work in small areas may dictate the need to use a Dremel-like tool or by hand.

Refer to the owner’s manual for additional and specific operating instructions for your model.

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