How To Use a Random Orbit Sander For Finishing

Orbit sanders have been around for a long time and are actually the grandparents of all sanders. When the first electrical power drills were introduced, the sander attachment was one of the first accessories to be sold for home use. However, they weren’t very functional because they had difficulty keeping with a flat surface and would create deep circular rings in the wood. In the past 20 years, orbit sanders have come a long way with the introduction of the random orbit sander.  

How it Works

A random orbit sander works in the same basic way as its older counterpart. However, there is one major difference. The reason why it is much more reliable than older orbit sanders is because of the way that it oscillates. While the sand bit disc rotates in the same fashion, the machine also rotates in an orbital fashion, eliminating any of the ring indentations that older models created.  

Tips for Using your Random Orbit Sander

  • Secure the Work Item

Most types of these sanders use disposable sandpaper discs, approximately 5 inches in diameter, which attach to the bottom of the sander. Before turning your sander on, make sure that you have secured the material you will be working on. Securing the material will not only insure a more finished surface, but will prevent injury if it slips.  

  • Turn on Ventilation

Turn on the ventilation feature of the sander. In order to keep your area clean and keep you safe as well, always purchase a sander that has a ventilation function. It will also help the tool to have a longer life. Do not turn the sander on until you have a firm grip on the handle and have set it gently onto the material. Never turn the sander on before letting it touch the wood because you will be more likely to create an uneven surface, if you do.  

  • Keep the Sander Moving

Once you have turned on the sander, keep it constantly moving and overlapping as sand the wood. Keeping the sander in one place for too long will result in an uneven surface. Some carpenters recommend moving the sander with the grain of the wood for an even smoother finish. Make sure you keep the sander flat at all times and try not to tilt the tool as you move it along the grain to avoid those unwanted circles and create an undesirable appearance.  

  • Finishing the Edges

Stay away from the edges of the material. It is better to finish the edges later if you need rounded edges. Rounding edges while working on the surface can make the material look unsightly and damage the sander.  

  • Create an Even Surface

Remember not to press the tool down too hard into the wood because this will make it more difficult for you to create an even surface.  It can also cause potential damage to the sander and wear out the discs sooner.

  • Finishing 

When you have  finished working, do not take the tool off the wood until you have turned the sander off and are confident that it has stopped spinning. Once the tool has been turned off, clean it, if necessary, and have it ready for later use.