Restore that Old Palm Sander
Restoring an old palm sander can save the avid woodworker some serious money. Many woodworker hobbyists have an arsenal of sanders for a specific number of different sanding nee.ds Occasionally, you may come across an old palm sander at a garage sale or flea market that, with a little tender loving care, some detailed know-how and an afternoon set aside for work, you can restore that old palm sander to great working condition.
Step 1 – Motor Brushes
A palm sander operates at a high load. After an extended period of time, constant operation will result in wear and tear on the motor brushes. Most palm sander models operate with a two-brush motor. One brush may wear before the other causing poor operation. The tool might run, hesitate for a second and then run again. Brushes never die all at once. They typically wear in time so it is an important step toward restoring an old palm sander to examine the brushes. The brush will have a wear indicator line on it that once hit, call for replacement. Therefore, when trying to restore an old sander, it is important to inspect the brushes first.
Another sign of damage is if the tool starts with a “popping” sound. Locate the brushes referring to your owner's manual. Typically there is some type of metal or plastic cover that will unscrew to reveal the brushes. Sometimes they are spring loaded. You can easily order these online. They are very inexpensive and often are overlooked by unaware owners who believe the tool is dead and ready to be thrown away. You can transform what looks like junk into a revitalized working tool sometimes by simply replacing the motor brushes.
Step 2 – Power Switch
Power switches can also be the source for a problem. The switch unit is typically self-contained and is connected to the tool’s electric wiring. Sometimes a switch will physically “move” when depressed, but the tool will not start. Other indications are a “frozen” switch where the trigger mechanism does not move at all. Sometimes the wire ends, or terminals, that connect the switch to the tools electric circuit appear charred. These self contained units can also be ordered online by brand and model number.
Step 3 – Grip Handle
If that well used old palm sander has a deteriorated handle or grip, don’t despair. Most manufacturers offer new ergonomic grip handles that with removal of but a few screws can have you replacing that old worn handle with a new one. Many new handles are designed and constructed with anti-vibrations technology that reduces stress placed on an operator’s hand when in use. This is an important feature restoring an old palm sander so you can get the optimum use from the tool.
You can make use of a multimeter to check an old palm sander circuitry and power switch to see if either can properly hold electricity.