Last Update: 21 May 2020

What is a Finishing Sander

James Kelly
James Kelly

Hi! This is James. I'm a professional writer and working on this field for a long time. Basically I love to write about everything related to tools, diy and home improvement. All my writings speak for itself as I'm passionate about this. I love to explore new things as well as new places whenever I get free time. You'll never find me free for this reason!

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If you are a professional woodworker or do a lot of wood projects on your own, your work involves cutting, chiseling, adding multiple panels together, and so on. But that’s not all of it. What gives your woodwork a proper shape? Is when you use a finishing sander to smoothen the rough edges and bring out the look you initially intend to.

For those who need more context, on what is a Finishing sander? It’s an orbital sander. That means it sands in a rotating pattern. However, some other finishing sanders function in a different way other than rotating. Such as moving back and forth, the design is very much similar to hand sanding.

Sanding a wood piece is mandatory before applying any paint or stain. It also helps to bring out the ultimate outline of your wood crafting work. The critical feature of finishing sander is, it’s ultra-fine work. Not all sander can pull off such a precise job.

Here we tried to create a one-stop solution for you about Finishing Sander. Like, the types, features, and some frequently asked questions for further assistance.

Keep reading to know more about it.

What is a Finishing Sander?

Finishing sander is a particular type of sander tool that allows you to apply a final touch of smoothening before paint. This tool is excellent at smoothing the surface rather than remove stuff or coarse the cover. As this is a power tool, its motor, moving pattern, the applied pressure is significantly correlated to its operation.

Finishing sanders are generally lightweight and small in size. So, users can use it by hand with little or no effort. Some example of finishing sander is Orbital Sander, Random-Orbit sander, Details Sander.

Why Do You Need Finishing Sander?

Sanding work is sometimes not fun. Not to mention the amount of time you have to put in to get the best result. Regardless of what anyone feels? Finishing is an integral part of any woodwork. Understanding the purpose of different sander is also essential. As you know already, not all sander aims for the same result.

Finishing sander is built to address a specific issue, that no other sander can solve. Its lightweight, precise, and gentle. All these properties serve to provide you with a smooth finish on your workpiece. Subsequently, it cannot remove heavy stuff or flat out a considerable bump. There are other sanders to do that for you.

Types of Finishing Sander:

After power sander became popular, manufacturers are continuously inventing new sander with a different design to fulfill every need. Nowadays, people are keen to do lots of handy, DIY project work at home. As long as there is a demand for easy to use sander tool, the manufacturer will continue to invent more efficient sander. Here we added types of finishing sanders for your easy understanding.

Orbital Sander:

Orbital sander is a small, portable, and lightweight power sander. People also know this as palm sander, because it can fit in your hands quite easily. It comes with a small motor, which is enough for finishing touch. These types of sander are only good at smooth finish touch.

The design is straightforward. It has a circular sanding pad, where you attach disk shape sandpaper. The sanding pad rotates when you turn it on. Some orbital sanding tool has a variable speed option to fit your work need. It also comes with a dust chamber, where dust accumulates. Or you can just add your vacuum pipe there to collect dust. This is an effective way to collect dust.

Some orbital sander has a rectangular sand pad and moves in all directions randomly. We call that random orbital sander. Due to the different motion of the sand pad, both tools have different sanding pattern. One advantage with the random orbital sander is, it can clean dust from the sand pad by itself. While moving randomly, it clears out the dirt stuck on the pillow.

Detail Sander:

This tool is a lot like an orbital sander, but instead of a round or rectangular sand pad, it comes with a triangle sand pad. This is a smart design to reach places, and you can’t usually go with an orbital sander.

This tool is perfect for sanding furniture with a compound curve. You just need to put gentle pressure and move along the curve. A professional wood sculptor can get a massive advantage from detail sander.

Another great feature of detail sander is, you can attach any sandpaper to the pad. No need to buy special disk sandpaper. You just buy any sandpaper you like, cut it to the shape, and attach it to the pad. This tool also comes with its locking clamps to hold down the sandpaper.

Belt Sander:

Compared to other finishing sanders, this is a bit big. Bigger size means it can handle a lot more than other sanders. It has a powerful motor to cover the area more effectively.
The design is not that complex. The tool is using a 3-inch-wide continuous sand belt between 2 or 3 pullies. Most belt sander comes with adjusting nob to higher or lower the speed. Also, it has features to keep the belt in the middle while working. So, you don’t need to worry about the strap falling off during work.

This particular design of sander has a dust collection feature. That means less dust in your workshop. This is a big size sander tool also comes with two handles. These two handles are significantly effective at taming its massive motor operation.

Frequently Asked Question:

Q: What is the critical difference between an orbital sander and a Random-Orbit Sander?

A: The orbital sander comes with a circular sand pad, where you attach a disk shape sandpaper. When you turn o the sander, it will start to rotate the disk sandpaper in one direction continuously.

On the other hand, a random-orbit sander has a rectangular sand pad. You can attach any sandpaper matching the pad and lock it into place with built-in clamps. After turning it on, instead of rotation, it moves all the directions randomly.

Q: What kind of Sander should I use to remove stains?

A: In case of removing a stain from wood, a random orbit sander is the best option for you. It has a powerful motor that would be enough to complete the job. Plus, the random moving pattern of the sand pad dramatically helps in preventing the stain from reattaching.

Q: What is grit sandpaper best to remove a stain?

A: It entirely depends on how deep is your stain. Usually, Medium grits sandpaper with rating 120-150 is best for removing old paint. You can start there and move up or down to fulfill your needs. Remember, lower the grit number, the rough it gets. And higher the name means finer sandpaper.

How to Pick the Right Sander

Final Verdict

Sanding is essential to any woodwork. Different work profile calls for different types of sander tools. Though all the sander has its pros and cons. You should know each of them very well. That way, you can be sure which one is best suited for your work.

With that being said, hopefully, we have covered the topic, what is a finishing sander, and cleared any confusion regarding various types.

What is a Finishing Sander? All About Finishing Sander! 1