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Tip #5
Everything you need to know about Sanding!
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Which power sander is best?

There really isn't any “pat” answer, since each type of machine is designed for a particular job.

Belt Sanders are the fastest-cutting of the abrasive machines and are used primarily for bringing the stock to final dimension and removing deep blemishes from workpiece surfaces. They're available in both portable and stationary models with belt widths ranging from 3" to 36" and more for some heavy, industrial machines. When using a portable belt sander, let the weight of the machine do the work and NEVER apply excessive pressure. With stationary models, a limited amount of pressure may be required, depending on the weight of your workpiece. It's important to always keep the sander or the workpiece moving at all times - especially on veneered surfaces (such as plywoods). If you dwell, you could easily gouge the stock or sand through the veneered surface before you realize it. In addition, for the smoothest finish, always sand WITH the grain of the wood. If you're anxious to remove stock more quickly, sand diagonally or perpendicular to the grain first, then follow-up by sanding WITH the grain.

Disc Sanders are also available in portable or stationary models, although portable models are not recommended for woodworking because they can easily gouge the stock and are difficult to control.

When using a stationary disc sander, always sand on the “down” side of the disc and keep your stock moving. Again, dwells can cause unsightly gouges that could ruin your project. Standard disc sanders will remove stock quickly but are not recommended for finish sanding, since they will leave swirl marks. However, Shopsmith's unique Conical Disc Sander is well suited for finish sanding, since it has been designed to leave a swirl-free finish.

Drum Sanders are used primarily for sanding inside and outside curves and profiles. Shopsmith offers a wide range of small and large diameters and can be used in the Drill Press mode or in a hand-held portable electric drill. The Shopsmith Oscillating Drum Sander moves up-and-down as it rotates, constantly exposing new abrasives as it moves for a smoother finish and less “loading” of the drum. Another unique drum sander is Shopsmith's inflatable or contour Drum Sander. It has been designed for use between Lathe Centers and is inflated with a bicycle pump prior to use. Inflating it to a low pressure allows the drum to conform to different contours...while inflating it to higher pressures is better for flatter surfaces.

Strip Sanders are a smaller version of a belt sander. Shopsmith's Strip Sander can be used with your choice of 1/2" or 1" wide sanding belts in a range of grits from 60 to 600 for coarse to fine sanding, grinding or sharpening. The Shopsmith model also comes with both a flat and convex back-up belt platen, plus a unique feature that permits its use for internal sanding of fine fretwork or cutouts.

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