Learn About the Different Types of Sanders for Your Woodwork

(Last Updated On: April 26, 2019 )

Woodwork is incomplete without a sander. The finish that comes from a sander is impossible to get with any other tool. A sandpaper do the same work but for a big woodwork project nothing can be best than a sander. It can do much better job than sandpaper or any other tool. Its fast and efficient ability to give a shine and smooth finish is simply unavoidable. One sander is enough to make hundreds of woodwork projects. Simple, easy and fast tool that all you need while working on wood.

Get the best sander that suits your need. However, it is not easy to get it because to ease your work different types of sanders are in the market. Moreover, the regional nicknames of sander will confuse you making you buy an ordinary tool that might not work on your project. Thus, before you get confuse with its name let us tell you what kind of sanders will you see in the market.

11 different types of sanders

Surprised, yes you will see 11 different sanders that are useful in woodwork projects. Some of them are stationary while others are hand held.  However, both of them work on two basic concepts- both they use flat surfaces and they use drums. One with flat surfaces is usually round and that with drum uses belt. They are usually seen in plastics industry or in metal shops.

Surface sanders are also categorized as follows:

Belt sander- in modern workshop belt sanders is usually seen. It has two drums, one is rear motorized while other moves freely and both are wrapped by a sanding belt. Four sizes of belt sander are available – 3x18 inch, 3x21 inch, 3x24 inch and 4x24 inch sanders. All four different sizes are best to give a finish to wood. Belt sanders are common for furniture making as well as woodwork projects of large scale.

Disc sander- the unusual type of sander, disc sander has a round disc and an attachment for power drill. Depending upon the project, one can apply different grit of various sizes. Its hand-held version gives smooth finish by adjusting speed of disc. The stationary version of disc sander is best for metal and plastic work due to its adjustable surface which allows the job to be set at different angles.

Disc sander- the unusual type of sander, disc sander has a round disc and an attachment for power drill. Depending upon the project, one can apply different grit of various sizes. Its hand-held version gives smooth finish by adjusting speed of disc. The stationary version of disc sander is best for metal and plastic work due to its adjustable surface which allows the job to be set at different angles.

Detail sander- This one got different names such as triangle sander, corner and mouse sander. It resembles to an iron due to a triangular pod it has. This is pretty small and has multiple attachments which are best for more precise work. It can reach crevices which is not possible with an ordinary sander.

Drywall sander- it resembles to a metal detector but it’s a disc sander with a handle. Some models of drywall sander come with a vacuum making it easier to collect dust particles. Due to its long handle it is best to work on ceilings for removing excess adhesives and smoothening surfaces.

File sander- finger sander or file sander has extremely narrow belt and is either air powered or electric. Thus, they easily fit into smaller spaces which make it excellent for detail work. Regular sandpaper will not be effective for such detail work.

Orbital sander-  This is excellent tool since it is compact and allow user to handle it with single hand. It is known by various names making it more popular among woodwork artists. Circular sander, pad sander, quarter sheet sander, vibrating sander, finishing sander, sheet sander, palm sander and rotary sander are names by which you will get in the market. It is designed for ultra fine work such as for getting ultra smooth surfaces, round sharp edges and putty. It is light weight tool good for getting sharp edges.

Oscillating spindle sander or OSS- OSS is among different types of sander that belongs to drum family. It has a freestanding table with a stick out sanding drum. It also comes in different drum sizes up to 4 inches in diameter. Few models use standard sanding belts to turn the OSS into a belt sander. It can perfectly smooth the edges of boards and angle the table’s front up to 45 degrees. It is perfect to work on curve surface.

Random orbital sander- its design is similar to orbital sander but has a round pad which can spins in small circular orbits. The dual action sander is an all round sander as it can work as an orbital sander as well as belt sander. The sander comes in different pad sizes and grip variants making it a popular and excellent sander with one handed palm grip. Thus, many workshops uses random orbital sander because of versatility.

Table sander- big, powerful and popular sander, table sander is a stationary belt sander. It is popular in industries and large woodworking shops. They are high power sanders which are commonly used

Floor sanders 

The second category among different types of sanders is floor sander which has distinguished features. They are used for prepping and stripping floors and often come in two basic varieties.

Drum sander- this is a powerful and heavy floor sander in drum family. This is usually rented and requires more than one people to transport. One has to be careful while using drum floor sander it is too powerful to handle and can create gouge marks on floor if not handled carefully. They can remove adhesives, paint and unwanted substances from floors.

Edge sander- good for floor refinishing edging sander is a heavy duty floor sander. It can be used on stair surfaces and edges of floors where drum sander cannot reach easily. They are smaller yet powerful tool that work closely to the ground. Like drum sander, they should be handled carefully or they can damage the floor and cause injury. So, these were the different types of sander that can make your all kind of wood and floor work easier. Most of the sanders are similar and give similar finish but one can differentiate between them depending upon the job for you need. Get the best sander for your work!