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Sander tools are woodworking power tools that are designed to smooth surfaces to a desired finished state. They come in a whole range of sizes, shapes, and descriptions to fulfill different sanding requirements. These tools can be classified into four broad categories: belt sanders, disk sanders, drum sanders, and vibrating sanders.
The belt sander is the most powerful of the sander tools. It works by rapidly rotating a continuous loop of sandpaper, which is wrapped around two rollers. Belt sander tools are well-suited for heavy-duty sanding jobs, particularly when large amounts of extraneous surface material needs to be removed. The belt sander is often the best choice in the initial stages of large jobs such as smoothing out decks and wood floors.
The disc sander tool is often more versatile than the belt sander, allowing for more maneuverability and varying degrees of abrasion. Disc sander tools work by rapidly spinning circular pads of sandpaper, which are attached by means of either a hook and loop system or simply a pressure sensitive adhesive. These sand paper pads can be replaced once they wear out. There are two distinct types of disk sander tools: pad sanders and random orbital sanders.
The pad sander can be used on a variety of wood surfaces. It is also referred to as a finish sander because it is often used after the more abrasive belt or drum sander to smooth the surface down to a fine finish. There are four different types of pad sander tools.
Each type of pad sander utilizes a different sanding motion. Straight-line sanders use back and forth strokes along the wood grain. Orbital sanders operate in a circular motion. Dual motion sanders can be used with either straight line or orbital strokes. 3D sanders are fitted with three rotating discs that are designed to follow the contours of the work surface.
The random orbit sander tool, also referred to as a dual action sander, is one of the most common and versatile types of sanders available. The tool derives its name from its dual, random sanding action, in which the sand paper disk is simultaneously spun while being randomly moved in an oval loop. This ensures that no section of the disk travels the same path twice. It also creates a smooth finish that, unlike the pad sander, is free of swirls.
Some models of sander are equipped with dust collectors for a cleaner, healthier work environment. These work by means of a vacuum effect that sucks dust into an attached dust bag or canister. Sucking away the dust also helps create an even smoother finish, since the sand paper is not hampered by a layer of dust.
The vibrating sander works by moving a flat pad with sand paper in short, back-and-forth strokes along the wood grain. It is well suited for final sanding and for smaller, intricate sanding projects. Floor models of the vibrating sander are big and heavy, but are still provide better control and a smoother finish than a belt or drum sander tool.
The drum sander is a powerful workhorse of a sander. It t is designed to aggressively remove a lot of surface material, and is designed for use on large areas such as a wood floor. This type of sander works by rotating a cylindrical abrasive surface. The drum sander is used with back and forth strokes along the grain of wood. A vibrating sander or finishing sander is often required to finish the sanding job.