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Thread: Random orbital sander

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Arlington, WA U.S.A.
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    247

    Default Random orbital sander

    So I am at the sanding the body stage of my first project. Some folks recommend a random orbital sander. One more tool that I need on my journey. :-)
    I see that there are variable speed and non variable speed. The Makita bo5031K and the bo5030k are well recommended. The variable speed range goes from 4000 to 12000 RPMs. Any thoughts on the need for variable speed? Perhaps you could use the lower speeds for buffing, Etc? I know nothing about buffing or finishing generally and I am planning on doing French polish at first. I welcome your insights. :-)
    "Why is it that you never have time to do it right the first time, but you always have time to do it right the second time??"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    new westminster bc
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    34

    Default

    Chuck I'm a greenhorn at ukuleles but I've been a hobby woodworker for decades and I've done some finishing. IMHO the orbital sander is a bit of overkill for a something the size of a uke. At 5 " in diameter it won't be much good for the sides and even though its not supposed to leave scratches it can do some serious damage to your project if it gets away on you. Get yourself some sand paper say 150 220 320 and 400 grit and a sanding block and do it by hand. It's pretty hard to mess up a piece by hand sanding. Hand sanding something the size of a ukulele is not hard work and its very satisfying to see and feel the changes in the wood.
    Just my two cents
    Bill
    Last edited by cathouse willy; 11-03-2018 at 04:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Little River, California
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    Default

    I use a fixed speed DeWalt 5" orbital sander (DWE6421K) which can be used to thin wood. It works well. The two things I dislike about it are the weight (heavy) and the on-off switch (can come on by itself). Like the above poster, when I am sanding out for finishing, hand sanding is fine and you don't really need an orbital sander.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Stockport, Cheshire.
    Posts
    309

    Default

    contrary to the above, I'd say the ROS has many uses around the workshop and you may move on to larger instruments like guitars, as I have done. I have the Makita above with the variable speed. For the money it's brilliant and the variable speed is a must, especially for the small difference in cost. E.g. fast speeds for fast removal and slower for finishing. Buy one , you won't regret it. I use 180/240 grit discs to clean up drum sander scratches(80 grit), and it leaves a scratch free smooth finish.
    Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Arlington, WA U.S.A.
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    Default

    Thank you, Bill! Great wisdom there. :-)
    "Why is it that you never have time to do it right the first time, but you always have time to do it right the second time??"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    So. Oregon
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    Default

    If you decide to get an ROS, here is a review of many of the available models:

    https://www.finewoodworking.com/memb...011272043w.pdf

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Redmond, WA
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    Default

    If you're concerned about weight (but not price - they're close to 10x more expensive per Saltytri's review link) the DC models from Festool and Mirka are much lighter and less vibration prone than the AC models. They're a lot more pleasant to use for long periods, though that may not be an issue on something ukulele sized. My hand goes numb and I have to take frequent breaks with the Bosch. Not so with the Mirka.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kapolei, Hawaii
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    1,962

    Default

    My DeWalt variable is a workhorse for me - too much to list.

    If the DeWalt dies, I'd get another one. Admittedly, seriously looking at a Mirka, only because I was looking at a Festool, and the Mirka is only slightly more. Dynabrade is on the table too. Again, would I get another variable DeWalt? Yes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cairns, Australia
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    Default

    I use the Festool ETS 125 (5" disk). It's considered a finish sander because of the size of the orbit. It's abolutely indispensable to my work and it's used every single day. Back top and sides are no problem at all. But then I've had close to 40 years of experience using these tools as an automotive spray paniter and panel beater.

    You can also do a lot of damage in short order if you are inexperienced and or choose the wrong grit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado
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    Default

    There are better sanders that cost $500, (or pneumatic sanders which require a massive air compressor to run) but this Makita is a cracker for $80.

    It's variable 4000-12000 rpm- i use this as a dedicated finishing sander (cuz its the only one that goes down to 4000) with trizact and you could also use it for wood sanding or both. Since buying this Makita, I use my 5" rigid RO (7000-12000 rpm) for sanding wood but i used to use the rigid for both until i found this makita.


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