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Orbital vs Sheet

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  • Orbital vs Sheet

    I am new to woodworking, but enjoy it quite a bit, and I'm slowly building my arsenal of tools (all Ridgid)

    Most of the stuff I like working in is basic furniture and custom build millwork (work table etc) and I'm currently working on some wood floors.

    I was wondering what is the main difference of a random orbital sander versus a sheet one? Is one more versatile than other? accurate? cleaner?

    Most of the sanding is fine sanding when applying a finish

    Any help would be much appreciated

    Wojtek from Canada

  • #2
    Re: Orbital vs Sheet

    I probably use my ROS 99% of the time over my finish sander. The ROS is more aggressive and cuts down on the amount of time it takes to sand. The random orbital action also leaves less swirl marks in the wood than a finish sander will. I personally prefer the finish sander for sanding edges and of course it also gets into corners better than a ROS. You probably should have both but if I had to only have one it would definitely be the ROS.
    I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


    • #3
      Re: Orbital vs Sheet

      Just gotta love the forums. Here I am on Dec 26th 2009 looking for an answer to a question, and low and below on July 28 2008 someone else had the same question.

      Thanks for your help and expertise, Badger.



      • #4
        Re: Orbital vs Sheet

        I agree with Badger Dave, I too have both and use my ROS most of the time.

        But, my 1/4 sheet sander is still and essential tool as the paper is much less exensive and is (at least locally purchased) available in much wider variety, than the die-cut 8-hole, 5" hook & loop compatible discs. And, as BD also mentioned, the rectangle shape of the 1/4-sheet finish sander can also get into corners that the ROS cannot.

        I also have a Ryobi Corner Cat, which has a chevron-shaped surface which is great for corners, even more so than the 1/4 sheet, but it is not a cheap to use as the 1/4 sheet material and is in fact even more expensive that the discs.

        Last in my sander inventory is my belt sander. Much too aggressive for anything normal. I reserve it only for the harshest of surfaces.

        So, first pick for me would be the ROS, followed fairly quickly with the 1/4-sheet.



        • #5
          Re: Orbital vs Sheet

          I've got both, another vote for the ROS. I've also got a B&D Mouse sander which I use almost exclusively for sanding corners. It would suffer the same problem as other corner sanders, that only the corners of the paper get used and the rest goes to waste, but B&D gives you multiple replaceable corners with each sanding pad so that it's not particularly expensive, you just replace the H&L corner, or flip it around and you're ready to go.


          • #6
            Re: Orbital vs Sheet

            I bought a RIDGID 6" about 6 months ago. One of those "why didn't I buy one earlier" events in life. It is fantastic. The sheer weight of it helps enormously, not at all tiring to sand vast areas of plywood. In fact, I find it irritating to have to move the vacuum hose so that it doesn't snag the workpiece edge so often.

            I have a B&D Mouse too, and used it today. It's fine for small, fiddly jobs. No dust collection (and I really noticed that after using the RIDGID beast!) though.

            I also have something of an oddity, not sure if it is available in the US. It's a UK source B&D sander, which is clothes-iron shaped. I had it for some years in the UK before emigrating. It is kind of a halfway house, a pointed end, but large flat area. It doesn't have much weight, and dust collection is merely a bag. It does the job though, and is 220V.

            Daddy of them all, my Grandfather's Bosch belt sander. Nearly 30 years old and still kicks ***. I was finishing some shelves today, and it fixed my errors with alacrity. As has been said though, it is somewhat harsh. Not to be used in lieu of toilet tissue!