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Hi Guys & Gals,

Bit of advice needed please.  I am new to woodworking and I'm in the process of setting up and equipping my work area in my garage.  I am making a list of power tools I need and researching the makes etc.  I am pretty sure about the make/model of router and circular saw I will be buying later this week.  I want to buy one or two power sanders but I am a bit stuck on the type that I should buy initially.  I know it depends on the type of work you intend doing but all I can say at the moment is that I want to get into general woodwork making stuff for the home and garden.  Any advice on the type of sanders I should aim for would be appreciated.  I have the funds to buy two to start with and prefer corded to battery powered as they will only be used in my workshop.

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Hi James,

Really grateful for the reply.  I am assuming that getting into corners is done by hand.  Most of the small shaped sanders with pointed surfaces I have seen get bad reviews.  I was thinking a random orbital and a belt sander might serve all my needs.


I'll second what James suggested, and while you're at it I'll recommend getting a shop vac attachment for your random orbital sander. I'll definitely cut down on having to empty the little bag that comes with these sanders.

Three sanders should meet all of your needs.  Not all have to be purchased at once.


The first to be purchased, in my opinion, is a random orbit sander for surface sanding.


The second is a disk sander for edge and end grain sanding.  There are some machines on the market that are a combination disk and and stationary belt sander.  They are good but probably not the right pick for you with a limited budget.


The third is a portable belt sander for heavy duty work.  If you are building garden furniture from 2 by lumber this might move up to "second" to purchase.


Brands??  I am partial to Dewalt and Portacable myself.  A bit more money but solid quality and performance.


Good Luck! 



A random orbital is a great start.  A belt sander is another, and I cannot say enough about the Fein Multimaster.  It not only can sand in tight places, but can make very thin kerf cuts in places no other type of tool can.  Of course, today there are many copy-cat oscellating tools that work like the Fein, and if budget is an issue, even Harbor Freight has a couple different models for well under $00 and about a third of that on sale.


I have a B&D 3x21 belt sander that is light to madium duty and a Ridgid 3x21 that is a workhorse.  Several smaller various brand sanders are also in my collection including the original Roto-Zip and ZipMate.


If you are near a city where The Woodworking Shows have a scheduled event, by all means attend.  I save 30 - 70% on tools and accessories every year when they come to the Houston TX area. 


Thanks you guys.  Really appreciate the help.  I'm off to buy my power tools on wednesday (10% off day for us oldies) and think i'll stick to the random orbital at first.  Will take it from there from experience gained.  I have just drawn up plans for my workbench which will be my first project from thursday onwards.  Watch this space.  Thanks again you all. 
I'm a huge fan of Makita sanders...they last a long time, and the surface for accepting the hook and loop disks is solid, rather than just a thin surface glued on. That type fails quickly...

I highly recommend Bosch tools.  I have both a 5 & 6 inch random orbit Bosch sanders.  They have served me well for over 10 years.  I also recommend a good shop vaccum.  I have several but I prefer the
Freud.  Very quiet and powerful.  Also the automatic ON feature is worth the extra money.

Cheers.  Lloyd


I really like my Milwaukee 6021-21 varible speed random obrital, it does a great job for a reasonable price, and is consistantly highly rated.  Connect it to a vac and there is very little dust.  Out of all the different types of sanders I have, this is my go to for most jobs.

Greetings and welcome to woodworking.


I have a Ridgid R2601 orbital sander purchased from Home Depot. I like Ridgid tools because they have a lifetime warranty. I have owned Craftsman, Porter Cable and Black and Decker models. The Ridgid model serves me well, has an easy to attach dust port for shop vac or larger dust collection system. I also recommend a fixed sanding model with stick on paper option when the orbital is not as convenient or useful. The Dremel corner sanding feature works adequate and offers multiple uses around the shop and home.


I also suggest you consider a small single stage dust collection system with at least two inlets of 4 inch and a fine dust removal feature. Mine has replacement transparent collection bag and small micron filter sack on top. Many offer these, Grizzly has an excellent model. I made the mistake of ordering from an online tool company and had to modify the unit in order to make it work efficiently. I suggest you purchase a model with a cleaning option to keep your filter clear and functioning properly.


Have a blast creating saw dust.

For general use I use two sanders. Both are Porter Cable. One is their 6" random orbital that looks like an angle grinder and the other is their 5" random orbital palm sander. I keep a fine grit on the 5" and 100 grit on the 6". I rarely use my belt sander since getting the 6" ro sander. Porter Cable makes excellent products that will last a very long time. I agree with the others, get a good shop vac for the dust. PC makes a dust collar for the 6" sander so you can attach a vac. The 5" comes with the dust collector but I use the vac in place of that also.  Enjoy!!

I agree with most of the other posts, the first is a small random sander.  I like the smaller ones that fit in the palm of your hand.  Much easier to control and get better pressure. 


I got a long very well for years with a half sheet random motion sander, but when my son introduced me to the palm sander, it changed my life.  I still use the half sheet sander if there is a large flat surface, and I have a belt sander, but only need that for floors and decks and other outdoor type stuff.


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