Orbital sander. Apply pressure or let it float?

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by CyrusF, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. CyrusF

    CyrusF Tele-Meister

    Nov 12, 2016
    I use an orbital sander a lot. But it strikes me that I usually press down on it pretty good when I'll working. When you try that with a file or a saw, it catches and doesn't work as efficiently, so here's my question: should I be applying any pressure or just letting the sander do the work?
  2. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    I just use light even pressures.
    Too much pressure can actually deform the wood and ruin the Velcro quicker.
    My .02
  3. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 1, 2010
    Kent, OH
    I push really hard. One time the pad flew off. And then I was pushing really hard, just for a split-second or two, with just velcro head on the wood. I now need anew velcro head.

    The silver lining is that when this happened, I had to switch to the little square Dewalt palm sander that my wife bought that I, hitherto, had shunned. And it did a much, much better job with similar grit paper.

    I can remember leaning with all my weight on that Porter Cable orbital when we refinished the wood floors in my house 10 years ago. You know on some of the corners and edges I couldn't get with the big drum sander we rented. In retrospect, it's a testament to that thing that it lasted as long as it did.
  4. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    If you push too hard, you diminish the random orbit feature and end up with more of a disk sander. Not a problem unless you don't want swirly grooves in your work. Let it float.
  5. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    You are supposed to apply only light pressure and let the sanding disc to the work.

    In theory..in practical terms I always end up Hulk-ing the stupid thing.
  6. Mase

    Mase Tele-Meister

    Apr 20, 2016
    light pressure and quality paper ;)
  7. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    +1. There is a plastic clutch ring that controls the movement and adds the random jiggling as the pad spins; if you defeat that then it will just spin. If you want fast cutting action that will leave swirls in the wood and will wear out that clutch so it loses the random orbit feature, then by all means lean on it. Otherwise the proper use of a random orbit sander is to sit it on the workpiece, then turn it on, and let it float without additional pressure.
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