Sanding Tools
for Painting and Staining

Sanding tools work together with sandpaper to more efficiently prepare surfaces for paint and stain.

Palm Sander
Palm sanders are sanding tools well suited for lighter duty jobs. For larger jobs that require sanding through several old coats of paint, palm sanders are much slower than random orbital sanders.

palm sander

The working characteristic of a palm sander is a pad that vibrates back and forth with a high speed circular movement. This scouring action tends to leave sanding marks. The sanding motion should always be in the direction of
the wood grain for unpainted and painted
wood surfaces. Finishing off with finer
sandpaper will also minimize or even eliminate sanding scratches. Palm sanders are designed
to accommodate standard sandpaper sheets. A typical sanding pad uses ¼ sheet sandpaper.

Orbital Sander
A random orbital sander is one of the most useful sanding tools for painting and staining projects. It has the ability to sand through old coats of paint more quickly than a palm sander. An orbital sander combines an elliptical motion with a circular motion, allowing the sanding pad to move randomly. This random motion provides a smooth finish, minimizing sanding marks. There are several different brands of orbital sanders on the market, but they operate in much the same manner.

random orbital sander

Most random orbital sanders are equipped with
a 5 inch diameter rubber pad. A 6 inch diameter pad is also available for some models. Pads are designed to accommodate either hook and loop sanding discs or sticky back sanding discs. Sandpaper discs are available in grits, ranging from 60 (very coarse) to 320 (very fine).

Some random orbital sanders offer a dust collection feature. There are a series of holes in the sanding pad which allow the dust to be sucked into a dust bag attachment. The sandpaper discs must have corresponding holes to work properly. This is a great feature to help minimize dust.

Pole Sander
A pole sander is primarily used to sand walls and ceilings. This tool can be used to sand new drywall or previously painted walls and ceilings. A pole sander consists of a sanding head and an extension pole. A typical size for the sanding pad is 9 inches by 3-1/4 inches.

pole sander head

Individual plastic sanding heads are also available. They have the same basic design as a pole sander head and they attach to a standard extension pole such as one you would use with a paint roller.

Pole sanders can accept standard sandpaper sheets cut to the proper size. A quick way to prepare a standard 9x11 inch sheet of sandpaper is to fold it in half and cut it into two 4-1/2x11 inch sheets. Pre-designed drywall sandpaper is also available.

Block Sander
block sanderblock sanders are the least expensive among the sanding tools. A sanding block is a stiff rubber block designed for hand sanding. It is designed with a hand grip and a flat bottom to apply the sandpaper. This flat surface distributes the sanding pressure, allowing for more even sanding. A typical block sander holds ¼ sheet sandpaper.

A flat piece of wood can be used as a substitute for a rubber sanding block, but it is more awkward to use and it puts more stress on your hand.

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Professional Painting, Inc. is a full service painting company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988.