Most DIY wood projects require expensive tools for them to be successful. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about the price with a palm sander. The palm sander is a low-cost, versatile, and simple tool useful for various sanding tasks. And although being a power tool, a palm sander still needs manual movement and frequent paper replacement. Here’s how to use a palm sander at home for your DIY wood projects.
What’s a Palm Sander?
A palm sander is usually a type of power sander that’s small enough to be handled and operated with one hand. It’s frequently a suitable choice for several home repair chores that need sanding; however, it won’t always do all tasks. Besides, a palm sander is a great finishing tool for most woodworking projects. You can use various materials depending on the kind of sandpaper you choose.
The palm sander usually works by vibrating in a circular pattern. This motion causes an extremely efficient sanding action, smoothing the surface of the wood being sanded. In addition, they are highly flexible and can handle both finish and rough sanding operations. Conversely, if you’re considering purchasing the best palm sander, be aware of its benefits, limitations and drawbacks.
Now that we understand what a palm sander is let’s check out how to use a palm sander.
Steps on How to Use a Palm Sander
Step 1: Choose the right paper
Choose the right sandpaper for the project at hand. Usually, you begin with coarse grit and go to finer papers. To determine which grit is ideal, inspect the condition of the wood. For example, start with a coarse (40-60 grit) paper and work your way up to a medium (80-120 grit) and finally a fine (150-180 grit) paper if the material is abrasive. Conversely, if the material is already in good shape and you want an extra-smooth finish, begin with a fine paper (150-180 grit) and work your way up to a very fine (220-240 grit) or extremely fine (280-320 grit) paper.
- Sanding wood
To sand and strip wood, use a grit of 40-60, and for sanding wood only, use a normal grit of 80-120. Then, for finishing wood, go up to 130 grit, and finally, for superfinishing wood, go up to 180 grit.
- Sanding plaster
A grit of roughly 80 is suitable for sanding plaster or drywall. In addition, a light grit of 120 is recommended for polishing plaster. Then, for superfinishing plaster, you may go up to 180. Also, for extreme finishing plaster, use a grit of 240 to 320.
Step 2: Measure and attach paper
Once you are sure of the grit to use, it’s time to measure and cut the sandpaper to size. Then, insert the sandpaper by opening the palm sander’s clamp lock, placing the sandpaper, then tightening the clamp lock. Repeat on both sides to completely secure the sandpaper.
Note: Don’t forget to put on your gloves, safety goggles, and dust masks.
Step 3: Secure the Material
Clamp the material you’re sanding to the work surface. Then, switch on the sander and accelerate it to full speed.
Step 4: Start the Sanding process.
After switching on the sander, gradually apply pressure to a flat section of a piece of wood while moving down the wood grain. Long, even strokes are recommended. Also, move in one direction. Stepping back and forth over a certain area will result in noticeable scratching and splinters and eventually defeat the point of sanding. Repeat until you get the desired smoothness.
Note: It’s recommended only to use a palm sander on flat surfaces.
Step 5: Final touches
Turn off the sander and replace the sandpaper with one of finer grit. Continue sanding and changing papers until the project is completed. Then, using a tack cloth, remove any sawdust from the wood.