As with many things in life, having the right tool for the job can make the difference between completing your task in a timely and enjoyable manner, and getting it done in twice the time, and with a lingering sense of frustration. Most home improvement stores carry a variety of power sanders that can prevent you from spending hours with a sheet of sand paper in your hand, but in order to make these tools work for you in the best possible manner, you will need to understand the differences of each tool, and the specific tasks each is designed for.
Today, or discussion turns to two power sanders that are often easily confused: the random-orbit sander, and the orbital finishing sander.
As its name suggests, the sandpaper pad of a random-orbit sander moves in small circular motions, while at the same time, spinning. This seemingly “random” sanding motion essentially allows you to smooth out your wood surface, almost as if you were polishing it. The unique sanding motion of this tool prevents scratches and scuffs that other types of sanders may leave on the surface of your wood. This particular sander can be used to smooth edges, and is a great tool for removing paint or stain from a refinishing project.
The orbital finishing sander is similar to the random-orbit sander, in that it also gives you the ability to make flat, curved, or rounded edges of your project silky smooth. Unlike the random orbit sander, the pad on this power tool only moves in tiny circular motions. Most orbital finishing sanders are not extremely powerful, and while you could theoretically use it for smoothing out very rough cuts, as the name implies, this sander does its best work when used to add finesse to your final finished product.