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Hand sanding or power sanding? Why?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Rob Fridenberg, Jul 31, 2020.

  1. Rob Fridenberg

    Rob Fridenberg

    Feb 25, 2018
    Location (City & State):
    Novi, Michigan
    There has been a lot of discussion on what type/brand of power sander folks use on this site.

    As a newb - I was wondering what the advantages were of using the power sander vs. holding sandpaper against the spinning form.

    I assume one advantage is a more random sanding groove pattern with the power sander. Correct? Are you able to get a better finish with the power tool?

    Or, is it simply an time efficiency advantage for those that do production turning?

    Thanks in advance for any help!
  2. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

    Nov 27, 2018
    Location (City & State):
    Wayland, MA
    Home Page:
    Yes, both a more random sanding pattern and much faster. Most of us seriously don't enjoy sanding, so anything that cuts down the time spent on that onerous task is well worthwhile, production turning or not.
    Emiliano Achaval likes this.
  3. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

    Jun 6, 2018
    Location (City & State):
    La Grange, IL
    You and Roger are correct. There are some advantages to hand sanding in certain situations, though. If a contour isn't exactly what you want you can use your fingers and sandpaper to finesse the curve. And sometimes the curve that needs sanding is too tight to get at with a pad and drill.
    So it comes down to best techique for the job.
  4. John Hicks

    John Hicks

    Jan 23, 2020
    Location (City & State):
    Hoodsport, Washington
    Just watch out for heat build up, it opens little cracks.
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

    Apr 27, 2004
    Location (City & State):
    Lakeland, Florida
    Home Page:
    For bowls & hollow forms with the lathe rotating the piece
    Hand sanding will leave more visible lines than a disc under power. The inertial sanders leave less visible lines than the powered discs.
    Sanding with the lathe not running or the piece off the lathe the power disc edge can be kept parallel to grain and hand sanding can be done parallel to the grain.

    spindles you are pretty much stuck with hand sanding - I try to cut cleanly enough to sand with 320 and 400.

    When I hand sand spheres held in a cup I rotate the axis of the sphere 3 times for each grit
    End grain to the centers, side grain to the centers, face grain to the centers
    With face grain to centers the growth rings are in line with the sanding marks making them disappear.

    with good sanding technique you won’t see any sanding marks in North American hardwood at 320 grit and 220 grit will do much of the time.
    When you don’t sand with the grain you may need to use 600 grit or higher.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
    Brandon Sloan likes this.
  6. robo hippy

    robo hippy

    Aug 14, 2007
    Location (City & State):
    Eugene, OR
    Emphasis on much faster, especially for bowls, and especially when just starting and your cutting technique is a little rough.... Slower drill speeds and slower lathe speeds allow the abrasives to dig in and cut much better than higher speeds. Too much pressure, when hand sanding or with power sanding will generate more heat, and it will wear your drill out much faster.

    robo hippy
    Curt Fuller likes this.
  7. Dean Center

    Dean Center

    May 4, 2010
    Location (City & State):
    Bozeman, MT
    Can someone explain how an inertial sander produces less noticeable sanding marks than hand or power sanding?
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
    Mark Jundanian likes this.

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