How to Sand Wood With a Palm Sander (Step by Step)

Whether you’re about to give a piece of new furniture the perfect finish or to remove paint from an old one, the palm sander is a handy tool to do both.

A palm sander, also known as a finishing sander, is a hand-held, lightweight sanding tool that gives the sanding object its desired finish. This tool is undoubtedly faster than hand sanding. Also, using it, you can give your hand some rest. But more importantly, you can control it with one hand without ruining the surface delicacy.

how to sand wood with a palm sander

Wood Sanding With Palm Sander: How to

Before starting the sanding work, you must take some precautions. Here’s a list of the items that we’ll need for sanding with a palm sander. Get the following things ready before you start the work.

  • The project material: The wood piece that needs sanding or rejuvenating.
  • A palm sander: Corded or cordless.
  • Various grits of sandpaper: It’s better to start with medium-grit sandpaper. But you may wish to start with the coarser one if your project is rough or you’re removing existing paint or finish.
  • Respirator: Wear a respirator to protect your lung.
  • Eye and ear protection: Wear hearing protection and eye goggles to protect your ears and eyes from loud noise and sawdust.
  • Clamps to attach the wood piece on the work table.
  • Lastly, you have to consider if yours is a corded or cordless sander. The corded tools are all good except for a reason for tipping over while working. Battery-powered sanders are the best for outdoor projects where power outlets are inaccessible and workshops that don’t have electricity. However, this option maintains a minimum OPM- orbits per minute level when the battery power is low. So, keep them charged and switch the tool off between work intervals.

Steps

There are multiple steps that you need to follow to work with a palm sander.

Step 1: Choosing Sandpaper

Choose the most suitable sandpaper for your work. Use several incremental grits instead of only one to get a more refined finish. It’s better to start with a heavier grit, like 60 or 80, then move to a finer one- 100, 150, 220, 320, etc. based on your work requirement.

Step 2: Cutting It Into Size

Most sandpaper comes in an 8 and ½ by 11-inch sheet. As every sander comes in different shapes, you’ll want to cut your paper according to your sander’s size. To do that, put your sander on the sandpaper, mark it out with a pencil, and cut the sandpaper according to your sander’s size. For a standard palm sander, there is an easy method you can follow. As they are usually in a square or rectangular shape, you can piece the sandpaper into quarters for a quicker solution. So first, fold it up into quarters. Then break it into pieces and fit into the sander. Anyways, l would recommend the first method to avoid any messy situation.

Step 3: Placing Sandpaper

Pull up the lever on each opposite side of the sander at the same time. Place the sandpaper under the sander, rough side facing outside. Then place the machine in the middle part of the paper.

Step 4: Buckling Up With Machine

Slide the edge of the paper on the slip. Push down the lever on opposite sides at the same time to lock in the sandpaper. Do the same on the other side of the machine. Check the sandpaper if it’s attached properly. Make sure that the sandpaper is very tight in there because you wouldn’t want your sandpaper to be moving around. And now you’re ready to sand!

Step 5: Securing Material on a Worktop

Secure your project material on the worktop with the help of clamps. Make sure it doesn’t move or slip.

Step 6: Turn on the Motor and Adjust the Speed

Check on your palm sander’s speed level and adjust it to a suitable stage of your preference. 

Tip: At this point, you may put on your respirator and ear and eye protectors.

Step 7: Start Sanding

Turn on the sander and apply steady, even pressure following the grain of the wood. Keep your sander flat to the surface of your wood. Go with long, even strokes along the grain. That’s very important. Otherwise, you’ll have an uneven sanded surface. You can also make the corners round, and the joints appear perfect with your sander.

Step 8: Change the Sandpaper

Occasionally keep changing the sandpaper when you notice the current one has done its job. It is necessary to change the paper as the grit can be worn off, which can ruin your project.

Step 9: Repeat the Necessary Steps With a Finer Grit of Sandpaper for a More Refined Finish

Every project is different. So, as you’re sanding, pay attention to your project and work to get the look you’re trying to achieve.

Step 10: Wipe Off the Dust

When you’ve completed your sanding, wipe the excess dust off from the wood with a clean cloth. You may wipe twice if necessary.

Tips

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure

Because of too much pressure on the sander, it doesn’t last long enough. It may burn out the pad. And the velcro pad can wear off the hook and loop system.

A Comfortable Grip

While working for hours, you’ll want a comfortable grip varying the place you hold the sander. It doesn’t matter where you hold your sander. Keep a comfortable grip on it. Hold the sander in place and let the machine do its work. 

Don’t Rub Over the Edges

When you’re working near the edge, watch out for the sharp corners. You might tend to roll over.  In time, you’ll certainly notice that you’ve taken the sharp edge off of the wood.  Again it gets very critical when you’re using veneers. It’s relatively easy to blow off the edges of a veneer, even if you’re a tad bit distracted. So, be careful about that!

Another thing to consider is to wait until your sander comes to a stop before you put it down.

Conclusion 

Operating a palm sander is very simple. Just turn it on and sand. But you must take precautions while working. And remember to follow the instructions I’ve listed above for palm sanders to work.

I hope the tips in this article will help you to create more beautiful projects. Remember to be safe and have fun as you’re working with the cute little palm sander. Thank you!

Relevant Resources:

About Gavin Ford

Hi, I am Gavin Ford. I am a full-time power tools salesperson and a part-time mechanic. I help my friends and neighbors with their tools. Which one to buy, how to buy it, how to use it, methods to fix broken tools, and so on. In I will do the same for the rest of the world. You will get everything you need to know about tools for regular and professional use.

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