can i use a drywall sander on wood floors?

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       These tools allow you to quickly remove old paint from exterior surfaces, remove veneer, level countertops and do basic metal preparation.
        Orbital sanders are primarily tools for smoothing wood. But they do so much more, and in the process become versatile workshop staples. Use these power tools to remove paint or sand a painted surface to prepare it for the next coat. The tool can remove rust, remove finds from a flea market, and can also be used as a power file to remove sharp edges from freshly cut pieces of metal. Put a 40 grit wheel on the tool and it will work like a grinder; use a 400 grit wheel and it will become polished.
        We regularly use orbital sanders at work and at home, testing, evaluating and getting feedback from users. Check out our purchase recommendations for these trusted tools, our reviews and tips for caring for your grinder.
        Most of our test grinders are random type tracks with 5″ or 6″ diameter round pads. Random Orbit means that the pad rotates and oscillates in a random orbital motion. This reduces the likelihood of swirl marks on the surface and allows the sander to be moved along or across the grain. We also tested an orbital sander (also known as a quarter-sheet sander) with a square pad. These sand tools have sequential orbital motion and are slower than random orbital types. But square pads allow them to grind corners.
        Another difference between the two is that the random track variety has a sandpaper disc that is attached to its base with a hook and loop. Orbital sanders use peel-off coated sandpaper that is pre-cut or cut to size, or use clips on the side of the sander to attach the sandpaper to the tool. Both types of grinders have a bag that collects most of the dust created by the tool. For more thorough dust control, use a grinder with a round outlet for easy connection to the hose of your industrial vacuum cleaner.
        We evaluated both battery-powered (so-called cordless) and mains-powered grinders. At the beginning of our testing, we wondered if the cordless grinder would be made too heavy because of the batteries. But when we weighed both types of tools, we found that they weighed about the same with the weight of the cord. If you spend a lot of time on the construction site and already do a lot of work with cordless tools, choose a cordless grinder. Cordless tools are handy and more mobile when you’re climbing stairs or scaffolding because you don’t have to carry the weight of a hanging rope.
        If you grind for long periods of time at your workstation, choose a corded tool, especially if you can plug the grinder directly into a power outlet without an extension cord. In these cases, wire resistance is not a problem and there is no urgent need for mobility. A good example is sanding a piece of furniture. You simply sand each grit one by one, gradually improving the sanded surface.
        To test the effectiveness of these tools, we drew rectangles on oak, maple, plywood, and cork and sanded each rectangle with an 80 grit sanding wheel. We then empty the container or dust bag to check how much dust the grinder is picking up. We also thoroughly wipe down the work surface to see how much dust the grinder is letting through. In the course of work, we evaluated the grinder for vibrations and the presence of an unpleasant gyroscopic effect when we lifted it from the test board. We examine the polished surface in bright light to see if the tools have left swirl marks.
        Any grinder in this test will serve the homeowner well. Professional grade models such as Makita, DeWalt, Bosch and Metabo-HPT grinders have less vibration and are more durable. For near-professional performance home power tools, check out the Ryobi sander and Craftsman reviews. Also note that less expensive tools with high quality abrasive discs will suffice for most household applications.
       Scroll down to see our reviews, and keep scrolling to the bottom for a quick guide on how to use your grinder and how to protect yourself from the inevitable grinding dust.
        The ROS20VSC is comfortable, sands fast and provides the best dust collection of any corded sander we’ve tested. Due to excellent dust collection (thanks to rubber O-rings on the dust holes, good air circulation and sealed dust container), very little dust remains on the surface lapped against the lapping pad. This means the mat stays clean and lasts longer. Its speed control knob is located behind the handle, it is easy to reach it, but it can also be accidentally knocked out of position. It leaves a very good sanded finish – smoother than the Milwaukee 6034-21 below, but still of excellent quality.
        This little grinder hits the spot. It is not as aggressive as the others, but it sands well and has a high degree of control. For such an inexpensive and simple power tool, it picks up surprisingly well. It’s more of an observation, but the power button is a little tight. Overall, we think the P411 is a great fit for the budget conscious power tool buyer.
        DeWalt’s DWE6421 is a journeyman power tool that is a good, solid, smooth running machine with almost the same sanding feel and performance as the Craftsman below. Noticing the similarity, we made a cosmetic disassembly by removing the base and top of the case. There may be something lurking inside the DeWalt that gives it a durability advantage, but it’s not obvious from above or below. Aside from the color and slightly different rubber surface appearance, they appear to be identical in terms of sanding performance, initial and final speeds, weight and configuration.
        The 6034-21 is the smoothest corded grinder in the range, with a noticeable absence of gyroscopic vibrations and a pleasant, vibration-free ride. It keeps out dust well, but it is very difficult to remove the dust cover from the jar. In addition, it may seem that the lid is stuck, but it is not. You sand for a few minutes and the sander is dusty and a mess, like everything you’ve worked on. Just make sure the cap is fitted correctly and you’ll have an amazing power tool that runs smoothly and quickly, leaving a flawless finish.
        Running at full speed, the DeWalt DCW210D1 is the fastest and most aggressive sander we’ve ever tested. However, it still grinds with little to no harsh vibrations. It’s also important to note that it works better at lower speeds than many other grinders – some grinders show more vibration and loss of efficiency as the speed decreases, but not this one. If you’ve already invested in a company’s wireless systems, this tool is a smart addition. Even if it’s not, this is a great place to start, as you’ll get a grinder, charger, battery, and bag. The company makes everything from drills and impact drivers to saws that use the same batteries.
        The RS290G is a simple and reliable grinder, but its dust collector is nowhere near as efficient as sealed canisters from Bosch or Milwaukee. That’s not to say that it does a poor job of removing dust, given that its competitors do so almost flawlessly. This Ryobi grinder has good speed and power and finished sanding the test area in about the same time as the other grinders. As for the quality of the sanded surfaces, we can say that it is surprisingly good for the price.
        Like the DeWalt DWE6421, the CMEW231 runs smoothly and has a good finish. Even if you look at the disassembly and surface analysis, it is almost the same as that grinder. We can’t say they are mechanically identical, but the DWE6421 likely has heavy duty components that this grinder doesn’t have. But if you’re already part of the Craftsman ecosystem, you might like this grinder even more.
        The SV12SG from Metabo was the only quarter-element (non-vibration) orbital sander tested. This is a good power tool that transmits very little vibration to our hands as we work, and runs a little slower to provide a reliably smooth, frizz-free finish. It picks up dust quite well (although not as well as other corded models), but its dust opening isn’t exactly suitable for a vacuum cleaner. On the other hand, it has a great advantage due to the wide selection of abrasive sheets. You can use peel and stick sandpaper, buy 5.5″ x 4.5″ pre-cut paper made for this type of machine, or buy a 4.5″ wide roll of sandpaper and cut it to size for your sander.
        The Makita XOB01T runs just as fast as the DeWalt above, which is surprising since its top speed is 1,000rpm slower than the yellow competitor. Even with the large battery, it feels well balanced and picks up dust well. flaw? The sander has a strong gyro action that requires a slight forward shift to keep the sanding on the right track. Once you get used to it, you can start.
       (Prices are for the whole set, including two batteries, a charger, and a case. If you only need the tool, see here.)
        You don’t have to press too hard on this sander to keep it in place, it feels like it’s floating above the surface of the board. However, the design of the dust bin and the way it protrudes from the back of the tool is a bit of an annoyance, especially considering it’s a cordless sander, and we wish it was a little more flexible. Thus, the ideal applications are leveling countertops or treating rough spots on wood siding. It might be better to work there than in a drawer. However, to be fair, if you decide not to use a canister, you can easily plug the hose from a shop vacuum into its outlet.
        This Ridgid orbital sander is equipped with a soft start function that increases the speed of the machine with smooth acceleration. Our only complaint is minor: the snug fit of the dust bag collar to the battery makes it difficult to remove the dust bag.
        The Porter-Cable sander is light and powerful, making it a good choice for stair work; you shouldn’t have a problem lifting it over your head when you’re smoothing down the chipped paint. But before climbing the stairs, be careful. It’s easy to think that the little plastic fingers that hold the dustbin in place are involved, but they’re not. If you’re not careful, this can cause dust to splatter, which can create a mess for you and your workspace.
        Sanders doesn’t need much care, but he does. The best thing you can do is use compressed air (or a can of compressed air bought from an office supply store) to blow the dust out of it. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to clean the outside, especially the vents.
        Now, to protect yourself, especially your lungs: Wear a dust mask when sanding. The best models have foam strips that help the mask fit better on the face. They may also have a vent to reduce moisture buildup under the mask.
        Clean up while you work to prevent the accumulation of large piles of talc-like dust. When you’ve finished sanding and are ready to take a break, brush or vacuum yourself before entering the house or other clean places. It’s also a good idea to wear old shirts, overalls, or aprons and leave them in the sanding area so you don’t bring dust into the house. It’s also great to have a carpet outside the store. Remember what your mom said: dry your feet (or take off your work shoes)! This reduces the amount of tracked dirt, which is more than a nuisance. Grinding sand residue on shoe soles can scratch finished floors, and dust that gets in can cause tears and irritate the throat as it travels throughout the home.
        Roy Berendson has been with Popular Mechanics for over 25 years, writing about woodworking, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When not working from his own home, he volunteers at Sovereign Grace Church, doing home renovations for families in rural, suburban, and urban areas of central and southern New Jersey.
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Post time: Jul-03-2023