Choosing the Best Random Orbital Sander for Your Woodworking Projects

If you are working on a woodworking project, you’ll eventually come to a point where you need to sand a significant flat surface. There are many of doing this, but one of the most common ones is to use a random orbit sander. Here’s a quick buyer’s guide to picking the top tool for your projects.

What is a random orbital sander?

A random orbit sander is basically the modern version of a dual-action sander that was used some time ago. The problem with a normal disc sander is that it can remove too much material along a certain path too fast leaving a circular mark. The idea behind a random orbit sander is that it creates a random motion for the disc in addition to the usual circular motion. This gives the material a much cleaner and more even finish. This tool is irreplaceable in DIY projects, home improvements and even more esoteric arts such as making electric guitars.

How do you buy one?

What should you look for? Here’s a quick overview of the features to shop for. If you want more in-depth info on some of the best random orbit sander, you may want to check out the huge article on Woodworkify or on Youtube.

Features to look at

Bosch ROS20VSC - one of the best random orbit sanders on the marketFirst of all, consider the size. If you are working on a large flat surface, you may want to go for a 6 inch disc. If your project is smaller, pick a sander with a smaller disc size. Some sanders are also capable of handling discs of different sizes.

Next, sanders may come with a front handle, which allows you to have a good grip on the sander. Some models however, allow you to remove this handle to have better access to inside corners.

Dust collection system

Make sure your tool has a good pleated filter with a dust collector such as a dust bag or a dust canister. You can also attach your sander to a vacuum, so make sure the model you choose allows you to do that.

Orbit speed

Another nice feature to have is speed variability. The faster you sand, the more danger of damaging your work (something called sand-through). You want to be able to use a slower orbit speed for more delicate work. This is also important when sanding other materials such as plastic. The sanding process becomes much easier with variable speed. One more thing to look at in regards to rotation speed is whether a particular model has a soft start – the ability to increase RPMs gradually when turned on.

Sanding paper

sanding disc from a random orbit sanderIt’s important to know what kinds of sanding discs or polishing pads the sander accepts. Some vendors lock you in into proprietary attaching mechanisms, so you can only use sandpaper from them in the future. Something to look out for.

Other features

In addition to the above, you may want to look for a machine that allows you to lock the trigger into the ON position (a lock-on button). This prevents you from tiring your finger too much while working.

Cord length is another consideration: too short a cord will annoy the hell out of you when you have to mess around with extension cables or move your work.

A rubberized grip will help you feel comdfortable holding the power tool while a dustsealed switch will prevent accidents and malfunctions.

To quickly cover some of the possible top picks for the best random orbital sander to have, have a look at these: Bosch ROS20VSC, DeWALT D26453K, Makita BO5041K and Black & Decker BDERO600. These are all excellent tools that won’t let you down and some of these are also Amazon best-sellers.

Here’s a good video you may want to refer to as well:

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Hanging Wallpaper is Easy

Changing wallpaper is a quick and easy way to freshen up your home design.

To accomplish this you will require a cover and tray, scissors, a straight edge, a smoothing tool, a snap off razor knife, sponges and bucket, seam roller, a tape measure, seam adhesive and a paint roller. Measure dimensions of your room to know the exact amount you will require. You can use one of the online wallpaper calculators, such as this one. Begin by measuring the wall height and add two inches to the bottom and top for waste and two inches to the sides for matching. Cut your paper to this obtained length and then draw a vertical line to know where you will apply the wallpaper sheet.

If your paper needs an adhesive, apply using manufacturer’s instructions. For this step, dip the cut sheets of paper into a water bin and reserve the paper by rolling it up as the paste sets. When you start to hang the paper, apply from top to bottom while smoothing out with a wet sponge. Continue with the smoothing tool to smooth out any bubbles. Use a razor and straight edge to remove any excess. So as to avoid overlap, match the pattern and butt the seams while hanging each piece.

After you finish stand back and admire your work!

If you want a more visual guide, check out this video by Lowe’s:

Some Advice on Installing a Laminate Floor

In the last post I talked about cleaning downspouts, but this time it’s something completely different. Let’s have a look at the best practices of installing a laminate floor:

A laminate floor has an equally amazing look as a wood floor and with an array of styles and colors, installation becomes very easy. For this project you will require a jigsaw, a tape measure, a circular saw, a pencil, a level, silicone sealant, spacers, a tapping block, a utility knife, wood glue, miter saw, weights, dead blow hammer, transitions, pull bar and laminate flooring.

Laminate floors are frequently named floating floors due to not being connected to the subfloor. Before beginning, keep the flooring into the room you are installing it in for around 72 hours prior so that it can adapt to the room’s temperature. First, choose your pieces of laminate which will go against the wall. We will want the groove towards the room and the tongue side towards the wall. Cut the tongues off for all the pieces that will go against the wall. Use spacers to keep a gap along the sides of the wall for your moldings and transitions towards the end of the project.

Begin connecting the laminate pieces together while snapping the tongues to the groove. Slice and connect the pieces till you reach the last row staggering the joints. Ensure to apply weights to the already joined pieces in order for your laminate to stay in place. Barriers will need you to use a jig saw, so cut to fit. If you are installing this flooring around a tub or toilet, ensure you apply a sealant around the base to form a tight seal of water (see this discussion). For the last row, calculate the gap, including the quarter inch spacer and cut to fit. Use the hammer and the pull bar to insert the last piece. Lastly, add any moldings and transitions while ensuring you are nailing them into the wall and not into the flooring and you are done!

Cleaning Rain Gutters and Downspouts

Wanted to kick this off with something quick and simple: cleaning rain gutters and downspouts. Here’s a good video to help us:

To clean gutters is a simple task to accomplish but the longer you delay the worse it gets. Absolute cleaning of your gutters every fall and spring will keep them working fully as they should. Debris can accumulate and cause water damage to your roof and also cause damage to your downspouts. In order to clean out your gutters you will require buckets, a trowel, ladder, gutter cleaning attachment, garden hose and gutter sealant.

First clean the downspout removing any dirt, twigs and leaves. Wash out any other debris. If the water does not flow out properly through the downspout, then there is probably a clog. Detach the downspout end and wash out with water. If this does not work, use the full force and power of a plumber’s snake.

If you note that water collects at the gutter bottom, ensure you readjust the gutters in order for water to flow properly to the downspout. Use a gutter sealant on all joints to deal with leaks. Touch up with a primer if you notice any paint damage.