Coronavirus has put us all in lockdown so, now that you have some free time, you can try out some new and productive activities that you thought about a while ago, but you never really put any effort into it because you didn’t have the spare time. Well, one of those rewarding activities and a personal favorite for me is woodworking, as it can be a total life changer.
Not only is it good for stress and anxiety, but it will definitely increase your daily productivity! By planning and finishing a project, you are motivated to improve your personal skills, by the minute, such as concentration and focus. Also, you’ll never have to lose time again in the hardware store, figuring out what’s the better shelf for your living room, mainly because you can actually build it yourself! Trust me, it’s cheaper and way more fun.
Whether you are already a pro at woodworking or you’re just starting, there are some concerns you might come across while building a project, and one of them is edges. If you’re finding it difficult to reach perfection, regarding curves and more intricate detailing, don’t worry, because there is a perfect solution for that – Edge Sanders, one of the best friends of every woodworker in the world. As you can see on SanderScore there are also some fantastic models out there so you can always find the right one for you. Simple, useful, handy, and quick enough to help you save some time tackling more complex curved work.
Now that I’ve got your curiosity, allow me to explain what edge sanders really are:
What Are Edge Sanders?
One of the main qualities of this type of tool is versatility. The common drum sander is used either for long flat surfaces (it excels on this) or on the majority of the floor (there’s a specific type of mobile drum sander made just for flooring), but the edge sander is perfect for nearly all types of pieces, surfaces and tasks. This tool allows you to face, edge, contour, and bevel your pieces all in one machine! By featuring a table that moves vertically, when you position the workpiece at its precise height, the horizontal sanding belt goes to work on the surface, making the sanding process as effortless as possible – you just need to guide the pieces.
However, it’s a bit heavy and it can take up some space, but again, that’s the weight required for the precision of the work, although there are a few good compact models as well.
Edge vs Drum
Even though they are commonly confused with drum or even belt sanders, this type of machine works differently. Despite their power being fairly well-matched, and both removing about the same depth of wood when using the same grit, each machine sands in a distinct pattern and is best equipped for a different purpose.
If you’re thinking about refinishing projects, for example, there can be some tricky areas that a traditional drum sander can’t reach – while it’s perfect for flat surfaces, it will struggle to smoothly sand anything else, this is where the edge sander comes in. It can effectively smooth and polish curved and intricately shaped surfaces as well as easily remove blemishes like dents, dings, and more. Due to its fair portability, an edger sander is way easier to use and to transport as well (as even though they’re stationary, they don’t weight a tonne like some drum sanders do).
What to Expect From an Edge Sander
Depending on the power and size of the machine, you’ll be able to tackle smaller or bigger tasks.
For a smaller and more detailed workpiece, an edge belt sander can be a major improvement. By operating with a rotating belt that is covered with a sheet of sandpaper, it will give the user a great view of the piece while they work. The belt can go from finer grit to a rougher one, stretching across two metal drums which spins while the belt rotates. This kind of gadget is perfect for smoothing out imperfections on any piece and for creating simple and smooth curves on a surface, for example.
Although there are a huge number of edge sanders for sale, it can be really tricky to choose the right one for you. Most of them differ in the size and types of engines. When it comes to size, you must pick the one that’s suitable for your weight capacity and personal space, so you can easily move the machine when it’s needed and store it in a safe place after you finish the job. The common belt usually rounds up about 6 to 80 inches, perfect for sanding any type of workpiece.
However, the engine is the main thing you need to take into consideration. It works on specific RPM, so make sure you purchase the right model according to the type of work you are doing. With the right powerful motor, you can easily perform any sanding activity. Also, pay attention to the quality and endurance characteristics of the construction of the models. Don’t forget that even though some might come a bit pricey, those machines were made to last a lifetime.
Some Safety Measures
I’ll start with a personal tip – don’t ever store or rest the machine on top of the disc assembly, as the rubber pad might be damaged and cause it to fall, possibly leading to some serious risks. A common one, even though a lot of times overlooked, is to never forget to put on safety goggles and gloves! Also, never leave the machine unattended while plugged in, as you don’t want your kids or your dogs to be snooping around such a dangerous tool.
For rapid removal of wood put it on high-speed mode and for perfect finish cuts and custom work, use the low-speed operation. While working, do not put pressure on the machine, as the weight that comes with it provides enough pressure for all types of sanding.
Lastly, if you’re using a dust collection system, when the bag is 1/3 full or the efficiency of the dust control system decreases, remove the dust bag and empty it into a safe container, away from any flames or metalworking tools.
It’s amazing how an edge sander can be a major improvement to your woodworking arsenal. Now, there are no reasons why you shouldn’t surprise your partner with that more complex DIY project you saw on TV. With the proper edge sander, you can add that perfect and stunningly smooth finishing touch to any piece of wood without causing a total mess to your basement, garage or your own shop.
In the end, it all comes to personal factors, preferences, and project needs. Now that you should have everything you need to know about edge sanders, feel free to pull out the carpenter within you, roll up your sleeves and get to work!