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Sanding is one of the most common activities involved with woodworking. During this process, an individual rubs sandpaper across the surface of the wood to remove splinters and imperfections. This process is usually done against the grain to create the smoothest finish. The sandpaper used during this procedure is just paper with sand or another rough material glued to the surface to get rid of lumps and imperfections. Most wood needs to be sanded, including the boards used to make furniture, porches, and other essentials.
However, very few individuals sand by hand nowadays since there are so many machines that do twice the work in half the time. Among these is the palm sander, which is simple and easy to use while being lightweight. One issue that people always have with these devices, though, is figuring out how to reload sandpaper. That’s what this guide aims to figure out.
What Is a Palm Sander?
A palm sander is one of the smallest and easiest to use devices currently available to carpenters and the average woodworker. It was named because users can manipulate the sander by placing their palm on the top and using manual labor to move the electric sander back and forth across a piece of lumber. It has over double the power of a regular human doing the sanding, and thus leaves a smooth finish and completes work in record time.
Most palm sanders are inexpensive, costing $50 or less. Many also come preloaded with sandpaper, so users often forget that they will be required to load new paper into it when they change projects or the sandpaper becomes useless when the grains are worn down or worn out.
How to Load a Palm Sander
The actual loading of a palm sander is a simple process once you have all the pieces – the palm sander and the sandpaper itself. The first thing that needs to be done is to measure and cut the sandpaper so it fits correctly into the palm sander. Most sandpaper comes as 9 in. x 11 in. sheets that are easy to measure. Now, not all palm sanders will be the same size, so be sure to measure on the device before cutting up the paper. This will help you to not waste product. In general, most palm sanders will require a quarter sheet to be loaded properly.
Next, look for the spring-loaded clips that hold the sanding surface in place. These tend to be in the corners and run along the sides of the device. Do not undo them all the way but move them to the halfway point so you can remove the old paper and insert the new sheet. Make sure the paper is centered around the base of the sander so it sits correctly and will function properly.
Now, do not insert the paper all the way. Instead, fold over the edge about a quarter of an inch. Insert the small, folded over the part on one side, and then let the rest of the paper lay flat along the bottom so the other side of the paper touches the opposite end of the sander. On this opposite end, fold over a quarter inch of the sandpaper and insert it into the gap created by undoing the clips. Once done, tighten the spring-loaded clips back into position so the sandpaper is held in place. Remember, insert the paper so the grain is facing DOWN not up.
How to Choose Paper for a Palm Sander
When sanding, it’s important to pick the right paper. The proper paper is always going to be the one suited for a project. Naturally, there are different types. These types are organized by grit, or what the rough side of the sandpaper is like. In general, the lower the grit on a piece of paper, the rougher it is and the earlier it is used during the process of sanding. For a palm sander, any type of grit can be used, so it’s going to depend on your project what kind of sandpaper enters the device.
Coarse sandpaper tends to be between 40-60 grit. Medium sandpaper has a grit between 80 and 120, and then real fine sandpaper is between 360 and 600. 40-60 grit is for heavy sanding and stripping, while 80 and 120 are is for smoothing and removing some of the imperfections. Finally, 360-600 is used for really fine sanding.
There is also a broad range of grit types: aluminum oxide, garnet, silicon carbide, and ceramic. If you’re going to be shaping wood, you want to go with ceramic, which tends to be the roughest. Aluminum oxide is the most delicate, garnet wears out fast but creates a smooth surface, and silicon carbide works on metal and plastic. Aluminum oxide is sort of self-replenishing since it breaks down easily and winds up forming a rough powder that creates new edges. Garnet is used when you are close to the end of a project and want to smooth the wood, while ceramic is your best bet when you are just beginning a woodworking endeavor.
The process of putting sandpaper on a palm sander is simple once you know what kind of sandpaper you need. All you have to do is slightly open your palm sander to the halfway point, fold over the sandpaper, and then insert it on opposing ends of the device. Then you can close it and begin sanding with ease. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re replacing the paper correctly, look for the specific instructions that came with your device. Just remember to pick the right sandpaper as well so your project turns out like the image in your wildest dreams!
Now that you know how to put sandpaper in your palm sander, you can continue with your woodworking project. If you would like more guides like this, as well as relevant tips, tricks, and product reviews, check out our homepage. We regularly post unique, educational, and entertaining articles that will help you with all things woodworking.