How to Use a Palm Sander

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If you’re a hands-on worker with wood, you will know the troubles of trying to polish your work. However, if you are new to that, don’t worry—you can also do this! We will never know how difficult it is to do the finished product unless we try it ourselves. So, are you ready? It is naturally strenuous to work with things manually, especially with sanding. We have sandpapers but that alone wouldn’t exactly be practical to use—it will take you a long time to get that furniture done nicely. Of course, we would not want a sloppy and dissatisfying outcome.

Thanks to the technology we have right now, you would not have to think that dreadful stage of trying to polish the wood! With the help of palm sanders, you will find this task easy, effective, and convenient for you. Feeling a bit alien to this? No worries. Here, we will tell you more about this handy device and more things you should know along with How to use a Palm Sander. In no time, you will be able to get the woodworks polished by no one else but you!

Come on.

Let’s get to work.

The Things You’ll Need

A palm sander

There are a lot of palm sanders available right now, but here are some notable brands this 2017 you might want to consider:

  • DEWALT D26441 2.4 Amp ¼ Sheet Palm Grip Sander — this unit is known to be high-quality, durable, and lightweight (weighing only one pound). Contains 2.4 Amp generating 14,000 OPM capacity.
  • Makita BO4556 2 Amp Finishing Sander — this is yet another durable palm sander model to watch out for. The comfortable handle minimizes the vibrations during usage and it has a 200-watt power output.
  • Milwaukee 6020-21 ¼-Sheet Orbital Sander — with a 3.0 Amp motor generating 14,000 OPM, this is the famous palm sander people know. When you have tough things to polish, this one should be at the top of your list.
  • Porter-Cable 330 Speed-Bloc 1.2 Amp ¼ Sheet Sander — this particular model is quite small as compared to the others. However, it is also relatively heavy with its 4-pound weight. You wouldn’t have to apply that much pressure and the work will be easy for you with this model.


Knowing the type of wood you will be working on is important. This is because the type of sandpaper paper you’ll need will depend on the coarseness of the wood. For example, if you’re working with rough wood, you’d want to work with 60-80 grit sizes for that. Basically, what you want to happen is to work your way gradually until you get to use the finest type.

  • And of course, the wood you’ll be working with.

Now that you have the materials on hand, let’s proceed to the steps!

#1 Place The Paper

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Pay attention to the method done for this according to the palm sander machine you are using. After placing the portion of sandpaper as needed, seal it in. Make sure that it is secure to avoid inconveniences in the following steps. The guides you’ll need for this are commonly indicated in the package of the palm sander. If you’re not sure on what to do exactly, you can consult the right people who are knowledgeable in such model you’re using. Searching for videos or guidelines with the specific brand you have will help. Also, try visiting their website or call them if you cannot find the instructions anywhere. Not being able to secure the sandpaper properly will definitely not create the results you are expecting. Load the sandpaper right—you won’t get any further when you do not accomplish this step first.

#2 Safety First!

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Of course, when it comes to using hardware devices, you should always take measures in ensuring your safety. Wear a dust mask to keep your nose and mouth away from the unwanted debris. If you have allergies from dust or you just get irritated with it (poor you), do not forget to wear a dust mask before even turning on the device. Another is the safety glasses. It is not exactly a good feeling when you have dust particles stuck in your eyes. You will most probably stop with what you’re doing just to get rid of that. Prevent this from happening by using safety glasses. You wouldn’t be prolonging the process of your finished work. Always remember that with everything you do here, you should always be cautious and not to be rash with your actions. I wouldn’t want you to get hurt, you know.

#3 Turn On The Device& Work On It

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Plug in and press the button to turn it on. As you are working on the device, make long & even strokes. Do not apply too much pressure as this will result in the damage of both your device and potentially, the outcome of the wood as well. Be gentle with handling your device and refrain from doing short strokes over the same places repetitively—that will result in uneven surfaces and could even lead to a more visible scratch. Be very cautious and meticulous in this step. Working out on this will actually take quite a time depending on the wood you have, so take this step carefully for you to get the results you want. It is also helpful to consider the type of palm sander you’re using. Always remember that you should not put too much pressure on this especially when the device itself is heavy already.

#4 Avoid Placing Too Much Pressure

Even if this device sounds so handy and easy to use, there are still complaints about the product. Don’t stop right there—it is mostly due to their own lack of knowledge about the proper usage. Going back to step number three, you should not apply too much pressure. Common complaints include the short lifespan of their palm sander, the burning off of the pads, and wearing out of the hook & loop system. All those three problems are actually the aftermath of putting too much pressure on the device during use. Let the device work on its own and simply guide the device where you want the sanding to take place. This way, you will prevent those three problems from happening. See more.

#5 Clean as you go and change the paper

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Some types of palm sanders already have their own feature of dust collection. However, if there may be more dust particles surrounding your working area, please do remove them gently and thoroughly so that you’ll have a refined outcome. There might be some bumps during your next use that can be due to the debris you haven’t cleaned up, and that will ultimately affect the look of the wood by the end of it. After that, you could now switch the type of paper and turn on the device again. Do those two steps until you gradually end up with a fine 280 grit as your final sandpaper choice. It takes patience, but you will be satisfied with the outcome when you do this right.

#6 Polish the edges

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The edges are quite tricky to do, but there is still a way to get them polished. There are more available shapes that palm sanders could do for you, but when the shapes are out of their reach, it’s best to use only sandpaper thendo those parts manually instead. This will lessen the unevenness of the finished product. Also, take note: Do not run the palm sander from the main surface to the edges. This will lose the sharpness from it! Instead, only run through the edge itself, as you can see in the picture here. Running your palm sander from the main surface to the ends will lead to a very dissatisfying result of dome-like shapes. If you’re making a table, this is not the table you would want to use.


Whew, that sounded like a lot of work to do! It may sound a bit complex to you right now, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it actually simple to follow. All this takes is some courage and the virtue of being observant with what you are doing. Who knew that you could do all these things all along? With just a great palm sander (be sure to see the models mentioned above!), you can already create such nice furniture with your own hands!

The most important thing you need to remember here is that you take safety measures and that you will feel alright as you run through this wonderful machine. Congratulations, you are now the master with woodworks! Can’t wait to practice the knowledge you gained? Neither can I! I hope you find this article helpful. If so, don’t hesitate to share to your friends who would like to be masters with woodworks as well.


  • October 19, 2017
  • DIY
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