There are so many new innovations in mechanized wood working, especially in the world of sanders. Spindle and disc sanders have been improved during the past 10 years and are inexpensive and efficient.
Disc sanders have never been more efficient. Oscillating disc sanders and random orbit sanders are two examples of newer sanders. Most disc sanders are bench mounted with a vertical rotating disk. The great thing about this tool is that it is perfect for taking off the edges of long sheets of wood and it does it quickly. The accuracy of the machine is also something to be noted because it takes little effort to operate. Some bench mounted disc sanders can be tilted so the rotating sander disc will work on angled surfaces.
Some hand-held disc sanders, such as the random orbit sander, are perfect for finishing jobs to give material a smooth surface. These sanders oscillate at a high rate of speed but do not take off an excess of surface material. The interesting thing about this type of sander is that it rotates in 2 ways simultaneously, preventing circle rings from being created in the material. The disc rotates in 1 circular direction while the entire head of the tool oscillates in an orbital direction, saving the wood from surface irregularities.
Spindle sanders are similar to the disc sander in that most versions are bench mounted as well. Instead of having a large rotating disk, the spindle sander is a cylindrical sander that rotates horizontally rather than vertically. Some varieties will even move up and down vertically while oscillating to increase the amount of material it can take off as well as increase the speed at which it can do so. Spindle sanders are perfect for working on curved edges and rounded surfaces. This is a great tool for intricate woodworking projects where the disc sander will not be able to perform. The spindle sander is known for being the perfect tool for working with irregular materials.
Another benefit of this type of tool is that it can be changed easily and comes in different sizes and grit gauges. The rotating drums of spindle sanders generally come with newer machines and can be changed quickly when working on your projects.
Some carpenters believe that larger spindle tools are better but there are some hand-held versions on the market that are effective. These usually look the same as other sanders except for the flat surface that allows you to hold the sander in place on top of the material you are working with.