Don’t have time to read the entire article to find out which one is the best sander for furniture refinishing? FYI, we believe that DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander is your best choice.
Older furniture has a lot of character as well as sentimental value. As it wears over time, we try to find ways to replenish the character of the wood that attracted us to it in the first place.
If you are reading this article, most likely you already know that refinishing involves sanding your piece of furniture.
What is the best way to go about refinishing furniture, and what is the best sander to use in the process? Let’s explore those answers below.
A closer Look At Refinishing
If you have a piece of furniture in mind that you would like to refinish, you need to ask yourself: what exactly do you want to achieve? If you are looking to clean it up for monetary reasons, you might consider doing nothing at all. Many furniture collectors feel that refinished articles are worth less money than those found in their original condition.
Does your vintage furniture have a lot of sentimental value and you want to keep it for the old memories’ sake? If its condition is very poor, refinishing it may be the way to go.
Revitalizing existing coverage
In some instances, the existing stain does not need to be removed. You might be able to get away with a wipe on stain or coating in order to clean up the furniture surface. This minimalist approach may keep some of its original characters, but it might not offer the protection you need if you plan on using the item as everyday furniture.
Signs that the surface needs to be refinished
Paint is often applied to wooden furniture in order to hide away particular flaws in the piece. That may include water damage or smaller surface imperfections. The point is, a painted furniture piece may require more work than simply refinishing it.
Beginning in the late 1950s, mass-produced furniture often included things like particle board as well as laminates. These materials may help with overall strength, especially when it comes to expansion due to moisture, but they might not be worth your time when it comes to refinishing. Keep in mind that many materials of these types will not match the solid wood components, especially after they are stained.
If your furniture piece fits snuggly at all connections points, the integrity should not be an issue. Conversely, items with worn joints that are loose will require that you clean them up and reglue them. You will obviously need to reapply a finish coat once you have fixed the joints.
Remember that many types of wood will become darker over time. There are exceptions, such as walnut, but most woods will take on a darker hue as they age. This change in color might influence your decision to refinish a favorite furniture piece.
Selecting your sander
There might be certain parts on a chair or other piece that you could sand by hand. With that being said, a sander will become a critical tool in your wood furniture refinishing kit. What are some of the features you should look for?
Random orbital sanders
One of your first considerations will be an orbital vs a random orbital sander. Orbital sanders will remove less material but you might find it leaving gouges in the wood surface if it runs with the grain for a long period of time. Introducing a random oval movement on a rando orbital product will take off more material with each pass and has the tendency to not mare the wood grain.
Also known as a mouse sander, these compact models are designed to get into the nooks and between the pieces of your decorative furniture. These products will have a triangular-shaped base that allows a pointed corner to be pushed into tight areas that are hard to reach with other sanders.
Some features to look for In A Sander
One of the most important features a quality sander should have is a dust collection system. Sanders generate more dust than most power tools and having adequate dust collection will keep your shop clean and your lungs and eyes from suffering.
Ergonomic designs are also important. You will find yourself using the sander for long periods of time, so any features that improve comfort or reduce vibration will be welcome as the day progresses. That may include various materials and patterns installed across handles as well as vibration dampening technologies.
Accessories, especially with detail sanders, can also be something to look for. These items may include bases with different shapes or sizes. Some models may also include power switches that generate various speeds as well as vacuum attachments.
Sandpaper for refinishing
You will want to stock up on a variety of sandpaper products to make sure that you have the most possibilities covered. While many DIY’s are familiar with wet/dry sandpaper, you should really consider using products designed for wood grains.
Many users will begin to work with sandpaper in the 120-grit range but keep some rougher paper in stock for thicker coatings. You will probably be able to work your way down to 220-grit before you notice diminishing returns.
Best Sanders For Refinishing Furniture
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some specific sander models that we believe are the best for furniture refinishing.
There is a special dust-collecting bin that stands out on this palm sander. It provides filtration that can trap particles down to 0.5 microns in size, allowing you to keep the air and work area free from sawdust. There is also a vacuum attachment included that will allow users to mount the sander to dust collecting systems.
- There is a control for the 2.5 amp motor which allows you to adjust the speed of rotation on the oscillating base
- A pad dampening system is included with this kit that helps to promote smooth finishes and eliminates swirl marks from your sanding
- Bosch has designed a signature attachment system that allows users to mount sanding materials quickly while keeping them in place during operation
- The dust collecting filter that is included here will have a tendency to fill rather quickly, requiring you to stop for frequent dumping
- While the manufacturer provides ergonomic handle material across much of the handle surface, it does not cover the hand are completely and may lessen the effectiveness of the padding used here
A larger 3.0 amp electric motor generates plenty of rotational power on this sander. This set up can create up to 12,000 oscillations per minute, making smooth sanded surfaces quickly. Over-sized sealed ball bearings are used to help increase the life of the sander itself.
- A random 1/8-inch movement from the sander helps to minimize swirl while keeping the sanding paper in contact with the work surface
- A five-inch base is used by the company to provide a large enough surface to keep paper pressed on wood while still allowing users to move the sander towards edges and wider corners
- Makita has included anti-vibration elements and the rubber grips help to keep your hand from tingling during operation
- A pad is used in the dust collection to lower the particulates in the air, but it will become clogged with use and can slow down your sanding project with lots of cleaning
- There is a rubber seal that helps to protect the on and off switch from dust contamination at the expense of making the switch harder to control for some users
This orbital sander combines various operating speeds to give users more control over furniture that they are sanding. This is great for removing coatings of alternating thickness as well as rough wood grain that needs to be smoothed out. The ability to adjust the motor speed will also increase the length of time that the motor lasts before it needs to be replaced.
- A shorter body design allows your hands to be closer to the work surface and this smaller distance can help to eliminate some vibration experienced by sanders with a higher profile
- Dewalt’s rubber over-mold is known to provide vibration absorption as well as comfort for the hands and protection for the durable yellow plastic
- The hand controls mounted to this sander are spaced apart while still giving quick access with just one hand during operation
- The one-handed locking mechanism on the dust collection component can come loose during operation if it is not tightened properly
- You will pay more for the DeWalt brand name, just like you would with any of their other power tools
The finishing sander by Makita makes use of a smaller motor and is intended for more precise and delicate workloads. This set up should allow you to tackle most wood furniture projects, but you may still find it difficult to work in tight corners.
- The ball bearing construction provides this sander with less vibration and it will also help to dampen the noise that the sander generates during operation
- It comes with a smaller 2.0 amp electric motor that will generate enough power to remove dried on top coats but will not generate enough speed to damage the wood underneath when used properly
- Rubberized material along the handle help to reduce vibration and keep your fingers from becoming tired; it is also textured to prevent slippage when it is on
- The square base on this finishing sander is a bit of a disappointment as it will still prevent access into tight corners that a triangle-shaped base would allow you
- A through-the-pad dust collection design helps to keep debris from the sanding are but does lack the power that other designs offer their users
This detail sander is able to reach into small areas that are harder for regular sanders to gain access too. This is due to its smaller frame size as well as the triangular-shaped base.
- This sander makes use of a smaller base that has a point along the front for reaching into corners, and it also has a finger attachment for work between surfaces
- This unit has a uniquely shaped grip that allows you to comfortably operate this sander from three different positions, giving you a secure purchase anywhere on the furniture piece
- The dust collection system is small, but it does seal well and is easy to dump and clean while you work
- Due to the overall size of the base plate on this sander, it will take longer for you to sand off larger open areas than it would with a standard-sized sander
- You may find that you need to replace sandpaper on this type of sander more often, as it has a tendency to wear out quickly with the triangle base
All of the sanders reviewed above will provide you with a quality finish, but we believe that DEWALT Random Orbital Sander is the best sander for refinishing furniture.
First off, the sander has a 3.0 amp electric motor that will generate the power needed to cut through thicker topcoats you need to remove during refinishing. The key to this power in the DeWalt is your ability to adjust that power, allowing you to run slower in areas that only need a light sanding.
Changing out sandpaper should prove easy, and it will stay in place once secured. Dust collection options are adequate and can be enhanced by tying into a dedicated system. Ergonomic handles keep your hands and fingers from feeling fatigue, allowing you to work longer and keeping your finish even and smooth.