For those of you who are in a hurry: our pick for the #1 best spindle sander goes to WEN 6524 Oscillating Belt and Spindle Sander.
If you have spent any time woodworking, then you know how critical sanding is to produce a smooth surface on your woodworking project. Spindle sanders provide you with a power tool option that lets you reproduce great finishes on components that other sanders struggle with.
What are the best spindle sander features, and what products are worth looking at? This article is being written to help you decide on what you will need to look for and how best to use this versatile sanding tool.
In this article, we will be reviewing these products:
- WEN 6510T 3.5 Amp Oscillating Spindle Sander
- Shop Fox W1831 1/2 HP Single Phase Oscillating Spindle Sander
- WEN 6524 Oscillating Belt and Spindle Sander
- JET 708404 Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander with Spindle Assortment
- Triton TSPS450 450W / 3.5 Amp Oscillating Spindle Sander
What Advantages Do Oscillating Spindle Sander Offer?
The first time I encountered one of these devices was in my community woodworking shop. It was difficult to understand the need for this type of power tool at first. As I have progressed from simple boxes and flat components to furniture pieces and other items with curved surfaces, the true versatility of a benchtop spindle sander has been revealed to me.
If you are working on a project with a curved edge, this power tool will allow you to produce the same smooth surfaces that your orbital sander makes on flat surfaces or straight edges. A rotating cylinder addresses the curve naturally and will make contact with the wood grain without damaging it, something that a belt or orbital sander simply cannot do. The sleeve covered with grit will remove a decent amount of material in a short time, just as a flat-surfaced sander would on flat boards.
That drum will not leave marks as you run the curved wood across the drum, allowing you to smooth the wood grain with minimal work. Most spindle sanders will also move up and down vertically, allowing you to use the entire sanding surface which will extend the life of the sanding drum. Incorporating a level surface to work from allows you to secure the project as you move, providing better control as you work by keeping your work surface at the desired angle of contact.
Another advantage of this type of sander is its ability to reach into holes that you have cut into the wood, providing the same texture as the rest of the project. These smooth interior edges cannot be reached by other power sanding tools and will help to prevent the wood grain from splintering. A spindle sander will simply make your project look good.
How Do You Use It?
These tools are surprisingly easy to operate. Once the drum is rotating, you can move the surface that you are working on into contact with the sleeve of sanding paper.
You can move longer sections in the same direction as the drum spins or against it. Shorter pieces can be moved in either direction as well, although I feel that moving small pieces in the same direction as the drum is spinning limits the kickback while sanding and provides me with more control.
When using a spindle sander on drilled out holes on a wood project, you will find running the wood surfaces against the direction of the drum provides you with more control as you move the piece around the spindle.
Generally, changing spindles requires lowering the drum below the table surface and loosening it with wrenches that are provided with the machine. Once it has been changed out you can tighten the connection point and move the spindle back into position. Always make sure the power tool is unplugged when you do this.
Using eye protection should be standard with all power tools, including this type of product. While many models are fairly quiet as they run, adding ear protection won’t hurt either. Deciding your path of movement before beginning will help you position your fingers and arms as you move the project around the drum and can prevent you from getting your fingers in the way or accidentally making contact with your arm.
Keep your project in contact with the table surface to help provide support. This will help to keep the project in your hands. I would also recommend that you do not wear long sleeves when sanding with this type of tool so that loose clothing does not accidentally wrap around the drum as it rotates.
What Features Should The Best Spindle Sander Have?
A sturdy surface is important. The dimensions of that surface will depend upon your needs. Keep a balance between plenty of area for contact with your ability to present the wood grain at the proper angle.
Look for products that provide multiple spindle sizes and safety plates. This will give you more versatility and can save time when sanding.
Ease of operation is also necessary. That includes how easy it is to turn on and off, as well as how quickly you can change out drums.
Larger operating buttons make it easier to operate. Safety features like an emergency shut off are an added bonus. Designs should have all controls on the front of the machine.
Five Choices Worth Considering
With that out of the way, let’s actually review some of the best spindle sander models that you can find on the market right now.
A 3.5 amp motor provides users with 1/2 HP of rotating energy. This compact model might be worth considering if you are new to spindle sanders and work with mostly small or medium-sized projects.
- Ample rotation speed is provided by the electric motor and it should not struggle with most types of wood
- This unit has a small footprint, allowing it to take up minimal room on the bench or in a corner of your shop if you use a separate table to mount it on
- You will find that this spindle sander has a reasonably low price point, making it a good choice for first-time buyers or woodworkers that are on a limited budget
- This unit is smaller and lighter than other spindle sanders, something that will force you to mount it permanently on the workbench so that it does not move around while sanding
- A small table surface will provide limit contact with the project and is not your best option if you are looking to work on larger pieces more often than small components
This model is worth considering if you plan to use a spindle sander on occasion or work with mostly flat and straight surfaces. It is a light-duty design intended for casual woodworking, especially with softer woods.
- One of the first things to notice with this unit is the safety key that allows you to disable it if needed
- This spindle sander comes with plenty of accessories from the start, allowing you to be more versatile with your sanding without having to buy more parts
- There is no complicated set up with this sander, something that makes it friendly for first-time users and casual woodworkers need a quick sanding power tool with minimal fuss
- I found the accessory storage on this product to be lacking, and it would be improved with more room that gave a tighter hold on the unused components
- This particular design might be of limited use for furniture makers who will need to rely on a spindle design or projects made from harder woods
Versatility is the important design element to look at with this two-in-one power tool. It makes use of sanding drums for typical spindle sanding while also including an option to attach a belt sanding component.
- You will have far more versatility with a belt sanding option, and it will allow you to take up less room than having a spindle sander and a belt sander in your shop
- An adjustable table allows you to present the wood surface at a consistent angle, an important consideration on beveled edges that need to be uniform or curved surfaces that are difficult to keep in control
- All attachments are stored in an organized manner along the front of the sander itself and are easy to reach for quick changing between drum sizes
- This spindle sander will be a bit more difficult to set up and operate due to the optional drum or belt sanding attachments
- A larger table surface provides more contact with the project at the expense of less versatility of hand-held control of the project
This machine is built for daily use. Stronger build materials and design make this a contemplation for more serious woodworkers. It would make a great selection for furniture makers.
- A tilting work table will allow you to position your project at the proper angle required for almost any type of curved wood or drilled out hole while still providing a secure hold on the project
- It has a taller profile, a feature that allows you to work comfortably no matter how tall you might be
- The heavy-duty workload capacity means that you can take on hardwood materials as well as giving you the option of applying plenty of pressure on the project as it makes contact with the drum surface
- This spindle sander might be considered a bit of overkill for novice woodworkers or those who will not need this type of sander often
- It has a higher price point due to the sturdy construction and heavy-duty workload that it is able to handle
This spindle sander by Triton is a good middle of the road model. It will provide you with enough power to take on most small and medium-sized projects without creating too much rotation. Its price is also reasonable.
- Its base provides a stable work surface and should stay fairly stationary requiring minimal fastening from you on the workbench
- The dust collection design on this product provides ample power and should prevent most of the sawdust from making a mess or getting in the way
- Noise levels during operation of this spindle sander are low, possibly due to the belt and motor design from the manufacturer
- It has a dust port size that may not fit as many shop vacs as other models and may require an adapter in order to work efficiently
- A reasonable price point does come with a step down on the materials used to build this product, something that may be an issue with users who plan to work with it a lot
The Final Spin
Each of the five power tools reviewed above can get the job done, and I am sure you will find one that fits your needs. With that being said, I felt that the WEN 6524 Oscillating Belt and Spindle Sander stands out as the best spindle sander on the list.
It starts with the additional belt sanding capabilities, something that none of the other models will provide you. It has a table surface that is larger than many of the sanders reviewed and includes an adjustable surface for more uniform beveled edges.
The motor used is powerful enough to operate this unit in either belt or spindle mode, which provides plenty of power for material removal. This is an upgrade to the smaller motor found on a couple of the light-duty sanders.
Finally, I found that this design offers a lot of versatility without draining the bank!