If you are planning to get into the world of carpentry and construction, there are quite a few different tools that you will need to know all about. One of the smallest yet most useful tools utilized in carpentry and other related fields is the palm sander. Today, we want to figure out exactly what a palm sander is and what it can do.
We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the seven main functions that a palm sander can perform.
What Is a Palm Sander?
A palm sander is one of many tools out there designed to sand down wood and other such materials. As far as sanding tools are concerned, especially belt sanders, drum sanders, and orbital sanders, the palm sander is one of the smallest ones.
The palm sander is a very small, lightweight, and compact tool that can be operated with a single hand. Yes, this is a power tool, so you won’t need to do much manual work yourself. They feature special vibrating heads at the front to which you can attach sandpaper, sanding discs, and other such accessories.
Of course, the main purpose of a palm sander is to perform smaller sanding jobs, such as smoothing out smaller pieces of wood, although there are in fact many tasks these tools can perform, as you are about to find out below.
7 Common Palm Sander Uses
As you are about to see, the palm sander is quite a versatile tool, and it does have many functions that it can perform. Yes, these functions are all related to sanding in one way or another, but the tasks do differ in nature.
1. Rough Sanding
Although it’s not going to be the first choice for very large jobs, a palm sander is a good option to consider for some smaller coarse sanding jobs. If you cut a piece of wood with a saw, and the blade wasn’t too sharp, it might leave behind some really rough edges.
The palm sander is a rather perfect tool to get rid of those rough-edged cuts. That said, a palm sander is a small tool, so if you are doing plenty of sanding work on big boards, something like a belt sander or a larger orbital sander would be a better bet. If doing rough sanding work on boards, use coarse-grit sandpaper, somewhere between 40 and 50 grit.
2. Smaller Sanding Jobs
Somewhere the palm sander excels is for use as a smaller sanding tool when basic handheld sandpaper just isn’t fast enough. Remember, palm sanders are small tools with small sanding faces, which means that they can only cover small amounts of space at a time. That said, due to this small size, they excel at sanding inside tight spaces, and they do well at sanding shapes, curves, and anything irregular.
For instance, if you are working on a small woodworking project, something like a small shelf, then a palm sander is a good choice to get in between the shelves and into the small spaces. If you are doing fine sanding work, such as for finishing, be sure to use relatively fine sandpaper, anything from 120 grit and up.
3. As a Planer
Ok, so while this also definitely isn’t the first thing that a palm sander would be used for, you could technically use it as a thickness planer, especially on smaller pieces of wood.
If you have an uneven piece of wood that is warped or just thicker on one end than on the other, you could technically use a palm sander to shave away the excess wood, therefore effectively planing it.
Of course, this is only feasible if you are working with smaller pieces of wood, as a small handheld palm sander won’t cover much ground at once, but it does work just fine for smaller projects.
4. Deburring Metal
Yet another task that can be performed with a palm sander is the deburring of metal. When you go to cut metal with a saw or grinder, chances are that some small burrs will be left behind. Burrs are little raised and sharp edges that can be created when metal is cut.
Using a palm sander affixed with special diamond-grit sandpaper, you can easily deburr a piece of metal. However, do keep in mind that you can’t just use regular sandpaper for this. It must be sandpaper designed to polish and sand metal. With all that said, a larger belt sander or grinder would still be the better tool for this task.
5. Rust Removal
Another task that you can perform with the palm sander is rust removal on metal. When the iron in metal interacts with oxygen and moisture, it corrodes, or in other words, rust forms, which is a reddish-brown layer.
Not only does rust look bad, but it can cause severe damage to metal too. A palm sander equipped with some coarse-grit sandpaper, maybe even some diamond-grit sandpaper, is the rather perfect tool to remove small quantities of rust from metal.
6. Paint Removal
One of the most common uses of a palm sander is for basic paint removal. Now, a palm sander is of course very small, so if you need to refinish a whole deck or porch, then it’s not the fastest tool to use.
However, if you have small objects that need to be repainted, then a palm sander is the perfect way to remove old and chipped paint before the new layer is applied. Of course, you always want to sand wood before you paint it, and the palm sander is a great way to go about this, at least for smaller tasks.
7. Finish Removal
The final thing that you could use a palm sander for is to remove old varnish, lacquer, and other such finishes from wood, before applying a new layer of finish. Never apply new layers of finish over old layers!
As you can see, the palm sander is indeed quite a versatile tool that is able to perform many different tasks. It’s certainly something worth having in your toolbox.