Airpowered Sanders

Pneumatic random-orbit sanders have been used in furniture factories and auto body shops for years, and they have several advantages over electric models. Air sanders are smaller, lighter and more compact (see photo, page 36) than their electric counterparts, so they're easier to control and not as tiring to use. They also can't be damaged if you overload or stall them, and they have a longer service life.

So why doesn't everybody use pneumatic sanders? Mainly because they take a lot of air to run. Our test sanders need 12 to 16 cubic ft. of air per minute (CFM) at 90 pounds per square in. (psi). That takes a big. two-stage air compressor of at least 5 HP. (I tried running several of our test sanders on my ll/?-HP. 6-CFM-at-90-psi home shop compressor and found they'd only work well for about 15 to 20 seconds before the air pressure dropped too low.)

Also, most air sanders need daily lubrication with air-tool oil, which can contaminate your work as it comes out the tool's exhaust port. (The Aro Model RS-25A-CSV we tested doesn't require air lube.)

But if your compressor is large enough, you're in for a treat, as our tests showed. The four small palm-grip pneumatic sanders (see photo, page 36) proved to be in a class by themselves for smoothness and control. With their low profiles, they were less skittish than electric sanders, didn't wobble, and had plenty of power. They also fit easily into tight spaces._

The right-angle pneumatic sanders from Sears and Campbell Hausfeld proved to be the most powerful of the pneumatics. For our overall favorites, see "Editors' Choices" on page 36. —D.S.

Thanks to Campbell Hausfeld for providing the 7l/?-HP two-stage compressor used to test the pneumatic sanders.

Air-powered random-orbit sanders, like the variable-speed Dyna-brade shown here, are more compact and run more smoothly than electric models.

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EDITORS' CHOICES

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a sander. We settled on the following five machines to earn the Editors* Choice title for superior performance.

In the right-angle category, we picked the Porter-Cable 7336 because it's the smoothest to control. vibrates the least, and its power is in the same range as the most aggressive right-angle machine.

For the in-line group, we awarded two models our Editors' Choice: The Bosch 3283 DVS scored highest for smoothness and control of all the electric sanders we tested, and it has good power for all-around work. The AEG got our nod because it is the most powerful inline sander. while still providing good smoothness and control.

Our Editors' Choice in the palm-grip class is the new DeWalt DW421. It runs extremely smoothly, it has a pad brake to control freewheeling, and it has an efficient dust collection canister. And although it wasn't an Editors' Choice winner, we also liked the Makita, which has excellent power and control but lacks a pad brake to slow freewheeling.

We picked the Dynabrade 57019 as Editors' Choice among the pneumatic sanders because it started on or off the work without jerking and ran smoother than the others at all speeds. The light weight Aro was the easiest of the six pneumatic sanders to handle.

PALM-GRIP SANDERS Porter-Cable 333 Wen 15 DeWalt DW421

Porter-Cable 332 Ryobi RS112 Makita BO 5000 Sears 27714

within comfortable levels—say. less than on a ty pical quarter-sheet orbital sander. On other units, however, the vibration was so bad our hands were tingling after just a short sanding session. The worst offenders were the powerful right-angle units like the Fein, Bosch 1370 DEVS, Milwaukee 6126 and 6127 and the Skil 7484:05.

Dust Collection—Many of today's random-orbit sanders have built-in dust collectors that reduce the dust flung around your shop and improve sanding by limiting clogging. Most setups draw dust through holes in the sanding disc and pad (the AEG and Fein also have holes surrounding the perimeter of the pad) and blow it into an on-board dust bag or canister. (See photo, page 33.) You can also omit the bags or canisters and hook up the sander s vacuum port via a hose to a central dust collection system or shop vacuum. We found the sanders with dust bags and canisters could capture most of the dust the machines created, but all the sanders worked most efficiently when connected to a central collector. The only problem with central collectors is that the long vacuum hose can get in the way.

The Fein sander had the best dust collection in our test when teamed with its dedicated shop vacuum (Model FE92013; Fein claims 98 percent collection down to 1 micron for this model). An automatic switch turns on the Fein shop vacuum whenever you stan the sander.

Most of the sanders with dust collection have dust skirts that encircle the pad to enhance collection. We found that the skirts obscured the view of the edge of the pad, but we recommend the skirts an sway because

• m they definitely help collect dust more efficiently. We liked the skirt on the Metabo best, because it has a cutout on one side to let you get closer to edges. (See photo, opposite.)

Other Features

Pad Brakes—One of the big drawbacks with the first generation of random-orbit sanders was that the sanding discs would freewheel at high rpm when you removed them from the wood. This meant that when you

Dynabrade 57019 Aro RS-25A-CSV

Stuhr R051DF

Dynabrade 57019 Aro RS-25A-CSV

Stuhr R051DF

PNEUMATIC SANDERS (See sidebar, pane 35.1

Campbell Hausfeld Sears 18978 Sioux 690 VX

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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