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Thread: Finish sanders?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho

    Finish sanders?

    I am finishing that end table I started several years ago. Two days ago, I made a couple discoveries in the process about my aging body. One, I am now somewhat allergic to wood sanding dust and two, the arthritis in my right hand doesn't like the vibrations when I am using my Makita finishing sander.

    My father died of a heart attack 6 weeds before his 48th birthday. Now I have outlived him by over 25 years. I am deaf and hear via a cochlear implant. I have arthritus in my right hand, one hip and one ankle. I am still grateful to be alive to complain!

    Are there any finishing sanders that don't transmit or at least, reduce the vibrations to the palm of the hand operating it?
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 03-08-2023 at 11:56 AM.

  2. #2
    I would try just taping a a piece of foam rubber over the handle. I hope it helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    My finish sander is a Festool 6”. It is a good tool. Connected to a vacuum, it has very good dust collection. The vibration is better than the last non-Festool sander I owned, a 5” Dewalt.

    If the Festool 6” is too spendy for you, you’d probably get the same performance from their 5”.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    southeast Michigan
    I have a 25 year old Bosch 5 inch sander that's been sitting on a shelf as a backup ever since I got a Festool 5 incher 3 years ago. Even thought the Bosch was the best for low vibration at the time the Festool makes it a night and day difference. It's one of a handful of purchases that I can truly say was a good investment.

    That said, before you think about spending money on a new sander I would recommend buying a good pair of anti vibration gloves to try first. Check out Amazon as some have thousands of good reviews.

  5. #5
    My 5” festool vibrates a lot less than my 5” porter cable did when I used them on the same project. Not sure how it will help with your joint problems. Good luck Ken!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Ken, the vibration issue is exactly why I went to Festool back in the mid-2000s. My hand/wrist can get numb within minutes with many typical sanders, but I can sand for hours with the 150/3. I was even wearing padded gloves "back in the day" with the old PC333 sanders! Now if you like Bosch, one of their higher end sanders might be worth trying out. And if you consider Festool, you can also consider Mirka. IMHO, a really good sander that you can use for long periods of time and that has superior dust collection is very worthy of the investment. The good ones also last a long time. Consider that I've been using my 150/3 since about 2004 or 2005...I don't recall. I've replaced the pad three times at about $45 each. Take that cost plus the cost of the sander and divide by the number of years. "Dirt cheap" in that context. And it still runs like brand new.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Makita 1/3 sheet sander. Way less vibration, no jumping around, more hand positions, no stupid hook & loop.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Another vote for the Festool 150/3. Arthritis as well, as sadly many of us.

    I'm not sure how its vibration compares to the Mirka which reportedly is also very good that way as I've never tried it.

    I've only replaced the pad once. User error, actually. Also 10+ years old and running great.
    - “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Lebanon, TN
    I have a couple of Festool 125 sanders, love them. Both at battery powered, run about an hour on a charge, but I also have the AC adaptor when I know I'll be sanding longer than a battery cycle.

    I did try a Mirka at the IWF, back in August, it felt very smooth while sanding.
    Last edited by ChrisA Edwards; 03-08-2023 at 9:13 AM.

  10. #10
    My Festool ETS EC 125 is very good at capturing dust and eliminating vibration. For another $100 or so you can get a Mirka DEROS with similar performance at half the weight and with a better paddle switch. Spendy, but they have what you are looking for.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Perth, Australia
    I have an older Mirka Ceros, which is lighter than its successor, the Deros. It is supremely smooth and has superb dust control with Abranet disks. I suggest, however, that you try before you buy as the palm switch requires direct pressure. Arthritis can impact this.

    For interest, I also have a 25-year old Festo ET 2E, which is the forerunner of the Festool 150/3. This is a large and heavy machine.

    But the weight helps reduce vibration. It is still a great sander, just better suited to panels.

    Regards from Perth


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Lancaster, Ohio
    I'm am looking for a new sander as well for the same reasons that you listed. I know that everyone praises the Festool RAS, but I am seriously considering the new 3M Xtract Electric Random Orbital Sander. Its available with two different orbits, 3/16" and 3/32", in both 6" and 5" diameters and I really like the grip designed, very similar to sanders used in the auto finishing industry. Hoping to get it as a birthday present next month, or maybe a Mirka.

  13. #13
    Do the Festool, etc have lock-on button on the switch? That is key to reducing hand impacts IME.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2022
    Northern Colorado
    I tried the Mirka Deros and Festool ETS EC 150/3 EQ and liked them both. I chose the Festool as I felt I had a bit more freedom to shift and move my palm around as I sanded. I love this sander in both the 150/3 and 150/5.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Meredith, NH
    Another thing you could try is gel filled work gloves. They come in full finger and half finger.
    I know that some people with Raynauds find this type of glove very helpful when using anything which vibrates.
    Lastly, I will pile on with the Festool recommendations.


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