Pallets are the best friend of beginner carpenters and DIY enthusiasts. There is nothing you can make out of a wooden pallet whether it’s an artistic coffee table for the living room or the staircase of a tree house. However, working with this can be equally easy and difficult at the same time. It is difficult to prep up the wood to make it usable.
On the other hand, it is easy and less time-consuming because it doesn’t need a super fine sleek finish. We love the rustic, rough texture and earthy natural look of pallets, don’t we?
First of all, you need to know what you need to freshen up a used pallet so that you can work with it further, and not to mention, how to use the tools. The basic tool is sand paper and if you don’t want to spend ages after a project by sanding it manually, then a sanding machine is another compulsory tool.
Comparison Table of Our Top Choices
Makita 5-Inch Disc Sander
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BOSCH ROS20VSK Random – Orbit Sander
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DEWALT 5 inches Random Orbit PSA Sander
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Ingersoll Rand 6-Inch Sander
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DEWALT DWE6401DS Rotary Sander
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Factors Have to Consider of Sander for Pallets
Mainly small sized belt and orbital sanders are used for pallet projects. If you own a belt sander, there is no problem in using it at first on pallets for strip off paints and so. But later on, you must work with an orbital sander to make it smooth. Here, I will focus on only orbital sander as these are more economical, easy to use and are enough to complete any pallet project.
As the orbital sanders are less powerful compared to belt sander, you must look for one that has plenty of power and variable speed options. The variable speed sanders are more pricey. To shop on a budget, it is okay to choose the single speed one but you have to be careful while using it. Besides, This requires changing papers more often and takes several types of papers to finish the job.
The problem of working with a used pallet is, you have to spend time on preparing it. This involves stripping paints, smoothing out knots and so on. These tasks require papers of different grits from coarse, medium to fine and requires changing the paper very often.
It is important to have a sander with a stable paper attachment system. Flimsy clips or velcro gives out early upon over use and can make the sanding process lengthy.
Dust Removal System
Most of the regular users of any sander prefer using a shop-vac to keep the work piece and the place clean. But for beginners on budget, it is hard to purchase additional vacuum. So, the included dust collector is the only thing you can rely on. Check carefully how sturdy the dust container is, and how it is linked to the sander.
Keep in mind that the dust container needs to be emptied frequently. So, the size and the ease of removing and attaching matter. The customer review also helps to get an idea about how good the dust collection actually is.
Included Accessories and Warranty
Tools with a long warranty are good because of the refund, replace and repair options. So, the longer the warranty is, the better. Read carefully the details about the additional equipment you are getting with the sander. Most of the sander arrives with extra sandpaper, which is a plus, but not enough of course. Some sanders are claimed to arrive as a kit in a tool box. For outdoor use and organizing, these packs are great.
How to Use a Orbital Sander on Pallet
There are hundreds of video tutorials available on the internet about the proper way to use a sander over pallet. To be honest, those tutorials are more helpful than this guideline. However, here, you will get some ideas that took me years to master.
Remove the Splinter
It applies to used pallets. Remove any metal pieces from the pallet that can be seen with naked eye. It is the first step to work with a pallet. Skip this part and you will end up damaging the sandpaper every time it encounters any splinter on its way to sanding the work piece.
Use the Right SandPaper
The simple rule is. The more granulated the paper, the more aggressive is its application. The P 12 to P 36 and P40 – P 50 grit papers are best for removing paints from the pallets depending on how many coats are applied on it.
Removing Paint and Stains
For working with new pallets, P60 – P80 are enough. As these are medium grit sand papers and are suitable for removing varnish and wood stain. If the pallet is unprocessed, then 100 – P 120 suffices to clean up water stain, etc. Learn more: top sender for removing paint.
Now your pallet is ready to be processed or you can choose to use P150 – P220 papers to achieve a more smooth look and fine texture (for better finishing you can check this list).
View Top 5 Sander for Pallets
1. Makita 5-Inch Disc Sander
- Disk size: 5 inches;
- Speed: 4,500 RPM;
- Motor: 4.2 AMP;
- The package includes Plastic Pad, Side Handle, Hex Wrench and many more;
- Model no: GV5010;
- Weight: 2.6 pounds.
For large projects on a continuous basis, one should opt for durable tools with high-quality performance. If you are working with pallets for a long term project, then this sander can be a wise choice. As it is equipped with a powerful motor and the housing is dust protected, it is obvious that it will stay put for longer.
Generally, when people consult me for their professional use of power tools, I recommend using tools with higher speed. Hence, the production becomes better and of higher quality. For wood carpentry or contracting, this Makita sander will never disappoint you with its power and performance.
Though the price of this sander is on the higher side, I don’t hinder people from using it for home renovation on a DIY basis. Because a quality tool will give you less burden.
- Perfect for demanding jobs;
- Highly durable;
- It comes with a money-back guarantee.
2. BOSCH ROS20VSK Random – Orbit Variable-Speed Sander/Polisher
- Disk Size: 5 inches;
- Speed: 7,500-12,000 OPM;
- Motor: 2.5 Amp;
- Includes sanding pad, sanding disc, dampening ring, dust canister, vacuum adapter and hard carrying case;
- Model no: ROS20VSK;
- Weight: 3.5 pounds.
Variable speed sanders are usually the pricey ones in the market. But the convenience of using one sandpaper to do various jobs is priceless. From stripping layers of paints from pallets to give them a smooth finish to prep up for the new coat stains-everything can be done in one go. No need to change paper from the coarse grit to a finer one to achieve a finer finish.
There are various sanders available with variable speeds, but we liked this Bosch sander among all because of its ease of use. It is very easy to dispose of. The dust canister efficiently collects particles as fine as 1/2-micron, and it is very easy to dispose of. Just twist the canister out of the sander and flip the top cap to deposit its content.
There are several ways to hold this machine comfortable while you work. You can hold it either way depending on your comfort. I have seen users utilizing this machine for years without any major complaints. So, for a more promising job in the woods, this sander is the right choice.
- Features a microfilter system;
- Overload protected motor;
- Rugged construction;
- Leaves smooth finish;
- Variable speed.
- Slightly heavy.
3. DEWALT 5 inches Random Orbit PSA Sander
- Disk Size: 5 inches;
- Speed: 12,000 OPM;
- Motor: 3.0 Amp;
- The package includes sander, owners manual, dust bag, etc;
- Model no: DWE6420;
- Weight: 3 pounds.
You will love this sander from DEWALT if (1) you have dust collectors of DWV010 or DWV012 models and (2) you are comfortable with peel and stick sandpapers. Because, other than that, you have to purchase an adapter of the DWV9000 model for this unit. That will contradict its advantage of being affordable. Besides, not everyone is a fan of PSA papers.
Whether you are a beginner or professional, this design will suit you. It is powerful and runs for a long time without overheating. Changing the paper of a PSA sander is real quick. So, switching papers for various purposes is an added benefit. Because it is a single speed sander, you will need to switch papers a lot whether you are sanding a pallet or refurbishing.
This machine is backed by several years-long warranty. So, even if you are on a tight budget, there is less chance that your money will be wasted with this sander.
- Dust port fits DEWALT dust collectors without an adapter;
- Low profile design;
- Long warranty.
- Short power cord.
4. Ingersoll Rand 6-Inch Heavy-Duty Air Dual-Action Sander
- Disk Size: 6 inches;
- Speed: 12,000 RPM;
- Motor: N/A;
- The package includes Sander only;
- Model no: 311A;
- Weight: 4.2 pounds.
Most DIYers look for tools that are versatile or multitasking. Usually, they all want to save money from purchasing different tools of similar categories. If that’s the case for you too, then you have come to the right point. This Ingersoll Rand sander is an all-rounder. You can use it to polish metal, wood, finish fine edges and so on. All you need is an air compressor of at least 5 hp to operate this sander effortlessly.
Considering the fact that, how silent this machine is, it is absolutely okay to use it even in an apartment building. A silencer is incorporated to absorb any sound produced by the machine. It is a useful sander for craft persons. As its performance solely depends on a good compressor, I will not recommend it for professional use in the long term.
- Low vibration;
- Versatile use;
- I Need an air compressor.
5. DEWALT DWE6401DS Rotary Sander
- Disk Size: 5 inches;
- Speed: 3700 RPM;
- Amperage Capacity 6 Amps;
- Power Source corded electric;
- Voltage 120 Volts;
- Weight: 4.81 pounds.
Basically, this DEWALT DWE6401DS sander is a rotary sander. Adjustable dust from the electric sander can be combined with a vacuum to give a better workplace. The mid-handle plan with fine hold and side handles upgrades the balance and eliminates client fatigue.
Despite the tiny motor, this sander still produces high speed as you expect from a conventional sander. Besides, this unit comes with lots of useful accessories-all fits in with its economical price range.
For a budget-friendly option, there is no alternative to this sander cum polisher. You can start using it right after unboxing. Use the 80 grit first for cleaning the pallets and use the 180 grits to smooth out everything. Sanding pallets will be an effortless and enjoyable task with this sander.
- Accepts 5-inch 8-hole hook and loop paper;
- Allowing for the readily available paper to be changed quickly and easily;
- Comes with lots of accessories;
- Durable, abrasion-resistant, and anti-static.
- Dust collection may not be satisfactory.
All the guidelines about the speed and different types of sandpaper may confuse you. Brace yourself because, the best thing about wood pallet projects is, the material is cheap. So, there is more opportunity to make mistakes as you master your skills.
Only choosing the right tool is not everything. Over time, with practice, the tool we use gets better and the results we achieve becomes more satisfactory. Keep patience while working with orbital sander for pallet related projects. This one tool is enough to give you a pro quality result as you get the idea of how and when to use this sander with which sandpaper.
About This Writer
Hello, I am David Rowan. I am a professional contractor with 10 years of experience in home building, different tools used, construction, home remodeling, and other home improvement work. I have already built many custom homes and continued to do several woodworking projects along with how to deal with all categories of tools.