How to Sand Wood With a Palm Sander (Step by Step)

Published on: August 5, 2022
Written by Eric Devin / Fact-checked by David Rowan

Whether you’re about to give a piece of new furniture the perfect finish or to remove paint from an old one, the palm sander is a handy tool to do both.

A palm sander, also known as a finishing sander, is a hand-held, lightweight sanding tool that gives the sanding object its desired finish. This tool is undoubtedly faster than hand sanding. Also, using it, you can give your hand some rest. But more importantly, you can control it with one hand without ruining the surface delicacy.

sand wood with a palm sander

What is the Best Technique for Sanding Wood With a Palm Sander?

The best technique for sanding wood with a palm sander is to start with coarse-grit sandpaper, then progress to finer-grit sandpaper as you remove the material. Be sure to move the sander in a regular pattern and keep the sander moving around the surface to avoid gouging the wood. Always sand with the grain and use light pressure to avoid damaging the surface.

Can I Use a Palm Sander to Prep Wood Before Applying Masonry Sealer?

Before applying masonry sealant, using a palm sander to prep wood is not ideal. The keyword masonry sealant importance for wooden surfaces suggests that sealant is crucial for protecting wood from moisture and damage. However, a palm sander is typically used for finishing wood, not preparing it for sealant. Consider other appropriate methods like sanding by hand or using a suitable machine.

Is There a Specific Way to Attach the Sandpaper to the Palm Sander?

Yes, there is a specific way to attach sandpaper to the palm sander. First, you will need to make sure that the sander is unplugged and then remove any existing sandpaper if necessary. Place the sandpaper onto the sanding surface, matching up the holes to the hook and loop system on the sander. Once it is in place, press down on the sandpaper to make sure it is securely attached.

Wood Sanding With Palm Sander: How to

Before starting the sanding work, you must take some precautions. Here’s a list of the items that we’ll need for sanding with a palm sander. Get the following things ready before you start the work.

  • The project material: The wood piece that needs sanding or rejuvenating.
  • A palm sander: Corded or cordless.
  • Various grits of sandpaper: It’s better to start with medium-grit sandpaper. But you may wish to start with the coarser one if your project is rough or you’re removing existing paint or finish.
  • Respirator: Wear a respirator to protect your lung.
  • Eye and ear protection: Wear hearing protection and eye goggles to protect your ears and eyes from loud noise and sawdust.
  • Clamps to attach the wood piece on the work table.
  • Lastly, you have to consider if yours is a corded or cordless sander. The corded tools are all good except for a reason for tipping over while working. Battery-powered sanders are the best for outdoor projects where power outlets are inaccessible and workshops that don’t have electricity. However, this option maintains a minimum OPM- orbits per minute level when the battery power is low. So, keep them charged and switch the tool off between work intervals.


There are multiple steps that you need to follow to work with a palm sander.

Step 1: Choosing Sandpaper

Choose the most suitable sandpaper for your work. Use several incremental grits instead of only one to get a more refined finish. It’s better to start with a heavier grit, like 60 or 80, then move to a finer one- 100, 150, 220, 320, etc. based on your work requirement.

Step 2: Cutting It Into Size

Most sandpaper comes in 8 and ½ by 11-inch sheets. As every sander comes in different shapes, you’ll want to cut your paper according to your sander’s size. To do that, put your sander on the sandpaper, mark it out with a pencil, and cut the sandpaper according to your sander’s size. For a standard palm sander, there is an easy method you can follow.

As they are usually square or rectangular in shape, you can piece the sandpaper into quarters for a quicker solution. So first, fold it up into quarters. Then break it into pieces and fit it into the sander. Anyways, l would recommend the first method to avoid any messy situation.

Step 3: Placing Sandpaper

Pull up the lever on each opposite side of the sander at the same time. Place the sandpaper under the sander, the rough side facing outside. Then place the machine in the middle part of the paper.

Step 4: Buckling Up With the Machine

Slide the edge of the paper on the slip. Push down the lever on opposite sides at the same time to lock in the sandpaper. Do the same on the other side of the machine. Check the sandpaper if it’s attached properly. Make sure that the sandpaper is very tight in there because you wouldn’t want your sandpaper to be moving around. And now you’re ready to sand!

Step 5: Securing Material on a Worktop

Secure your project material on the worktop with the help of clamps. Make sure it doesn’t move or slip.

Step 6: Turn on the Motor and Adjust the Speed

Check on your palm sander’s speed level and adjust it to a suitable stage of your preference. 

Tip: At this point, you may put on your respirator and ear and eye protectors.

Step 7: Start Sanding

Turn on the sander and apply steady, even pressure following the grain of the wood. Keep your sander flat to the surface of your wood. Go with long, even strokes along the grain. That’s very important. Otherwise, you’ll have an uneven sanded surface. You can also make the corners round, and the joints appear perfect with your sander.

Step 8: Change the Sandpaper

Occasionally keep changing the sandpaper when you notice the current one has done its job. It is necessary to change the paper as the grit can be worn off, which can ruin your project.

Step 9: Repeat the Necessary Steps With a Finer Grit of Sandpaper for a More Refined Finish

Every project is different. So, as you’re sanding, pay attention to your project and work to get the look you’re trying to achieve.

Step 10: Wipe Off the Dust

When you’ve completed your sanding, wipe the excess dust off from the wood with a clean cloth. You may wipe twice if necessary.


Don’t Put Too Much Pressure

Because of too much pressure on the sander, it doesn’t last long enough. It may burn out the pad. And the velcro pad can wear off the hook and loop system.

A Comfortable Grip

While working for hours, you’ll want a comfortable grip varying the place you hold the sander. It doesn’t matter where you hold your sander. Keep a comfortable grip on it. Hold the sander in place and let the machine do its work. 

Don’t Rub Over the Edges

When you’re working near the edge, watch out for the sharp corners. You might tend to roll over.  In time, you’ll certainly notice that you’ve taken the sharp edge off of the wood.  Again it gets very critical when you’re using veneers. It’s relatively easy to blow off the edges of a veneer, even if you’re a tad bit distracted. So, be careful about that!

Another thing to consider is to wait until your sander comes to a stop before you put it down.


Operating a palm sander is very simple. Just turn it on and sand. But you must take precautions while working. And remember to follow the instructions I’ve listed above for palm sanders to work.

I hope the tips in this article will help you to create more beautiful projects. Remember to be safe and have fun as you’re working with the cute little palm sander. Thank you!

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About This Writer

author eric devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

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