AWFS Tool News: Say Goodbye to Numb Hands from Sanding
I’d much rather use my smoothing plane to prep wood surfaces for finishing. It’s quick and quiet, and makes beautiful shavings that are easy to clean up. But even my best smoother struggles on difficult woods. That’s when I turn to my trusty random orbit sander, which hasn’t met a wood yet that it doesn’t like.
I don’t look forward to those long sanding sessions, though. I can dull the roar with a good set of earmuffs, but I can’t get away from the vibration. When I’m done, my hands are both numb and shaky and it takes them an hour or so to calm down.
Isolate the Motor
It looks like Bosch has the answer. Its new powerful random-orbit sander, the ROS65VC, isolates the motor from the user with a set of soft internal blocks. Those blocks, plus two wire leads, are the only thing that connects the outer housing to the inner works, and the effect is remarkable. I tried the sander out at the show and felt only the slightest buzz coming through to my hands.
ADAPTABLE DUST PORT
The dust port is designed to fit a variety of vacuum hoses. click to enlarge
The rest of the sander is a quality operation, too, from the thick microcell pads that come in both 5-in. and 6-in. sizes to the multiple, comfortable hand positions. Also, the 3.3-amp motor is among the most powerful among big rear-handle sanders.
I was also happy to see a user-friendly dust port. It is sized to fit the smaller European vac hoses, like the Bosch and Festool, but the sander comes with an adapter for most sizes of North-American vac hoses. This is extremely important, as Fine Woodworking recommends active dust collection for sanders. It makes the work more efficient and also keeps dangerous fine dust out of the air.
The ROS65VC will be available Sept. 1, at $229 for the sander with either a 5- or 6-in. pad, or $299 for both pad sizes and a nice case.
Bosch tackled what is perhaps the biggest complaint most woodworkers have regarding RO sanders: hand fatigue due to vibration.
Secret to success. Bosch isolates the motor from the housing using eight small foam-like blocks that cushion the unit and absorb much of the vibration.
Asa Christiana lulls himself to sleep atop one of Bosch's new random orbit sanders.