Palm Sander 1297B - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Palm Sander 1297B

Bosch - Palm Sander 1297B

This sander from Bosch features a innovative system for chaning papers. Now available as model No. 1297DK.

$75 (As of 1/1/2005)

(4 user reviews) Write a Review

Editor's Review:

by David Sorg

review date: January 1, 2005

I prefer using a palm sander, or finishing sander, rather than a more aggressive random-orbit sander. Because a finishing sander cuts more slowly, it gives me greater control over the outcome. Also, finishing sanders can get into corners, which is something the round pad on a random-orbit sander cannot do.

The biggest disadvantage of finishing sanders always has been the time-consuming inconvenience of loading up a new sheet of paper. Bosch has solved that problem with the new SheetLoc system on its No. 1297D sander.

Pushing a large spring-loaded button on the front of the tool makes the sander accept the leading edge of the paper, letting the trailing edge fall where it may. On the back of the tool, a lever system with a pivoting steel bar smooths out the sandpaper and clamps it tightly in place. With this system, it’s not necessary to fold the edge of the paper or to get it lined up exactly right in order for it to fit properly, as I’ve had to do with every other finishing sander I’ve ever used. The device is simple and ingenious.

The Bosch sander isn’t perfect. Its on/off switch is too small, and the dust-bag attachment requires an extra piece if you want to hook up the sander to a shop vac. But for the time and aggravation it will save over the lifespan of the tool, the SheetLoc system alone is reason enough to buy one of these sanders.

—David Sorg writes frequently about finishing topics. His Web site is .

Editor Test Results:

Dust Collection Effectiveness N.A
Location of Controls on/off switch is too small
Vibration Rating N/A

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Bosch
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 877-267-2499
Tilt N/A
Dust Collection Yes, canister
Horsepower N/A
Amps 2 amp
Volts N/A
Speed 12,000 OPM
Stroke N/A
Abrasive Component Size 1/4 sheet
Maximum Capacity N/A

Unfamiliar with sanders I decided, after some modest research, on a refurbished version of 1297B palm sander made by Bosch. Inexpensive from the get-go ($49 from CPO BOSCH) the little sander uses standard sheets of sandpaper snipped down to fit the base of the tool. I like this feature a great deal since unlike the orbital sanders that require the higher priced factory-made sanding discs I can easily find the paper I need locally at any time, at a reasonable cost. In terms of performance this tool is just superb. It gives a smooth finish with little effort every time and is lightweight. So long as the base of the sander is on a flat surface the dust collection unit works very well too. And the cord is a comfortable length too. Perhaps the only weak point is that the sandpaper, once attached to the base, has to be hole-punched. This is easily accomplished with the plastic tool that comes with the sander but the holes do tend to shorten the life of the sandpaper itself. While not a big issue it might be an inconvenience for some. My sander came complete in a nifty bag - one that inspired a bit of teasing from my wife who refers to it as one of my tool purses. If this is a problem for some guys the tiny bag can of course be tucked away (and admired secretly when no one is gazing) or taken to the local thrift store. But truth be told it adds nicely to the compact nature and convenience of this great sander. I highly recommend it for those looking for an inexpensive, sturdy sander that can do smooth work.


Sander worked great for about 15 minutes, then the paper starting coming out of the front clamp. Now the paper won't stay in more than 2 minutes. It is true the paper is easy to change, but it doesn't do any good if it won't stay in place. I have had it in the box for a year waiting for my old sander to die, so I doubt they will warranty it. Bought a Porter Cable this weekend and it works great.

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