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I’ve wanted an oscillating spindle sander ever since I came to understand how they make the curves in wood possible. I decided I wanted to start building my own recurve bows. You can replicate the effect with a drill press and a few attachments, but having the right tool for the job will speed things up a great deal. In this case, Central Machinery’s Model 95088 is much like that generic beer that shows up at parties. It is technically beer; it shares few properties with actual beer, but wow, was it cheap. In the world of benchtop spindle sanders, the $129 price tag this model carries would have it stacked right next to Keystone Light.

In truth, all the thing does is spin a sanding drum at 2000 rpm and oscillate vertically at 58 opm. There are six sizes of sanding drums, from 1/2 inch to 3 inches, and it sports a 14-11/32″ x 11-15/32″ table size. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize it can sand vertically even, smooth curves with no burn marks into stock up to 4 inches high. That’s powerful enough to shape archery bows, table legs, trim pieces, or damn near anything you can get close to the spindle.

The elephant in the room is, of course, that it’s from Harbor Freight. It can’t be half the cost of its Delta or Jet cousins and not give up something — and when it comes to Harbor Freight power tools, that something is usually quality. However the mitigating factor here was that very thing: I didn’t have $250 – $450 to spend on this. I had to stretch to find the budget for this, and having the ability for however long this one lasts is worth more to me than the possibility of getting a really good one down the road. Next month it could fail and I’d be hosed, but then again Chuck’s Central Machinery polisher has been mated to a 6-inch wire cup brush for the past 7 years and seems to be fine.

In the end I just want to get the projects done — this week, thanks to Central Machinery, I can.

Central Machinery’s Oscillating Spindle Sander [Harbor Freight]

 

17 Responses to Central Machinery’s Oscillating Spindle Sander

  1. Sawdust says:

    This is why I am a huge fan of used. Got my Delta OSS on an online site used for $175. Almost every machine tool in my shop is a quality brand name tool, purchased used for less than half the new price.

    • Chris says:

      Is there a site (or sites) *other* than eBay or Craigslist that the rest of us might want to know about?

      cl

      • Techmonkey says:

        Check out Amazon’s Warehouse Deals. I bought an 18″ Delta drill press for just over $100 off. It said it was used, but when I got it, it was never even assembled! It looks like someone returned it because the box it was in looked like it should have been in pieces. The packaging had done it’s job though.

  2. Jason Small says:

    The Ridgid sander is a little more expensive @ $200, but it has some very good reviews, and more functionality.

  3. Dan says:

    There are a _heck_ of a lot of people OEM’ing exactly this same model — I have one labelled Mastercraft, from Canadian Tire, in the same colourscheme. Googling for “oscillating spindle sander”, there’s also “Shopseries” (gold case with red inserts), Triton (orange / black), Ryobi (blue/yellow again), Rockwell (red/red), Menards (blue/yellow), and probably more if I went to the next page of results.

  4. I wonder if there is a spindle together with a sander with this brand?

  5. gary z says:

    I bought one of these from HF 5 or 6 years ago for 89 bucks. The thing is a work horse and works as well as the Jet or Delta. The great thing is the sanding sleeves are a standard size and can be bought at Rockler. Hook up a vac and you have almost dust free sanding.

  6. Ben says:

    the ridgid one is supposed to be amazing for the 200 price tag i almost doubt this is as good as that

  7. Gary says:

    I definitely could use a OSS myself to help save time and energy. Saw this model on craigslist a few months back, now I’m kicking myself for not snapping it up.

  8. BJ says:

    I agree that there are certain Harbor Freight tools that do the job quite well. Though in this case, I stumbled on a gently used Jet that I bought for $100.

  9. kyle says:

    So its the Keith Stone of cheap spindle sanders?

  10. davesander says:

    Your Central Machinery looks identical to a MasterCraft brand spindle sander I got at Canadian Tire I got four years ago. (It was on sale for around $90 before taxes.)

    If it is the same model with different tags, you’ve got a product that will last you at least several years of occasional use. It’s definitely “pro” or “prosumer” quality.

  11. Gary says:

    Look for used, man. I got a Jet floor model for $100 3 years ago off CL. It may have been a “screw you” divorce special though.

    Build a fence with a cut out for the spindle and you’ll have the equivalent of a sanding jointer for small thin pieces.

  12. John says:

    Used to work at HFT. Buy the 2 year extended warranty, and even after the warranty expires all you have to do is re-buy the warranty and you get a free replacement. Its not a bad deal.

  13. 850 sq ft says:

    Ah yes harbor freight sometimes good sometimes not so good but this little sucker works and works and just keeps going. If it ever breaks down I’ll just get another, its that good.

  14. Colin says:

    I have the Ridgid spindle sander. Love, love, love it. It has a big big table. It has 5 drum sizes and oscillating belt mode. And the table tilts if you need to go Norm Abram and sand an inside corner at a 30 degree incline. I’ve used that once. The dust collection is OK. The build quality is very good. It even has a miter gauge, which I find useful when sanding end grain square on the belt.

  15. joe says:

    be VERY careful with that, ive seen someone sand the inside of a hole on a 4×4 foot plywood square…. it gripped, and almost took his arm off

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