Early last year I started looking around for a decent palm sander, because after building numerous bookcases and other wood projects, my arms ached like hell. I’d tried other models in the past, and found many of them difficult to control, which led to mixed results in use. After lots of pawing at display models, I decided to try the Bosch 5″ random orbit model — and discovered why so many pros love this model. Read on past the jump to find out why it’s one of our favorite tools of 2007.
Unlike the old square models, the Bosch fits perfectly into my hand, making it far easier to sand for long periods. Its speed control allows fine adjustment of exactly how much material you’re removing, and it’s easy to adjust the speed control with my index finger without shutting down the tool or letting go of it.
Best of all, the random orbit motion leaves no grooves at all. Yet you can still angle the edge into a corner or a large bump to remove material more quickly. Sanding discs attach via a simple hook-and-loop system, and pre-cut 5″ discs are available in damn near any grit right at the local big-box retailer.
I’ve wielded the Bosch against fiberglass, resin, Bondo, wood, and just about every other material you could imagine in the TM shop over the last year, and though it’s a bit dirtier than when I bought it, it still chugs away. I suspect that this tool is often overlooked by other publications because it’s so simple: it just works.
Unlike some of the other tools in our ’07 top ten, this one’s a bit pricey. I spent $65 for it, and having burned through hundreds of discs, I’d pay more if they asked it. (Don’t tell Bosch!) If you’re looking for a quality, durable, reasonably-priced palm sander that’ll make your life in the shop easier, this is your baby.