Product Type: Black Grinder / Sander
Newest Review: ... job. Mains-powered, it has a head sized around 3x3 inches, and removable sandpapers that are clamped on ready for action. There's also a b... more
Black & Decker Orbital Sander
Member Name: Puggers
Black & Decker Orbital Sander
Advantages: Cuts through light sanding work, easy to use.
Disadvantages: Struggles with heavier jobs, kicks up loads of dust.
Smooth as a baby's behind ... rough as a ...?
Complete the phrase. A dehydrated camel's tongue? A baked hedgehog? Daniel Craig's stubble? In any case, the wall in our living room was as rough as something extremely rough a few weeks ago. We'd just installed a new fireplace - which is great, but unfortunately the old fireplace was about twelve times the size. It was the kind of furnace that could power an ocean-going vessel, and even after a bit of patching-up, everything looked a bit of a mess.
Enter Sandman. Or, me. Only I needed a sander - and this Black & Decker model was chosen for the job. Mains-powered, it has a head sized around 3x3 inches, and removable sandpapers that are clamped on ready for action. There's also a bag that is designed to extract the considerable amount of dust created while you're working. Other than a simple on-off switch, that's it - there's not much to get wrong here, and it's pretty much fool-proof (although fools usually tend to find a way).
First impressions - it was a whole lot better than sandpaper. I guess that's obvious, but it really does cut through rough surfaces in seconds, and leaves a super-smooth, buffed-down finish. On the flip-side, it also kicks up a staggering amount of dust. Again, it's probably stating the painfully obvious, but you'll want to cover or remove everything that you don't want buried in the stuff. Leave anything uncovered, and you'll be recreating that authentic archaeologist's experience in no time.
The machine's easy to use - it creates a fair old din, but it's fairly lightweight and easy to manouevre, getting in all but the fussiest gaps without too much bother. It certainly did a sound job for us - although I was expecting it to make rather lighter work of some of the bigger bumps than it did. I went through several changes of sandpaper before getting it down to a decent finish.
On that note - the sandpaper is pretty easy to change; there's a little fiddling with the spring-loaded clamps when you need to fix it on, but it's nothing too tricky. It takes perhaps a minute or two to change from one sheet to the next.
If I've got a real gripe, it's with the bag that is supposed to suck up the dust. Granted, it takes a certain amount in, but it's really a fraction of that which is produced; this is messy work, and don't expect too much of the equipment when it comes to keeping things clean.
All in all, then, this is a decent piece of kit that really helps you cut some corners and avoid the heavy work of using sandpaper. It's well-designed, pretty straightforward to use, and makes a sizeable difference to your work. Just watch that dust.
Summary: A real effort-saver.