Episode 283

No More Orbital Sander Swirls; Kitchens, Bathrooms, Basements and More; 3 Laundry Things We're Doing Wrong

On Today's Episode

We cover everything from tips for the workshop to laundry room mistakes that we all should correct!

Using an Orbital Sander the RIGHT Way [00:00 - 07:48]

We’ve all seen the little swirls left behind from an orbital sander. Seeing those is a huge bummer because they show through the finish, whether that’s polyurethane, stain or paint. The good news, It’s not Sanders' fault! Swirling scratches happen because we are using the sander incorrectly. Learn all about common mistakes and how to avoid them in this segment.

TOP TIPS For Eliminating Swirls (Pig Tails) When Using Orbital Sander

Start Right

  • Hold the sander
  • Place it flatly on the surface to be sanded and then power it on
  • When it is on the surface, with slight hand pressure, the disc spins at a much more controlled rates
  • When it is in the air, it spins very quickly
  • Setting it down while it’s moving at that speed can cause skips, gouges, etc. when it contacts your wood
  • Also, you may not set it down evenly

Correct Speed, Keep it Flat, and Use the Right Pressure

  • Often swirls happen because we move too fast
  • We go back and forth quickly
  • Instead, sand with the grain at a SLOW and STEADY PACE!
  • Especially as you near the final sand
  • Rule of thumb: 1” per second
  • Sometimes we tilt the sander
  • Try to angle it in to put more pressure on certain areas
  • Very likely to gouge the piece or create swirls (or both)
  • Instead . . . keep it even! Nice and flat on the surface
  • Let the sander do the work!
  • Don’t get overly aggressive!
  • Light pressure–just enough for guidance and control
  • Don’t bog down the motor!
  • If you hear the motor slow
  • Too much pressure!
  • Will result in swirls
  • Instead, let it work itself over the surface

Work Through Your Grits

  • Common Mistake
  • There isn’t a one-size-fits-all grit usually!
  • Instead, start low–with a coarser grit
  • And move your way through the different grits until you finish
  • Let the various grits each do their job and then move to the next one!
  • Don’t skip grits trying to save time – or, if you do, don’t skip more than one
  • SO, to make it clear:
  • Start with an 80 or 100 grit to remove the finish on a piece
  • Then, move to 120 grit, then 150 grit, then 180, and finally 220 or higher if necessary
  • Yes, that means you’ll have to amass extra sanding discs
  • But, it will produce beautiful flawless results!

Dust Extraction and Dust Removal

  • Dust from your sanding can get trapped beneath the discs, creating swirls
  • Remove it!
  • Attach a shop-vac attachment to your sander
  • To remove dust as you go
  • Also! Be sure to remove dust in between grits
  • When you change sandpapers
  • Take time to remove the dust from the surface
  • Wipe with a soft bristled brush
  • Blow off with an air hose
  • Vacuum off

Stop Right

  • It’s important to start right
  • With the sander evenly on the surface
  • With light handpressure
  • Before turning on . . . .
  • Also important to stop right!
  • Stopping while the sander is spinning on your surface is like slamming the brakes on your car
  • The tire marks in this instance are the swirls you leave behind
  • So lift the sander off the surface before hitting the power button!
  • Think of it this way:
  • Start ON, Stop OFF

Double Check

  • Old maxim–measure twice, cut once
  • Same idea applies here!
  • Nothing more frustrating than applying your stain
  • Only to discover swirls you missed!
  • Much harder to fix at that point
  • So take the time to do a quick double check
  • A couple methods work well:
  • Use mineral spirits
  • Basically just get a rag damp and wipe the surface
  • Swirls should be readily exposed
  • And the mineral spirits evaporates out quickly
  • Or, use a light on a low angle LED work light, flashlight, or just hold the piece up to the window

Kitchens, Bathrooms, Basements, and More [07:48 - 32:21]

We work through 9 customer-submitted projects and talk about the amazing transformation $150 worth of Benjamin Moore paint made in each of these! If you've got a project on the horizon . . . you need to give this segment a listen!

3 Things We're Likely Doing Wrong in our Laundry [32:21 - 39:29]

The Book “Laundry Love” has taught us all about the glaring mistakes many of us make. We run through a few tips that will save your clothes, washing machine and money!

About the Podcast

Show artwork for The RepcoLite Home Improvement Show
The RepcoLite Home Improvement Show
RepcoLite's weekly radio show focusing on color, design, paint, and projects...as well as plumbing, roofing, yard care, flooring and more!

About your hosts

Profile picture for Hailey Johnson

Hailey Johnson