New Contractors: Don't Be Afraid to Rent Equipment

Making That Final Decision To Buy A Stroke Sander

by Ian Howard

If you have a woodworking shop and want an efficient way to handle projects that don't need a lot of fancy sanding tricks, a stroke sander is for you. Stroke sanders can take some time to learn how to use, but once you get the hang of it, they can be rather interesting to deal with (in a good way). However, making the final decision to buy one, especially when faced with a choice of sander types like wide belts and drum sanders, can be tricky. Consider these issues, though, and you'll find that the stroke sander can be a very good deal.


Stroke sanders are generally inexpensive, as far as woodworking equipment goes. They don't have that many extra features, so they don't cost as much to build. If you are trying to get equipment that fits into a tight budget, a stroke sander may be your best bet if you want an actual sanding machine and not manual sanders.

Grit Limits

Do be aware that you can use only a single grit on a stroke sander. If you will be working on projects that require several grits and have several sanding sessions going on at the same time, a wide belt that has more than one head might be a better choice. However, if you're going to work on items that will only need one grit used at any one time, a stroke sander is just fine.


Stroke sanders can take some time to learn. If you've never used a sanding machine before and hope to take off on the same day you set one up, a stroke sander could be too much for you. But if you have the time to learn and like the idea of being skilled in a machine that others find somewhat complicated, a stroke sander can be an excellent challenge to meet. And once you do learn how to use one, each successive use will only become easier and easier for you.


Stroke sanders can gather sawdust like any other sander, but it can build up rather quickly here. You should clean the sander every few days. Dusting it should suffice; this doesn't have to be a deep clean. But if you can't stick to a schedule of cleaning the machines you use, a stroke sander could get very messy. Buy only if you can remember to give it a quick cleaning often.

Visit woodworking equipment dealers to see demonstrations of and try your hand at using a sample stroke sander. You'll find that they are very efficient machines that work wonders for single-grit applications.