Author Topic: What tool for renovating furniture  (Read 1778 times)

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Offline Zulan

  • Posts: 3
What tool for renovating furniture
« on: November 07, 2020, 02:13 AM »
Hello! I'm a complete newbe. I googled sandpaper a few days ago and found out there is something called orbital sanders. Now two days later and tons of research I find that there is no clear answer. I am going to start renovating furniture, tables, sideboards, dressers and so on. To start out with, I'm getting 1 sander to do it all. I know this has been discussed a million times but it all comes down to you what you are working on. Terms like smaller/bigger areas is used. But that is all relative, I have no idea if what I'm supposed to do is smaller or bigger areas. I want to use it for stripping old surfaces but above all, get that great finish.

I might get another one further down the road but for now, I can only afford one.

From days of research I found that the Rotex 150 is to heavy but great at stripping, maybe not the perfect finish that I'm looking for.

The ETS 150/5 is not as good at stripping as the Rotex but gives about the same finish.

The ETS 150/3 gives great finish but maybe to weak to do any stripping at all?

Then all of a sudden ETS 125 pops up, this can steal another 2 days from me.

Now they say if you work on bigger surfaces the 150 is better then 125. But what is a bigger surface? Is that a table? Is that a wooden deck in your back yard?

Please help, Im almost out of energy even before I started  [eek]

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Offline Alex

  • Posts: 7253
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2020, 02:53 AM »
To start out with, I'm getting 1 sander to do it all.

The DTS 400 will give you the most bang for your buck. Can do all of the furniture you make.

A 125 is great for tables.

A 150 is indeed great with bigger surfaces like walls and decks. But can do a table or a door also. But I prefer the 125 for that since I have that one anyway.

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 122
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2020, 06:55 AM »
Remember the not so hidden cost of sanding but sometimes over looked. The abrasives the pads the bonnets sponges polishes etc. after the cost of the sander you have a lot of consumables to get initially to do what you want to do.
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline fignewton

  • Posts: 120
  • "Fine Quality Sawdust"
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2020, 07:00 AM »
I'll throw my two cents worth in here and also recommend looking at the RO90.  I have the RO125 but also find I use the 90 a lot for sanding the face frames, drawers, and other smaller pieces, and the triangle head is a life saver for corners.  When I used the poly glue on the big green egg table I just finished, I had foam squeeze out along all the intersection where the legs met the apron and bottom rails.  The triangle head allowed me to clean those up super fast and easy, where a round head would not get a clean line across the edges. 
TS55, MFT3+, OF1400, C12, CT-26, LR-32 system, Domino 500, RO125, MFK 700, Carvex w/ accsy, Sys-roll,  CXS, Kapex, UG with extensions, RO90

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 122
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2020, 07:10 AM »
I bought an RO90 a little over a month ago. It is a great tool but it has a learning curve. I found I was fighting it until I came to grips with the Rotex mode. I started thinking of it more like an angle grinder and learned the muscle memory to keeping it flat, then it was a breeze to use. In fact I like sanding and when I worked out the handling of this tool I had two marathon sanding days with it. Wound up straining my wrist and didn’t pick it up again for over a week. But again I reiterate start thinking of your consumables because I easily have half as much money into new abrasives and pads and still do not have all I would like. But I did like it so much I also have an RO 150 on order, back order. And already have just under 200$ into abrasive and I haven’t even paid for or received that tool yet. So if you haven’t look at your consumable costs now before they sneak up in you!
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline Zulan

  • Posts: 3
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2020, 11:19 AM »
Thanks everyone for your answers and input. Now I have the RO90 and the DTS 400 to consider. But it’s all good, I’m enjoying the challenge. When reading up on the RO90 it definitely seems to be a do it all machine. I guess 90 is the size of the paper, seems to be really small compared to the others? Maybe that will be a problem?

I’m ditching the idea of a 150, thinking I won’t do larger things too often and if I do, I guess it just takes longer time.

The idea of a triangle head seems great. I take it there is no triangle head for the 125?

Only thing putting me off about the Rotex models is that I’ve read that the finish isn’t as great as the ETS models and I’m thinking finish is of highest importance when it comes to furniture. It might be that you need more skill then I have to get that great finish anyway and the RO 90 might be the best tool to start with. It might also be that the finish is better using the RO 90 then the RO 150?

Why did you order a RO150 Bertotti?

Fignewton, to me it sounds you just use the 90 for smaller things and the ro125 for everything else? I'm thinking that if I only have one machine, it might be better the have the ro 125 and the smaller things by hand?

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 7253
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2020, 11:49 AM »
When reading up on the RO90 it definitely seems to be a do it all machine. I guess 90 is the size of the paper, seems to be really small compared to the others? Maybe that will be a problem?

Yes, the small size is a problem. From a previous owner of the RO90: it is most certainly not a do it all machine because it is too small. I consider it a sander to have on the side, not as a main sander, because it is actually very limited in its usefulness. It is also a costly sander to operate because size for size its paper cost double that of any other sander. And you don't want to put the RO90 on your table top, you'll turn that nice flat frozen lake into a first class ski resort.

and the RO 90 might be the best tool to start with. It might also be that the finish is better using the RO 90 then the RO 150?

No, it is actually the worst tool to start with.

For furniture, a DTS 400 or ETS 125 are the best to start with, and it is best to not want one single sander to do it all, but get a few, like these two. No Rotex is needed for furniture.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3358
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2020, 01:09 PM »
Don’t forget the vacuum. With any of the Festool sanders, being able to adjust (usually less suck is best) vacuum pressure is important. Both Festool and Fein make excellent vacs that don’t shriek loudly.

I am a Festool buyer, but there are really good orbital sanders that work well at a lower cost.

I’d suggest practicing on scrap a lot before tackling a piece of furniture. Prepping the surface and applying the correct finish are nearly art forms.

Birdhunter

Offline Zulan

  • Posts: 3
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2020, 01:16 PM »
Thanks a lot everyone and your post makes alot of sense.

I'm close to deciding now, I'm now convinced the best one is the ETS 125/3. But now I find out that the 125/3 is a lot more expensive then 150/3, I thought it was the other way around. Does the 125 justify the price? From my research and location its about 40% more.

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 845
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2020, 01:37 PM »
I’ll chime in on the RO90.
I’m not having too much experience with it, so being carful here, as many here do have a lot of experience with sanders. But, considering the detailing you will be doing, there’s probably not many alternatives to the RO90, and it does ordinary orbital mode too, as well as having the delta pad. I did buy mine for detail work, and the few jobs I’ve done with it, it’s a keeper. Though it’s not a do it all sander. An orbital, delta or rectangular sander is more of a do it all. But they do not excel at correcting in detail, nor remove material fast. A RO90 is very effective in tight spots, curves, removing pinpoint imperfections. Concave surfaces too.
Any other brand, and a lot cheaper one than Festool will do a pretty good job on flat open surfaces. I’d at least looked well into where you’ll get the most challenging tasks when renovating the furniture you have in mind, and put the money where you’ll save time and effort.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3358
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2020, 02:38 PM »
If you are set on Festool, I agree the 125 is a great choice. I own several Festool sanders including the 125 and the 90. The 90 is a good choice for small areas. The problem with a smallish sander pad is that it is too easy to dig into the wood rather than getting a smooth surface. Even a very small “dish mark” shows up like a beacon when you apply a finish. 

I’m currently building a coffee table out of black walnut. The process has been to work through sanding grits from 80 to 180. Dampen the surface to raise the fibers. Sand with 180. Apply finish and sand with 320. I’ll do this 5 times, but not sand after last coat. The table is 35” by 35”.  Using a 125.
.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2020, 02:44 PM by Birdhunter »
Birdhunter

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 412
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2020, 04:42 PM »
If your furniture renovations involve restoring rather than resurfacing you can accomplish much with great control using sandpaper in your hand along with the finer 3M abrasive pads in maroon, grey and white and 0000 steel wool.  I would recommend you spend some time watching the YouTube video collection by Thomas Johnson out of Gorham, Maine.  He covers everything from surface cleaning to major structural repairs.  Many of his projects are antique furniture but he also does a lot of mid-century modern and some very contemporary pieces.  I have learned much from watching him.

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 122
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2020, 05:35 PM »
@Zulan I ordered the ro150 because I am doing more floor work and starting to build some tables with ruff stock. My first was the ro90 and as you can see many will tell you it is a specific tool only for certain things. On floors I haven’t had issue with the edges digging in yes I spent and entire day doing a floor with it, my floor, and at first it did dig in, bounce around, and generally make begin to regret buying it. But I spent that time rethinking my approach and after a couple hours it became more fun to use the odd behavior slowly went away. It is a beast to learn to handle. I have not sanded anything last 80 grit yet so I can’t claim it will do a great at fine finishes but I suspect it will do a fine job. We will see once I get my hands on some cherry I’ll be making myself a new dining table and finishing it with the two Rotex. But now that I have easily put 40 hours into the ro90 I love it, but if ease of use and a quick start are important to you it may not be a great first sander. I’m well into my 50’s and have a fair amount of experience with angle grinders and big buffers so I think that helped my learning curve. This isn’t a sander you just grab and instantly make good use of. You absolutely have to learn it. And as I have said before abrasives are expensive! For it and the 150. So far aI have only used granat and it has been the best sand paper/abrasive I have used. I really like it. If you are really wanting to do furniture I would suggest some good scrappers and learning how to use them, a good vac I have the ct26, pay attention to the other suggestions these guys have used way more Festool sander than I have. Also see if you can find a professional furniture restorer and get some first hand advice and see what tools they use provided they are willing to show you. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of good scrapers.

One question are you planning to strip furniture without using strippers? The chemical type not the dancers as fun as that may be. If you are going to chemical strip it will change how you approach refinishing a bit. I mean most tight spots I would sand and scrap by hand so how important would a delta sander really be? 1/4 or 1/2 sheet may be better. Would that be the DTS mentioned above?
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline fignewton

  • Posts: 120
  • "Fine Quality Sawdust"
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2020, 07:39 PM »


Fignewton, to me it sounds you just use the 90 for smaller things and the ro125 for everything else? I'm thinking that if I only have one machine, it might be better the have the ro 125 and the smaller things by hand?

yes, the 125 is my go-to for most things.  What sold me on the investment on the RO90 was the. dust collection. Even sanding small stuff down to 220 by hand still produces a lot of dust, which I am getting more sensitive to.  With the RO90 and my CT26, virtually dust free.  I clamp in the MFT, and have the boom arm on the vac, and it is super efficient and clean.   But I would go with the 125 first.
TS55, MFT3+, OF1400, C12, CT-26, LR-32 system, Domino 500, RO125, MFK 700, Carvex w/ accsy, Sys-roll,  CXS, Kapex, UG with extensions, RO90

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3358
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2020, 05:43 AM »
I suggest NOT using steel wool. The fibers can get embedded in the wood and, over time, stain the wood if they contact moisture. I use either bronze wool or the white Scotchpad.
Birdhunter

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 412
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2020, 08:40 AM »
Steel wool is never used on raw wood for the reason you cite but it is very useful for applying wax/oil mixes to the finished surface to clean and smooth.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8171
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2020, 10:32 AM »
Not knowing exactly what your definition of striping is...a few thin layers of shellac or poly clear coat or multiple thick layers of paint?

I was striping a picnic table recently that had multiple layers of paint with a Rotex 125...it was very slow so I grabbed the RAS 115 and the task immediately became easier.

You could purchase both a DTS 400 & an ETS 125 for less than the price of a Rotex 125 and I guarantee they will serve you better than a stand-alone Rotex.

Just yesterday I used a DTSC 400 and an ETSC 125 to sand down some teak outdoor chairs. That DTS/ETS combination is hard to beat.


Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8171
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2020, 10:02 AM »
Another thought, if you'll be doing a lot of edge sanding the ETS 125 fits into the new Festool Positioning Aid, 205316.




Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 474
Re: What tool for renovating furniture
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2020, 12:28 AM »
Not sure what renovation means? I would look at the Porter Cable Restorer or  Makita 9741 wheel sander. Woodcraft sells it, but I didn’t see the PC on Amazon? If your trying to resurface the wood I would go with the PC, if you have a more industrial project like rejuvenating reclaimed lumber go with the Makita. I would get yourself some dust extraction, Festool CT-15? And any FT sander(s) depending on budget and size volume. It’s like asking what flavor ice cream someone likes? eventually you’ll have several sanders,if you stick with it. I didn’t read all the suggestions above, but you would be warranted to read what people gravitate toward and for what reason.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 12:32 AM by mkasdin »