Safety Guidelines for Using a Spindle Sander

Spindle sanders, also called oscillating spindle sanders, are great pieces of equipment for woodworking projects like furniture construction and more. Sanding curves and straightening edges are the perfect job for spindle sanders. And just like the random orbit sander, oscillating spindle sanders are also perfect for smoothing flat surfaces. They have a table top with a hole in the middle that houses a protruding sanding drum. This drum “wobbles,” or moves up and down, as well as around and around. This prevents uneven abrasive action and grit marks on surfaces. It’s equipped with a sandpaper sleeve that provides the actual abrasive action used for sanding wood and other materials, and it retails for between $140 and $300.

Although spindle sanders are one of the most useful and prevalent sanding tools in the woodworking industry, they can be very dangerous. For this reason, there are several important safety guidelines that must be followed when operating such a serious tool. One wrong move can land you in the emergency room or, worse yet, leave you with an amputee. Read on to learn some vital safety rules for using an oscillating spindle sander to better protect yourself from injury.

Safety Tips for Oscillating Spindle Sanders:


  1. Wear safety gear, including goggles and gloves.
  2. Do not wear hanging garments such as ties and necklaces. Tie up long hair. Roll up the sleeves past the elbow. Put on your shirt.
  3. Turn on the duct collector.
  4. Check the table and make any necessary adjustments.
  5. Check for residual debris between the spindle and the table, as well as between the spindle and the dust collection chute.
  6. Make sure the dust collection chute and material DO NOT touch the spindle.


  1. Wait for the sander to reach full speed before sanding your material.
  2. Always keep your fingers within an inch of the spindle at all times.
  3. Sand with light pressure, from right to left or counterclockwise. Don’t force the material into the spindle, gently help it there.
  4. Don’t let your material get caught between the spindle and the table opening.
  5. Always keep your stock on the table when sanding.
  6. Do not sand small parts with a spindle sander. (Use a drill press sleeve instead)
  7. If something gets caught in the spindle: ALWAYS TURN THE SANDER OFF FIRST and WAIT FOR IT TO COME TO A COMPLETE STOP; then clear the jam.
  8. Always hold your stock when sanding. You can lose control of your inventory if you don’t keep it at all times.
  9. Never leave the work area until the sander is turned off and has come to a complete stop.

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