So, you want to sand your own floor, but don’t want to dig a hole to China with one of those scary drum sanders? Then read on for our hands-on review of the Clarke American OBS 18DC Orbital Floor Sander. Whether you’re sanding a new floor smooth, or sanding between finish coats, this sander works great. And it’s do it yourself / DIY friendly. After hearing several horror stories about drum sanders, typically involving the massacre of beautiful wood floors with unsightly trenches and gouges, I decided orbital was the way to go. The sander sports features like an enclosed fan-cooled 1 HP motor, 3450 orbits per minute sanding speed, heavy duty cast aluminum main frame and pad plate, bristle dust skirt, independent dust pickup fan for effective dust containment, and torque-less operation. The torque-less operation means you don’t get tossed around the room like Keanu Reeves vs. Agent Smith in the Matrix. The sander works by attaching a giant bristle pad to its base plate. The specialized sanding sheets then adhere to the bristle pad. The pad itself can also be used for certain types of light buffing or polishing. Since I didn’t have a chance to test it on removing existing floor finish, I don’t know how the sander would do with that. However, I suspect it would work fine assuming a fairly low number sandpaper grit and minimal old finish build-up. I found the Clarke American surprisingly easy to steer given how heavy it is. You can even day-dream briefly during operation without destroying your floor. Just keep the sander moving while you romanticize the glamorous life of a floor polishing janitor. Dust collection is fairly effective, but it’s still a dusty affair. A mask, some hearing protection, and a sealed off work space are definitely recommended. The unit is also available minus the “DC” in the product number, sans dust collection, but I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want the dust collection. I rented the Clarke American Orbital Floor sander for a little over $40/day from a local Home Depot Rental Location. I could not find a quoted price for a new one online, but you can check ebay for used floor sanders here, sometimes under $1000.
About Marc Lyman
Marc grew up under a brave single mom who "encouraged" home improvement on the family home. Early toddler gifts included a tool set, and even a cordless Bosch drill when cordless drills first came out. In grade school (give or take a few years), Marc's mom said, "We need to cut down some trees. . . . here's a chainsaw." A father figure also involved Marc in many home improvement projects, including a summer of home remodeling in Palo Alto, CA. Toss in some Obsessive Compulsive personality traits researching everything home improvement related. The end result: a genetically pre-disposed, socially sculpted home improvement machine! For his complete profile, please visit our About page. Really, it's worth it.