Last updated on March 19th, 2023 at 12:55 am
There are different types of sanders available for sanding wood, most of which are for sanding flat and even surfaces. However, if you want to sand uneven surfaces, shapes, contours and arcs, what you need is an oscillating spindle sander.
As a woodworker or furniture maker, there’re many applications for it. For instance, after cutting curves on a wood piece with a bandsaw or a scroll saw, there’re bound to be bandsaw marks on the edges.
With the help of the Oscillating spindle sander, you can smoothen up the edges when you pass it through the fast rotating and oscillating spindle.
Apart from sanding curved edges and contours, they’re also great for eliminating defects like bumps and uneven edges even on straight workpieces by simply constructing a straight fence around the spindle as a guide for your workpiece. Ultimately, it’s a tool for refining the edges of your workpieces after they have been sawn.
A typical oscillating spindle sander consists of a rotating circular drum covered with a sleeve of sandpaper which also oscillates or moves up and down simultaneously to prevent the rotating action of the drum from burning the material being sanded.
The up and down motion of the drum also ensures that the wear on the sandpaper is spread evenly, ensuring a longer lifespan for the sandpaper.
Here’s a video on how to use it, demonstrated by Nicholas Kosloski.
What To Consider When Making Your Choice
There’re different types and sizes of oscillating spindle sanders you can choose from. Each produced by different manufacturers with different set of features you can choose from, and each suitable for certain types of projects.
Not everyone will be suitable for you depending on the type of project you want to undertake with it.
Here’s how we chose the 10 listed here on this post, and here’s what you should look for when making your choice.
When it comes to size, oscillating spindle sanders comes in three main sizes or models which include floor models, benchtop models and portable or handheld models.
As the name implies, floor model oscillating spindle sanders are heavy duty units that are meant to be positioned on the workshop floor.
They’re floor-standing units that are very heavy with most weighing over 300 pounds, so it even makes no sense to place them on top of anything, except a rolling stand.
As you can tell, they’re also the most expensive. They come equipped with more powerful motors, over 1 HP and a larger table top to accommodate large workpieces.
You should get this if you’re professional woodworker who will be using it daily in the workshop. If you’re just a weekend warrior who just needs it for weekend projects, you should probably get something smaller and less costly.
A benchtop oscillating spindle sander is designed to be used on top of a workbench or any flat table top. These are much smaller and lighter than floor standing models and are very useful for both workshop and jobsite projects.
They’re ideal for jobsite projects because you can pick it up by yourself, put it in your truck and take it to the jobsite. Most weigh just over 30 pounds, so carrying it yourself is usually not a big deal.
You can get a benchtop model spindle sander whether you’re a professional woodworker, a simple DIYer or weekend warrior.
They have smaller work tables but are usually large enough for most of the jobs you’ll ever do on a machine like this.
Portable or Handheld Models
A portable oscillating spindle sander is a simple handheld oscillating sanding tool you can use to sand curves on really large work pieces.
These are often ideal when the workpiece is too big to be handled on top of a floor-standing or portable model. For instance, when working on large assembled furniture.
The work table is the part of the oscillating spindle sander where you place the work piece for sanding. The spindle protrudes through the middle of the work table, allowing you to sand the material placed on top of the table.
There’re two main types of tables that come with OSS. It can either be a stationary work table or a tilting work table.
With a stationary table, the table does not move or bevel in any direction. With a tilting table on the other hand, you can move or bevel the table if you’re sanding beveled edges.
A tilting table allows you to work on more complex profiles and curves that will not be possible or more difficult on a stationary table.
Oscillating spindle sanders with tilting tables are usually more expensive than ones with a stationary table.
For instance, this JET JBOS-5 with a tilting table is over $500 while this WEN 6510T that has a stationary table is just over $100. You can guess, the tilting table functionality of the JET JBOS-5 has a lot to do with that price difference.
Motor Horsepower and Spindle Speed
When shopping for an oscillating spindle sander, you’ll see that each comes with a different motor specifications, from ¼ Horsepower to 1 Horsepower and above.
The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the sander is, making it much easier to sand harder materials with it.
You’ll find that benchtop models usually come with ¼ horsepower to ½ horsepower motors. Floor-standing models usually come equipped with motors that are 1 HP and above.
If you’re carrying out light-duty projects like simple craftwork, wooden toys and picture frames, then you can choose one with a ¼ HP motor.
For carrying out medium duty projects like sanding hardwoods, you should go with benchtop units that come equipped with ½ horsepower and above motors.
For heavy duty projects, you’ll likely need a floor model OSS with motors that are 1 horsepower and above.
1. WEN AT6535 Oscillating Spindle Sander
The WEN AT6535 oscillating spindle sander is a slight upgrade to the time-tested WEN AT6510. It comes with certain features which the AT6510 doesn’t have.
The most notable of these features is the work table which can be beveled up to 45 degrees, allowing it to accommodate angled workpieces without an issue.
Just like the previous model, the WEN AT6535 comes with a powerful 3.5 amps motor which rotates the spindle up to 2000 times per minute, ensuring that it produces the smoothest surface no matter how rough the material is.
The spindle also oscillates up to 58 times per minute and has a stroke length of 5/8 inches. When you get this unit, it comes with 5 different sizes of sanding spindles which are ½ inch, ¾ inch, 1 inch, 1-1/2 inch and 2 inches in size, allowing you to tackle variety of projects no matter how complicate the curve is.
This unit features a secure onboard storage which allows you to store each of these sanding spindles in the machine itself, allowing you to organize them efficiently and prevent them from being misplaced.
As with any other sanding machine, dust collection is very important. That’s why the WEN AT6535 oscillating spindle sander features a ½ inch dust port, allowing you to connect a suitable dust collection system or shop vac which collects all the dust produced during use.
Also included for your convenience are five 80 grit sanding sleeves for your first use of the equipment.
All in all, I believe the WEN AT6535 features everything you need to tackle every project that involves sanding of curves in woodworking pieces, and as with all WEN products I’ve tested in the past, it will stand the test of time.
Related: 10 Best Random Orbital Sanders
2. JET 708404 JBOS-5 Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander
Though a little bit on the pricy end, the JET JBOS-5 benchtop oscillating spindle sander is one feature-rich machine that’s definitely up there with the best.
Just like the WEN 6510T, it’s equipped with a powerful ½ HP motor which provides the needed muscle for the sanding operation. Though for the JET, the 1 inch spindle oscillates at 30 OPM while it spins at 1725 RPM to help sand through your projects easily.
JET makes use of heavy duty worm gear mechanism to provide the oscillating action of the spindle ensuring it runs consistently at the same speed, power and efficiency. The main spindle action though runs on normal ball bearings.
A built-in table insert and a 2 inch dust port ensures efficient management of the dust produced during operation. You can simply connect a dust collector to the JET JBOS-5 and have all the dust extracted as they’re produced.
One distinct feature of the JET JBOS-5 is its ability to tilt for bevel sanding. The worktable can tilt up to 45 degrees easily in case you want to carry out some bevel sanding on your work-piece. This really comes in handy when trying to sand complicated shapes with the spindle sander.
As far as performance go, the one inch spindles it’s equipped with ensures you get scratch-free results on the material you’re sanding with it. Also the spindles that come with it have threaded ends which makes it a breeze to swap them out in case you need to, thus reducing tool downtime.
It comes with a built-in storage racks to help keep the spindles and table inserts handy while working with the sander. Four non-skid rubber fit helps keep the sander stable during operation.
To prevent accidental start-ups the JET JBOS-5 is equipped with a removable on/off switch which is very good for safety.
Overall, the JET JBOS-5 is definitely one of the best spindle sanders you need to consider when shopping for a spindle sander. It’s a little bit pricy, but it makes up for it in quality.
Related: 40 Modern Tools For Woodworkers and Carpenters
3. Triton TSPS450 Oscillating Spindle Sander
Equipped with a 3.5A motor with a no load speed of 2000 RPM, the Triton TSPS450 is one powerful oscillating spindle sander you can definitely rely on to sand curved and detailed pieces in your workshop.
The spindle oscillates at a speed of 58 oscillations per minute, which is necessary in order to eliminate or reduce the friction that can cause burning and band marks on your work-piece.
In order to provide stability and support for larger work-pieces, the Trition TSPS450 comes equipped with a large cast iron table. So you can be sure that you work on any size of stock you intend to work on.
When you purchase the Triton TSPS450 Oscillating spindle sander, you also get 6 sanding sleeves together with matching rubber drums, as well as table inserts to help guide the spindle as well as prevent dust from finding its way into the motor.
Also built into the sander are storage racks for storing the sanding sleeves and the other accessories that comes with the sander.
The TSPS450 is equipped with a dust extraction port which you can connect to a dust collector to help remove the dust created during operation.
There are locating holes drilled on it which you can easily use to mount it on your workbench for easy operation.
With these features, it’s easy to say that the Triton TSPS450 is one of the best oscillating spindle sanders you can get your hands on today. Its performance is exceptional, and it’s budget friendly as well.
Related: 10 Best Benchtop Thickness Planers for Dimensioning Rough Lumber
4. EJWOX Portable Oscillating Spindle Sander
A lot has been said about benchtop oscillating sanders, but portable handheld models, not much. That’s where the EJWOX handheld oscillating spindle sander comes into the picture.
It’s a portable model which you can take with you anywhere especially if you need one in the jobsite.
Even in the workshop it also comes very handy as it allows you to work on very large work-pieces by simply keeping the stock stationary and moving the spindle sander over the surface to be sanded.
The EJWOX sander weighs 5 lbs and it’s equipped with a 5 Amps 120 Volts motor which provides the power needed to spin and oscillate the spindle at the same time.
A very important feature of this EJWOX handheld sander is that its speed can be varied from 1800 to 3200 RPM and the oscillations can be varied from 50 to 90 SPM, providing a burn-free sanding operation.
The variable speed also ensures you are able to apply the right speed depending on the type of material you’re sanding or the type of curve or shape you’re trying to sand.
A time-saving and sleek feature of the EJWOX spindle sander is that it’s equipped with a keyless locking bolt which allows you to easily and quickly swap out pre-loaded sanding drums without breaking a sweat.
An adjustable edge guide ensures that you don’t remove too much stock from the material you’re sanding.
Overall, I can aptly conclude that this handheld sander from EJWOX is definitely one you can spend your money on, especially if you’re looking for something portable you can take with you anywhere including a busy jobsite.
5. Grizzly Industrial G0739 Oscillating Spindle Sander
The oscillating spindle sander by Grizzly Industrial Tools labeled G0739 is one of the best we reviewed in this article.
Equipped with a ½ HP 120V single-phase motor and six different diameters of sanding drums, it can handle any shape of curve you throw at it.
It features a cast iron table which adds more weight and helps balance it on the table even when it’s not bolted to it
Talking about its size, the G0739 sander is quite compact, but if you focus on that, you might miss out on a great piece of machinery.
The sander comes equipped with 5 rubber drums of different diameters with 6 sanding sleeves to match them.
There are 6 table inserts, 3 spindle washers and a spindle wrench to help you make minor adjustments if needed.
An onboard storage space allows you to keep each one of these extra accessories organized on the sander so you can use them whenever you need them.
Overall, the Grizzly G0739 is definitely up there among the best oscillating spindle sanders we reviewed.
Related: The Best Grizzly Thickness Planers for Your Projects
6. Shop Fox W1831
Just like the Grizzly G0739, this Shop Fox W1831 also comes equipped with a ½ HP motor you can use to sand down curves of different configurations.
In fact, in terms of features, the Shop Fox W1831 is almost a replica of the Grizzly G0739.
It also comes equipped with 6 sanding sleeves and 5 rubber drums of different diameters to match the task you have at hand.
When switched on, the drum rotates at 2000 RPM and produces 58 oscillations per minute ensuring you get the smoothest of finishes on your work piece.
A built-in 1-1/2 inch dust port ensures dust is properly channelled and collected as you carry out your project.
7. Delta 31-483 Oscillating Spindle Sander
Although, not that different from the other benchtop oscillating spindle sanders in terms of feature, the Delta 31-483 sets itself apart in terms of physical appearance.
It’s sturdy and quite heavy, weighing up to 66 lbs.
The sander features a ½ HP motor which spins the sanding drum at a speed of 1725 RPM and oscillates it at a rate of 29 oscillations per minute.
You can tilt the table from 0 to 45 degrees to make accurate bevel sanding of your work pieces, and there are twin locking handles to lock in the table top for accurate bevel sanding.
A positive stop at 90 degrees ensures you can return the table to the 90 degree position easily.
The heavy duty steel frame constructions adds weight and stability to the sander ensuring you can work with it without even screwing or bolting it to the table.
8. Grizzly G1071 Floor-Standing Oscillating Spindle Sander
The Grizzly Industrial G1071 oscillating spindle sander is a 1 Horsepower floor standing unit you can use for heavy duty sanding projects in the workshop.
It comes equipped with everything you need to smoothen up all the rough curved edges on any type of wood no matter how hard it is.
Equipped with a 1 HP 120V/240V single phase motor, this OSS is really capable of handling the toughest projects.
The G1071 comes with is a large 25 inch by 25 inch tilting table which provides adequate support and maneuverability for large work pieces.
You also get 10 spindle sizes of 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, 1″,1-1/2″, 2″, 3″ and 4 inches, all tapered, thread and ready for use.
The spindle spins at a speed of 1725 RPM and oscillates at 72 SPM with a stroke length of 1-1/2 inches.
It comes with a removable ON/OFF switch for safety, preventing any accidental start-up. Design and construction-wise, the Grizzly G1071 is has every part made of steel for durability, and on-board storage for all the spindles.
Overall, the Grizzly industrial G1071 OSS is an all in one solution that makes tackling large woodworking projects a breeze.
9. POWERTEC OS1400 Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander
If you need a portable benchtop oscillating spindle sander you can use to sand different shapes, contours and arcs in wood, then you should consider getting the POWERTEC OS1400.
Priced below 200 bucks, this is a unit that won’t cost you much but will still let you to carry out most of the same tasks and functions of pricier units.
The only function it doesn’t have is a beveling work table. Apart from that, it performs very well in every other area.
The rubber drums or spindles are really solid and surely built to last. Along with the 5 spindles, there are 6 sanding sleeves, 5 drum washers and 1 spindle knob.
Powering it is a 2.6 Amp 2/5 horsepower motor spinning the spindle at a speed of 1725 revolutions per minute. The spindle also oscillates up and down at a speed of 30 strokes per minute which helps preserve the drums and sandpaper from deforming and also prevents workpiece burn.
The machine is lightweight but sturdy, and it comes with 4 rubber feets to keep it stable and reduce vibration during use.
It features a 2-inch dust port that allows you connect your dust collection system to keep your work area free from the dust produced during use.
10. WEN HA5935 Portable Variable Speed Oscillating Spindle Sander
This portable variable speed oscillating spindle sander has everything you need to sand all those complicated curves in your woodwork.
You can use it as a handheld unit or you can easily transform it into a benchtop unit by clamping it to your workbench using the mounting hardware included with it.
Equipped with a 5 Amp variable speed motor the WEN HA5935’s spindle spins at a speed range of 1800 to 3000 RPM and it oscillates at a rate between 50 and 90 oscillations per minute.
Included are four drums or spindles of different diameters to help you tackle different types of projects.
Other models require you to bring the work to the machine. But where this portable sander really shines is that it allows you to bring the sander to the work piece.
You can use it in hard-to-reach places where a normal unit cannot be used. Yes, it’s small, but it gets the job done.