Finish Cabinets Like A Pro: How To Choose The Right Sander For Your Job

Professional Cabinet Sanding Equipment

In woodworking and cabinetry, every intricate detail matters, and sanding is the pivotal step in ensuring your surface transitions go from raw to refined. That’s only possible when you have the right tools.

Professional sanding equipment includes a wide range of items. These tools include machines that facilitate precision sanding, sandpaper that helps the process at various stages and finishing that seals in a beautiful sanding job.

With such an array of equipment available, you want to ensure you have the best options in your toolkit. Explore our guide to bulk sanding equipment and cabinet finishing tools here to help you make a more informed choice.

Common Types of Professional Sanders

Selecting the right sanding machines for your business can boost your team’s productivity and optimize the quality of your carpentry. There are many features to look out for, but consider these factors to be your primary guide:

  • Electrical vs. pneumatic: Electrical sanders are suitable for most woodworking applications and offer consistent power output. Pneumatic or air-powered sanders operate using an air compressor. They are lighter and ideal for outdoor or remote work.
  • Revolutions per minute (RPM): Ensure the machine’s RPM aligns with your needs. Higher RPMs remove material faster, while lower RPMs work well for finer sanding tasks.
  • Locking trigger: A sander with a locking trigger that keeps the sander running continuously reduces user fatigue and extends sanding sessions.
  • Dust management: Prioritize machines with dust collection systems to keep a clean and healthy work environment.
  • Ergonomic grips: Choose machines with ergonomic grips and handles to reduce hand fatigue and improve control during operation.
  • Clamps: Clamps can be helpful for detailed sanding jobs as they allow you to lock the sander in an inverted position during operation.

Random Orbital Finishing Sander

These handheld machines combine both rotary and orbital motions to deliver smooth, swirl-free finishes. They are versatile enough to suit rough sanding and fine-finishing tasks on composite materials, metal and wood. These sanders feature a round bottom spinning at 12,000 revolutions per minute while using a slight wiggle action to remove any traces of a crosshatch pattern.

Product Recommendation: While we have a wide variety of random orbital sanders, the Mirka MRP-550SGV Pro Series stands out — it sands and smooths surfaces while vacuuming up dust and debris. It is also a great choice for sanding and finishing wooden cabinet doors.

Orbital Finishing Sander

Orbital sanders move in a circular motion, delivering fine results with no swirl marks. These devices are great for finishing tasks and getting smooth results on the curves and blending joints of cabinet doors. Where the random orbital sander features a round head, the orbital sander has a square head that vibrates to help refine the final steps of cabinet door finishing.

Product Recommendation: The Mirka MR-34 3″x4″ Orbital Finishing Sander 3mm Orbit has several ergonomic features, like quiet operation at a noise level of just 76 decibels. It runs at speeds up to 10,000 RPM and works with a fine grit.

Belt Sander

A belt sander is a go-to tool for your prep work, clearing off wax, paint and shellac to get you to the finishing stage faster. Using a continuous loop of sandpaper, they work great on tabletops and large cabinet doors. You can use a belt sander to shape wood and other materials, such as to refine edges or create curves.

Product Recommendation: We recommend the Mirka PBS-13457 1/2″ x 18″ Belt Sander for its versatility and ergonomic construction. It runs at 20,000 RPM and weighs just under a kilogram, making it a lightweight option that’s easy to transport from site to site.

Detail Finishing Sander

Detail, corner or mouse sanders are compact and handheld with triangular-shaped sanding pads. They simplify sanding corners, intricate details and tight spaces with precision. These lightweight tools often support cutting blades, scrapers or extension plates.

Manual Sanding

While machines simplify your workload, you may still prefer to do some jobs by hand. This approach gives you more control over finishing touches and lets you get into corners machines have trouble reaching.

Sandpaper Options

Sandpaper is a crucial component of professional sanding equipment. It comes in various grits, all of which help with completing prep work and finishing cabinetry. Selecting the right sandpaper grits and offering your team the right quantities is vital to ensure consistent performance from your sanders. Typically, your team will use:

  • A 100 grit to smooth scratches or roughen paint surfaces.
  • A 180 or 220 grit to scuff-sand lacquer and other finishes between coats.
  • An ultra-fine 440+ grit to polish finishes and create ultra-smooth wooden surfaces.

Selecting the right sanding sheets or abrasive discs helps your team maintain an efficient workflow that delivers consistent quality in cabinet sanding and finishing tasks. Regularly replacing clogged sanding sheets or worn-out discs will also help to extend the sanding equipment’s life span.

Product Recommendation: We offer a variety of sanding discs that fit into different circular sanding attachments, available in adhesive-backed and hook-and-loop. When shopping at National Abrasives Inc., your team can find top-quality brands like Abralon, Aranet and Autonet.

Cabinet Finishing Tools

Finishing tools go beyond sanders and their accessories. It is important to stock up on safety gear for your team to ensure compliance with relevant OSHA safety standards, which include personal protective equipment like:

Wood Finishing

Wood finishing is the final step in cabinet making, complementing the efforts of your professional sanding equipment. It is especially important to be familiar with finishing materials when you are working on a restoration project, as there are various types of wood finishes, such as lacquers, paint, varnishes, oils, waxes and stains:

  • Stains penetrate wood fibers to enhance their natural colors.
  • Shellac and lacquer are easy to remove using lacquer thinner.
  • Clear finishes offer protection against moisture and wear while boosting the wood’s appearance.
  • Wax-based finishes can dissolve when you use just a few drops of turpentine.


Trust the Experts at National Abrasives, Inc.

While a good woodworker does not blame their tools, the right, high-quality tools certainly help to deliver smooth, durable cabinetry. Using the right sanding equipment, abrasives and professional techniques is crucial to optimizing your productivity and ensuring exceptional woodworking or surface preparation.

Shop professional cabinet sanding equipment from National Abrasives, Inc. We have a variety of equipment and accessories to suit your business needs, with a price-match policy and free shipping for orders over $300. Place your order for bulk sanding equipment and other woodworking tools today, or contact us directly at 800.459.8008 for help locating hard-to-find items.

*Updated April 26, 2024

    Sign up for our monthly email to get 10% off your next purchase:

    Call Now For Special Bulk Pricing
    Back to Top