How to fix a palm sander

How to fix a palm sander in just a few minutes!
Are you ever lost in the mumbo jumbo world of tool talk? Don’t know what to buy or get nor even WHY?

I so get it. I’m still learning daily… here’s proof.

I had what I regarded as a very nice, not so cheap orbital palm sander. It worked to perfection for the longest time.

One day, the sandpaper just wouldn’t stick. Every time I sanded with it, the sandpaper would simply float away as if all gravity left the earth, while I continued to sand away with no paper in sight.

Let me just say, this does NOT work well when sanding rough pallet wood!

So when Crafty Affaire approached with the promise of a workshop, I knew I needed two sanders anyway. Frustrated with my own, I walked into the toolstore and told my woeful story.

How to fix a palm sander and 5 must have tools you will love on

 Me – “I’m so frustrated! I bought a really nice palm sander, but the paper won’t stick! Can you suggest one that would work better?”

Abbotsford Tools – “Tell me what happened…”

“Well, I was sanding and the paper just flipped off. And nothing will stick to the surface. I don’t get it. It’s a new sander. I was so desperate to use it one day I screwed the sandpaper to the unit. (can you believe I did that?!)  I think that was dumb because it stopped the head from rotating. Did I totally blow the entire unit at this point?!”

“Not exactly. The head rotation isn’t part of the motor so you should be ok. Have you ever sanded something without the paper on before?”

“Well, yeah, when the paper would flip off, I …. wait. I remember one time I forgot to PUT paper on and sanded an entire board…”


Problem solved. I sanded the velcro sticky things off. 

“So… is there such a thing as a replacement part then for that rotating thing?”

“Yes. If it’s the one with the 4 screws showing (he so talked my language), it’s $19.99.”

A million times DOH! 


And I didn’t even get laughed at once. Except by myself.

Replacing velcro / How to fix a palm sander and 5 must have tools you will love on

Replacing velcro / How to fix a palm sander and 5 must have tools you will love on

Replacing velcro / How to fix a palm sander and 5 must have tools you will love on

Within seconds, I had a new sander again. I cannot believe myself some days.

But knowing I could fix this, I bought another one anyway. With variable speed!

Variable speed palm sander / How to fix a palm sander and 5 must have tools you will love on

This unit allows me to slow the motion right down to a 1 for easy does it edges I’d normally rip to shreds with the other one. It works pretty fabulous! 

Bosch cordless drills 18v / How to fix a palm sander and 5 must have tools you will love on

In other news, I also picked up a new cordless drill set. I’ll never run out now! This Bosch set is a nice size (not to big or heavy) with lots of power (18v).

I always try and get the 2 pack kits because they are so much cheaper than buying drills separately. Plus they come with 2 batteries too. (total bonus)

But we talked about so much more at the tool store. About miter saws and more in depth palm sander talk. My brain came home packed with new info!

– – – – –

My parting words? It really pays to walk into a place that offers information as part of the deal. Buying blind is tricky when you’re new at this. I encourage you to give your business to those types of places. My special place has indeed earned mine.

What are your own must have favourite tools? Why do you love them?

Basic must have DIY tools - a checklist and work surface suggestions for the DIYer, via Funky Junk Interiors

Read about all my fav DIY tool must-haves HERE

Read all my other tool tip posts HERE

Facebook Pinterest Twitter Instagram RSS

Subscribe to projects!

Categories: Junk Drawer, Tools & Building, What To Get
Tags: ,

15 thoughts on “How to fix a palm sander

  1. Thank you! This is SO helpful to those who are “tool clueless.” I never had a father, brother, husband, sister or mother to show me anything. (My first experience with caulk was to poke a hole in the back end–My neighbor laughed so hard at me when I told him it wouldn’t work and I didn’t know why.)

  2. I had to chuckle because I did the very same thing with my palm sander. Whoops blonde moment, I took the whole sander in and said simply … “We won’t discuss how it happened, but I need a new one if these pointing to the pad”. The nice Lowes man just smiled and took me to the isle :). It must happen a lot!!

  3. Donna…I have way more tools than my poor husband…and it’s thanks to you. I used to just be plain afraid of tools, or trying to fix something. You are THE best. I use a palm sander, but am still too chicken to try table saws….um still too loud and scary! Hah!

  4. Yep. That was me 2 years ago. I wrote a whole post about trying to sand and the sandpaper flying out – over and over and over – I thought it was the sub zero temps that I was working in. Nobody wrote me back and said “silly girl, you need to replace that pad thingy.” But somehow I figured it out. Maybe it was the sanding fairy. I felt like a dodo.

  5. I was just working with my orbital sander on sanding down my butcherblock island when I started losing control and could get it to sand in a straight line. After taking it apart and looking online ata parts list the the nubs on the brake pad had worn down. After searching for this misterious part that no sales associate knew about I finally had to order it online and have it shipped in. I was so excited about getting this project done in one day and now it has turned into a three week project.

  6. I am feeling kind of sick to my stomach, I have THROWN out so many good orbital sanders because the pad wouldn’t stick anymore. I have wondered about replacing the velcro parts, then just go and buy a new one. No more!

    Pinning this to hopefully save other DIYers!!!

  7. Hi Donna! I too have had this problem, it was because pieces of wood got up under the sandpaper and sat between it and the velcro pad (apparently I was careless in attaching the paper).

    The beauty of buying Ridgid Brand power tools is the fact that they replace the sanding pad piece for free! I registered my orbital sander when I bought it, had that happen where paper wouldn’t stick anymore and they replaced it for free. That is the major reason I keep going back to them, plus, they are a quality, contractor grade tool that is made to be dropped, smashed and slung around. All of which, I am guilty of at one time or another.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  8. I have two “Mouse” sanders. I’ve owned them and used them for like 15 years. Just the other day I figured out that they came with a round pad to use it as an orbital sander too. I was like awestruck in my basement and started laughing at myself. I guess I just never thought to look at the rest of the attachments that came in the case! Uh Duh to me!

  9. I am totally a tool junkie. My hubby busted my air nailer yesterday and I was so happy as I have had a cordless one on my wish list FOREVER! Now I can go buy it with a clear conscience. (I couldn’t justify the expense in my own mind as long as I already had a working one). I see some great builds in my future. Funny how a new tool can inspire us to more…:), I don’t drool over shoes, just take me to the tool crib of the local hardware store.

  10. Hello-
    Your palm sander suggestion is VERY misleading. I thought you were going to tell me how to fix the velcro problem, how to clean it or some kind of suggestion on how to make the pad sticky again. I did not need the suggestion of buying a new one. ( Disregard my 2 other comments).

    • Hi Larry, I didn’t suggest to buy a new sander, just the velcro component. I personally didn’t know this could be purchased, so this was valuable info for me I wanted to share for others not in the know. Sorry you didn’t feel that way.

  11. Hi, I am having the same problem and well after doing my research I figured out I could change that out too so I did and mine is still doing that where the sanding paper doesn’t stick I just don’t get it! It has a new one now and still ugh I’m so frustrated and don’t know what to do! :'(

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *