What is a Manual Pole Sander – How to Use it Properly?

what is a pole sander

There is so much that goes into a new painting job, that it does not hurt to have a little help before you get started.

Pole sanders are among the tools that are a must-have for DIY painters as well as contractors.

It’s like a perfect helping hand to make sure that you cover a greater service area in a shorter amount of time.

But what are these manual pole sanders, how does it work and how should you use them for getting your painting job done with a higher level of accuracy?

That is what we will attempt to answer in this article!

What is a Pole Sander?

A pole sander is a manual-style sander that has a thin, long handle attached to it.

It is often made of a front sanding surface, a telescoping pole with a handle, a vice for holding the sandpaper, and a front-facing sandpaper block to stretch it out so that it can cover a wide surface area.

As a user, you can choose from different lengths of a pole sander’s handle that can be as short as 16″ to as long as 51″ like in telescopic handles.

A typical pole sander also comes with two clamps, that are located on either side of the sander head.

The basic function of these clamps is to hold the sandpaper in place when you are using the tool.

The type of clamps a pole sander has may vary.

While some of them have a nut and bolt design few others may have a piece of velcro or clips to hold the sandpaper.

Depending on the type and model, there are also parts like a rotating joint and adapter present that help the sander head to connect with the handle.

What Can You Use It For?

The goal of this tool is to make sure that large surface areas can be sanded down quickly over using traditional sandpaper.

This also ensures that you can reach long distances while one is in use.

By giving you the extra length a manual pole sander makes sure that you won’t have to stand up on a ladder in order to reach various high areas.

And you can also ensure that inaccessible areas could be quickly sanded down just as you might use a roller extension to paint which I have already discussed in my other post.

A pole sander can lead to less stretching and bending and it also saves the chance that you might have to get up on a ladder (when sanding and painting the walls at heights).

This can be a major advantage for contractors that are looking to speed up the efficiency of their work and reduce accidents on the job.

Types of Pole Sander Head

Pole sanders come in several formats.

Getting the right format can make sure you have the ideal tools for your sanding project.

Here are some of the types of sander heads that are commonly used:

1- Rectangular

A rectangular pole sander head is one of the most common types.

This is the ideal type of sanding head for corners, skirting boards, and more.

It can often be difficult for these sanders to flip over during sanding, but it is easy to prevent with good contact on the wall.

Approximate size: 3″ (80mm) in width by 9″ (230mm) in length

2- Circular

A circular sander is designed with more modern development.

It comes with a round shape and it can be used to avoid flipping.

The problem with these sanders is that they often have a smaller surface area. It can also be difficult to reach corners.

Approximate size: 9″ (230mm) in diameter

3- Triangular

Using a triangular sander head will make sure you can get into corners and prevent flipping.

The triangle shape is the most versatile and they can often be produced larger to include a larger surface area than most rectangular types.

Approximate size: 9.5″ (240mm) on each side – equilateral

using a pole sander on ceiling, walls and stairs
Painter using a pole sander on ceiling, walls, and stairs

How to Use a Manual Pole Sander?

The product is relatively simple and it can be used with ease no matter what your experience may be in home renovation projects.

To get started with using a pole sander it’s essential for you to know how to put sandpaper on it.

To start, you can follow these steps:

Step 1- Position your sandpaper:

Pick up some sandpaper that will work for the project that you are using.

Remember that starting with a lower grain of sandpaper and switching over to a higher grade of sandpaper will help remove more material and then smooth out the results.

Attach sandpaper to the block by measuring out the block or using a precut sanding sheet that comes with your tool.

Position the sandpaper so that it completely covers the surface area and then falls into the vice locks on the side of the pole sander.

Getting precut sandpaper can often be the easiest way to quickly change it out as the sandpaper becomes worn out.

Make sure that the sandpaper is the right size as any of the blocks facing outwards could scratch your wall or lead to ongoing dragging from the sander.

Step 2- Clamp down the sandpaper:

Now use the clamps on either side of your pole sander to hold the sandpaper in place.

Insert a small section of the sandpaper on either end of the lock and then tighten the clamps down till the sandpaper is completely secure.

Some pole sanders will include a wingnut designed for securing the sides but there are also locking clamps that simply face down and lock in with springs.

Step 3- Grip the handle firmly:

After you have set up your sander correctly, get a good grip on the handle.

If your device does not come with a good grip, consider installing grips on the handle so that it can be easier for you to hold onto.

Making sure that you can hold the sander grip firmly will ensure that you can very easily use the sander and keep it in contact with the wall until the job is done.

Step 4- Move the sander along the area you would like to sand:

Make sure that the sander remains in contact with the area you would like to sand down well and then move it in a backward and forward motion along with the material.

You will notice that the drywall or any other surface material you are working on will start to smooth out over time.

Keep sanding so that you can remove unwanted material and achieve the ideal level of smoothness.

Step 5- Change the sandpaper as and when required between sanding:

Make sure that you are changing out the sandpaper when it becomes worn out or shows signs of carrying too much material.

If you would like to get the material smoother, consider switching to a higher grit of sandpaper over time.

Changing to higher count sandpaper will allow you to get a surface gradually smoother.

Step 6- Clean and store the sander carefully when done:

After you have completed the project, you can likely wipe out and store your manual sander over time.

Many of these pole sanders with telescoping handles will fold up so that you can put them away and store them without taking up as much space.

By making sure that you can properly store the pole sander, you will have it available to you for your next project.

Are There Any Alternatives to Pole Sanders?

For whatever reason, if a manual pole sander isn’t available, you can consider using a sanding block or a hand sander.

A hand-held tool with an ergonomically designed handle attached to the sander head is my favorite and I usually use it to sand down uneven surfaces such as walls, floors, and other rough materials, and large flat areas.

There are also many different types of power sander machines available but they can be much more expensive to buy.

The bottom line

Using a manual pole sander can be one of the best ways to tackle DIY house paint projects when you want to reach high areas.

Remember, choosing to sand in traditional ways can often place extra strain on your body and put you at risk for injuries as well.

Making the choice to try out a manual wall sander, especially a telescoping one can be a great way you can keep yourself safe.

No matter what style you choose make sure that the process of using a pole sander is easy and not stressful.

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