Upgrading random-orbit palm sanders
Two of the sanders from the Dynabrade Dynorbital Extreme series are the X51V vacuum model, left, and the X52 fine orbit model. Also shown is the new Dynacut Extreme Orange sanding disc for better vacuum extraction.

Many production shops have long preferred pneumatic sanders over electric versions for ergonomics, power and reliability, but now Dynabrade has introduced some breakthrough technologies that make air-powered sanding even more attractive.

Dynabrade’s new Dynorbital Extreme series of random-orbit palm sanders meet a wide range of applications. All the sanders in the series are made in the USA, and all feature a similar look, but there are different performance features such as orbit diameter, abrasive connection, and dust extraction. We tried out two of the sanders in the series.

Dynabrade X51V

This is the go-to workhorse sander in the series, with a 3/16-inch orbit pattern designed for general sanding and a unique vacuum abrasive pad and disc combination for maximum dust extraction. The coarser orbit pattern is identified by a teal trigger paddle that is recessed into the top of the sander for more comfortable use.

Hook-and-loop sanding discs for this sander use a spiral hole pattern designed to drive dust to the center of the disc for maximum extraction efficiency. Aluminum oxide discs feature 3-mil film backing and anti-clog coating to add to durability and resist loading. We also appreciated the vacuum adapter that made connection to extraction easy.

Dynabrade X52

This model uses 5-inch PSA discs, and the black recessed paddle trigger denotes a finer 3/32-inch orbit pattern. It has the same great ergonomics as the rest of the series, but it’s a simple, no-nonsense choice for highly controlled fine sanding.

While dust collection is a great feature, when you have a palm sander with no dust collection hose to bother you, you’ve got lots more control of the tool. Pneumatic sanders tend to be lighter and more maneuverable than electric ones anyway, but this model really shows how handy a random-orbit air sander can be.

How they work

We took both sanders for a spin in a variety of projects, most notably one where we were converting an old painted buffet for use as a bathroom vanity. When we discovered walnut veneer under the faux-oak grain finish, we were off to the races with these powerful little sanders.

Simple, compact, comfortable, powerful, but controllable, these sanders were a great asset in the project. They were way less fatiguing than using a big electric sander, but with the control to sand delicate veneer. We also appreciated Dynabrade improvements like their push-button air hose connectors. Learn more at Dynabrade.com


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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.