Get the Best Sander/Polisher for Surfboard Shaping & Ding Repair

Milwaukee Sanders/Polishers have been an industry standard for sanding surfboards.

A quality sanding may be the most important step in surfboard shaping and repair.

This corded model features variable speed control from 0-6,000 RPM – giving you more than enough control to get the sanding phase of shaping your surfboard done right.

Pair this with some flexible sanding pads and adhesive sandpaper discs and your freshly shaped board will be ready for water in no time.

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Top Picks for Power Sanders and Polishers

Our top picks for the best sanders and polishers are:

  1. Milwaukee 6078 sander
  2. Makita 7″ Variable Speed Sander/Polisher
  3. Dewalt 7″/9″ Variable Speed Sander
  4. Milwaukee Cordless 7″ Variable Speed Sander

Along with your sander, you’ll also need some sanding pads and sandpaper. Our picks for those are:

  1. Flexpad 6″ Sanding Pad – Extra Hard
  2. Superior Pads & Abrasives Sanding Pad
  3. Flexpad 8″ Sanding Pad – Soft
  4. Dura-Gold 6″ PSA Self Adhesive Sanding Discs
  5. Dura-Gold 8″ PSA Self Adhesive Sanding Discs
  6. 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive (for securing the sandpaper to the pad)

Milwaukee 6078 7″ Sander Features

Again, Milwaukee sanders have been a go-to for many surfboard shapers for a long time.

The Milwaukee 6078 sander/polisher features:

  • 2.25 HP, 13 amp motor.
  • 7″ to 9″ capacity.
  • Variable speed control from 0 to 6,000 RPM.
  • 10 foot cord.
  • Standard 5/8″-11 spindle thread.
  • Spindle lock.
  • Trigger lock.

The total length of the tool is 17″ and it weights a little over 9 pounds. While it may feel a little heavy at first, the variable speed control should help you make quick and accurate work of your sanding job.

What type of sander do surfboard shapers use?

After the surfboard has been shaped and glassed, surfboard builders use a variable speed sander/polisher tool to sand it smooth.

These surfboard sanders are sold sanders/polishers/grinders and are often used for metal work or for working on cars.

To use them for a surfboard, you attach a soft and flexible sanding pad with an adhesive sanding disc. Look for one with a standard 5/8″-11 spindle thread size.

Variable speed in a surfboard sander is important to give you the most control as you sand different areas of the board and to help you avoid burning through the resin and fiberglass layers.

To properly sand and finish your surfboard, you’ll need:

  • The variable speed sander/polisher tool.
  • Soft-backed sanding pads.
  • Adhesive sanding discs of varying grits.

These types of sanders are also handy for surfboard repair.

Keep your sander lasting longer by clearing out the vents on the side.

Best Variable Speed Surfboard Sanders: More Good Choices

In addition to Milwaukee sander, some other great choices for the best sander/polisher for surfboards include:

Makita 7″ Variable Speed Sander/Polisher

This Makita sander makes another good choice for surfboard shaping and repair.

It’s a little lighter than the Milwaukee at about 7 lbs and includes variable speed adjustment from 0 to 3,000 RPM.

Overall length is 18 1/2 inches and includes the option for a standard side handle or an over-head loop handle.

Dewalt 7″/9″ Variable Speed Sander

The Dewalt sander gives you the option of either a cordless or corded version.

It’s speed adjusts from 0 to 3,500 RPM and also has the option for either a side handle or loop handle.

This sander only weighs 6.7 pounds.

Milwaukee Cordless 7″ Variable Speed Sander

This cordless Milwaukee sander gives you a little more control and freedom as you sand.

It weights about 7 pounds and has speed control from 0 to 2,200 RPM.

Sanding Pads for Surfboard Shaping

To go along with your surfboard sander, you’ll also need some sanding pads. Some great choices for the best surfboard sanding pads include:

You’ll typically use a harder pad for starting your sanding work, making repairs, and working on your fins. The softer pads can be used for finishing sanding and sanding foam.

Softer sanding pads should be used at lower RPMs.

Sandpaper Discs for Surfboard Shaping & Repair

You’ll use adhesive sanding discs to work on your surfboard and finish repairs. These stick to your sanding pads with their own adhesive backing or with the help of some spray adhesive.

You’ll want to get a variety of grits and work your way up from about 80 grit to 600 grit as you sand your surfboard. Be sure to pick the right sized sanding disc for your sanding pads.

Some great choices for the best surfboard sanding discs include:

Hold your breath!

The sanding step may be one of the most overlooked parts of shaping and repairing a surfboard, and it’s probably one of the most important!

Make your life easier and get yourself the proper tools and supplies for your sanding job.

Check out our recommendations for everything else you’ll need to shape your surfboard.

Do you have experiences with any of the sanders/polishers described above? Maybe you’re a fan of something we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Get the Best Sander/Polisher for Surfboard Shaping & Ding Repair”

    1. The decent sander/polishers are definitely one of the more expensive tools in your kit.

      The WEN variable speed sander is going to one of the least expensive options, you’ll just need to curb your expectations. Cheap power tools like this are always going to be hit or miss.

      That said, if you’re just getting started and want to test the waters of doing your own repairs and shaping your own boards, experimenting with cheaper tools is not a bad thing.

      Good luck!

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