ON the face of it, a portable oscillating spindle sander sounds VERY niche, and therefore not likely to be utilised in very great numbers.
I put this very point to the Triton team, who gave me an interesting response which went something like this: “As a brand, the customer is at the heart of everything we do and every product we create, writes PETER BRETT
“We have hand-held palm sanders, bench sanders and larger work bench, belt and spindle sanders, but we recognised we needed a spindle sander that was more portable, lighter and easy to use but could also be easily fi xed to the bench.”
“As our customer base grows, we need to ensure we can cater to all customers, and this appeared to be a key product that we were missing from the range.”
Triton Prepared to Step Out on a Limb?
On reflection, this response cheered me immensely because it shows a desire by Triton to develop original and interesting tools that carry a little risk in the market.
But then a look at the unique and, at the time, ‘out there’ designs of Triton routers and the Triton Superjaws, shows this approach can be very successful.
The Triton Portable Oscillating Sander is packed in a robust cardboard box and consists of the of the Sander body, with a healthy three metres of rubber cord, four spindles from 15mm to 40mm in diameter, two clamps, a dust extractor adaptor, a grippy rubber mat, and a small fence with screws to hold it in place.
The body containing the motor and gears is made of Triton yellow plastic, and is robustly put together. Handling is aided by some grippy black patches of rubber overmould, but the body is still quite square and you have to fi nd the best way of gripping it when using it freehand.
There is a simple rocker switch for on/off selection on the front turret, as well as a six-position milled wheel for selecting speeds.
This is very important for sanding diff erent materials, as well as taking into account the diff erent sizes of spindle which can be used.
The fastest speed is enough for rapid stock removal, but requires care and confidence on the part of the user, while the slower speeds are perfect for controlled shaping of components.
At slower speeds, for example, you can shape plastic or Perspex without melting them.
This tool is eminently portable, so fi rst of all I tried it in an inverted position. To emphasise the portability and versatility, I chose to attach it to a Workmate®.
This was easily done via the screw clamps which fitted neatly into holes in the body. Because these holes go all the way through the body, users have choices over the orientation of the sander.
It really helps if the rubber mat is placed underneath the machine to provide a bit more grip when the screw clamps are tightened, but it is not an absolute necessity as the contact points are quite flat.
Attaching the spindles is very easy – slide the rubber spindle core - with sanding sleeve - over the spindle, and a plasticheaded butterfl y nut is then screwed tightly on to secure it.
The rubber sleeve needs to expand a bit against the sanding sleeve to ensure it doesn’t move when sanding.
The equivalent of the sanding table on the base of the sander is quite small at about 8.5cm wide and 20cm long, and at first I thought this wouldn’t be big enough to handle the table legs I was shaping.
I was proved wrong. Because the speed of the spindle can be controlled, the control of the workpiece is easy. The clamps do a good job of keeping the body firmly on the workbench too.
Right Way Up Sanding
It takes a steady hand and a bit of confidence to use the sanderthe right-way-up with the base firmly pressed on the workpiece, with the spindle sanding the edges of the workpiece.
Unless the user takes a lot of care it can result in a series of small spindle-shaped ‘dents’ in these edges. To eliminate the problem Triton have included the aforementioned plastic fence.
This is attached via two butterfly nuts to the base, and needs to be placed with care to ensure the spindle just kisses the edge that needs to be sanded.
This arrangement resulted in a smooth sanded surface on straight or curved edges.
I found I was able to use the sander freehand on edges to enable close fitting edges – just as long as I was careful to keep the base firmly flat on the surface of the workpiece.
The dust collection spout is standard 30mm diameter, and is easily connected to a vac with an adaptor.
Dust extraction is good enough to minimise cleaning, but it would probably be safer to wear a dust mask as well.
Suggestions I have a couple of niggles – by the time I had used the sander a couple of times on site the box had started to unravel, and I started to wish for a nice plastic custom case to safely store the sander and all the accessories that are important in making it work efficiently.
There is already a plastic tray in the box – so one step more please?
I would also like the clamps to be quick-release to save time on fixing to the bench, plank, or whatever. Those wing nuts take a bit of winding!
As an addition to the Triton range of sanders, this oscillating sander is very useful, because it strikes a good balance between portability, and being able to be used as a fixed machine.
It is clearly designed for dealing with smaller components and edges and is very good at those jobs. Bigger workpieces will need a benchtop machine.
Triton clearly has confidence is this sander because it comes with the Three-Year Triton Guarantee.
Aimed at: Shed woodworker and light pro users who need some specialist sanding.
Pros: Easy to use and also to set up. Uniquely solves a few sanding issues.