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Smoothing out the hole story

Q:

For years I’ve used a Bosch 5" random-orbit sander, and recently added a 6" Bosch to my shop. But while buying hook-and-loop sanding discs for the new tool, I noticed it has a six-hole pattern, compared to the eight-hole pattern on the smaller sander. Doesn’t it stand to reason that a larger sander—which removes more material—would need more holes to suck up the dust?
—Jeff Crowley, Davis, Calif.

A:

Good catch, Jeff. According to Jim Stevens, Bosch’s longtime product manager for woodworking power tools, Bosch sanders decades ago used pressure-sensitive-adhesive (PSA) discs with five holes for 5" models and six holes for 6". In 1989, Bosch—and, later, other manufacturers—began using hook-and-loop pads and abrasives with an eight-hole pattern for 5" sanders to make disc changes easier and improve dust-collection efficiency. 

But Bosch’s 6" sanders never changed from the six-hole pattern, even when switching to hook-and-loop pads, because, Jim says, the larger motor and blower collect dust well enough to not warrant an upgrade.

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