August 15, 2012

Makita BO5041K 5" Random Orbit Sander - Review


A few months ago, we wrote up a touching and tearful obituary about our old and dear friend, the Makita orbital. We'd had that little fella almost since the start of our carpentry career and it had always delivered and never complained. Heaving it into the dumpster was one of those moments when you realize that time flows like an unstoppable river. It was like watching the kids pack up and head off to college, except that it wasn't kids and a college, it was a tool and a dumpster. Sort of the same thing really.


So the guys at Makita saw the post and very nicely took it upon themselves to replace the lost tool. They sent us a new BO5041K Random Orbit Sander. We really appreciate the thought on their part and commenced, almost immediately, to punishing the tool in the same manner that we do all of our tools. The old Makita would have wanted it that way.

So the new Makita isn't exactly like our one. The newbie has a stem of a handle that protrudes from the unit, like a downward facing pistol grip. It also has a secondary handle that can be removed or rotated around the machine the same way that an auxiliary hammer-drill handle works.

So yeah, the primary handle worried us at first. We tend to like our orbitals pretty stripped down. To us, bling doesn't really belong on the 5" sander. But we took the bait and got used to the tool really fast and after a few sessions, grew to like and admire the handle for its ergonomic benefits. The pistol grip trigger is easy to use as is the lock-on button. The handle is nicely padded and the tool generally has a great look about it. There is also a speed control dial that oversees a range of 4,000 to 12,000 opm.


The only thing about this tool that we weren't fans of is the case. It appears to be the exact same case as the one our old sander came in so it's no shocker that the problems we had simply transferred to the new case. It's really just our old gripe again: not enough space for accessory storage. The Makita case can hold the tool and a few of the thin 5-count sander packages, but we like buying the 25-count contractor packs and those don't fit. Drives us a little nuts each time we put the tool away. We try to have a good supply of 80, 100, and 120 grit with us at all times and it's nearly impossible to do with this case.


But beyond that quibble, which has nothing at all to do with the actual tool, we're really into the Makita sander. We've used a lot of orbitals over the years and they ain't all created equal. There was a reason why we held on to our old Makita for so long and that was simply because it was a really nice tool. This new sander falls in the same category. It's just a great sander.

The BO5041K can be had for a shade over $100 which is fair considering that this one can take the abuse and will probably be with you for many years to come.


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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 15, 2012 11:25 AM
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I own a Festool sander for more then 10 years, it looks old now but works just like it was recently bought!

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