When you go to a small school, some projects fall in your lap by default. Lots of do-it-yourself tasks fall my way. I wish that I merited the trust. Recently I had to use a random orbital sander to refinish a bar top in the student lounge and I encountered a bit of a mishap. Maybe my talents lie elsewhere—say in the realm of studying. Academics are no doubt my forte, not power tools and gadgets.

All the students contribute to refurbishing their environment when the need is apparent. I could have been tagged for painting or cleanup, but no, I got the top job. I had some familiarity with the sander and word had gotten around. My father had a work area in the garage and it was laden with equipment. I had used each one at least once or twice. I liked his variable speed unit that came with all the requisite accessories. What you want in a random orbital sander is low vibration, a high removal rate, and the most efficient onboard dust extraction you can get. The better the tool, of course, the more it will cost. If you want versatility, a good sanding pad, comfort and good power, select wisely. Read the testimonials and learn the uses. It is all about utility and control for your sanding jobs whether you are a hobbyist or a professional—or a meager student.

The students had selected a weekend day to join forces and refurbish the student lounge. It made it more fun to work together. But it also meant that someone got in the way of my sander and received a mouthful of dust. You must wear protective gear and be sure that those around you don’t stand too close. I should have known better. We had to send the poor chap to the nurse’s office for an oral rinse and also an eye wash. The sand is tiny and gritty and just goes everywhere. It made for a nasty cleanup job when I was finished with my countertop. I did a good job, but the mishap meant that I was no ace. If I were selected to work on other areas of the campus, I might hesitate or start implementing some safety rules. We all should.

The lounge looked wonderful after we washed the walls down and dusted the surfaces. We were all going to enjoy our new space and it didn’t cost the school an arm and a leg. This was the idea. We want the school’s funds to go toward education and scholarships. There are many students who can benefit if we save money. Our willingness to work has given the team a lot of extra jobs from time to time. We are proud to offer our services. We have been duly rewarded with big thanks and some time off from class. Who knew I would be so admired for using a random orbital sander.