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I need to sand some rough spots on our old front door before repainting and am considering buying/using a multi-tool for this task (as well as some tricky flooring and drywall tasks later).

What's strange though, is that I haven't seen any demonstration videos where people are sanding a vertical surface. Do these tools require the surfaces to be flat and horizontal when sanding?

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Your arm is going to get wicked tired holding up a heavy sander for any period of time! – Joel Spolsky Sep 18 '10 at 2:55
up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you're talking about tools like this, then you can use them vertically.

Picture of tool

The manual for the tool I linked to doesn't have any mention of the words horizontal, vertical, level, flat or upright, so if they don't warn you not to, you can assume it's OK to do it.

One thing to note is that to sand a vertical surface, you're going to have to hold the tool more tightly than you would if you were working on a horizontal surface. This will cause more vibration to be transferred to your hand and wrists, which will tire them out more quickly. If you're doing a large area, this can cause repetitive strain injury; when I sanded some window frames a while back, it took a couple of days afterwards for my wrist to feel OK again.

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Excellent. That's what I needed to know – Mike B Sep 16 '10 at 19:35
Link to the tool on harborfreight.com is 404 Not Found, maybe a picture would be better. – Tester101 Nov 21 '11 at 15:51

That is odd, I've never noticed that but you're right! Anyway, they can sand, cut, or whatever else you want to do in any orientation.

I've been thrilled with mine so far.

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Awesome. Thanks! – Mike B Sep 16 '10 at 19:35

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