John's Tool Crib
by John Cupp

(The Ryobi OSS500 Oscillating Spindle Sander)

Most of my boat-building friends know about Ryobi and they sometimes buy Ryobi tools to use. I found a great Ryobi tool that has been overlooked by many a boat builder. Yes it is the OSS500 Oscillating Spindle Sander that is made to sand quickly and without choking you with a dust cloud. It is a product that goes head to head with other name brands and costs hundreds of dollars less. There must be a catch, how can it be so inexpensive?

When I picked up my sander and got it home I had to have help because the top of the sander is solid cast iron. Once it was on the table I was using I found the sander was bigger than I expected and it had compartments for all of its accessories. I read the provided owners booklet for using it first, a step that is often overlooked and serious results may be encountered if not read. I urge everybody who buys a new tool to do the same and accidents from misuse would go down in number. I read it even though I was very anxious to get started. It is a must read type of thing even if you have used similar tools this one might have something that is different.

The OSS500 is built like a tank and has plenty of power for sanding the toughest jobs. I started sanding some numbers I made for my outside address. It seems that some of the freight haulers bringing new tools to my house couldn’t find my house number. So I made them so they were 12” tall and had plenty of inside curves. You can see the numbers for a quarter mile now. This sander took care of that project in short order. It comes with seven spindle sizes from ½” to 3” that give it a very wide range of sanding diameters to meet your every need. The up and down action and spinning motion give the highest amount of sand paper to your project without causing burns. It has a 5/8” stroke that operates 58 times per minute. The rpm is 2000 but I can assure you it is not too fast but just right.

Along with the spindles you get six throat plates that keep your project and fingers from getting dragged down below the throat plate. Ryobi also provides three complete sanding tube sets in three grits 50, 80 and 150 grit. They also give you a wrench and a few different size washers. Everything you need to start sanding those parts that have been so hard to do before. With its large cast iron table you can support very large pieces of wood.

Since making the letters I have found many new use for this sander. The holes for port lights in plywood are easily sanded this way if you need just a little extra room. My mast step hole for my brick was short work with this sander. If only it didn’t freeze at night I might get to glass it in. My wife likes this sander also for her art project but I didn’t say that! Pound for pound this is the best spindle sander for the price. I have always wanted a spindle sander but never bought one because they are so expensive, the Ryobi unit changed all of that. This is not an industrial unit with a 20-amp motor but it has more than enough power for even my shop. It is very easy to use and install. It also has a great dust collection port

At the same time I hooked the sander to my new dust collection system so when I turn it on hardly any dust is left on the table. What little is still there I turn the machine off and leave the dust collector on so I can push the remnants into the dust ports to finish the job. It does a wonderful job removing material and depending on the grit you use can leave a very nice finish. With all the other tools in my shop I can see this one used more than most. I also did some price comparisons with other brands and the Ryobi is the least expensive but it is a very high quality tool. You must remember to use the proper insert with the right spindle; otherwise this machine could be very dangerous. We are all smarter than that just because of the fact we build boats!

Sanding corners to even them out is now just a few minute job. Radius sanding can become your friend and not a hated task like it was before I received the OSS500.

The bottom line is that it is a cast iron decked sander that costs hundreds of dollars less than other brands and it has everything you need to start as soon as you read the manual.

Go to the Ryobi site and look at the great tool.
It can give you a great finish and make it happen much faster with it. It also has everything right on the sander so you don’t have to search for any parts. With a price tag of just $99.00 you get a lot of sanding power to help you finish your boat perfectly in record time.

Take a few minutes to look at this great sander; you just might see the great deal I saw. I am very glad I did this review because now I know what I have been missing!

From my tool crib to yours,