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Can I Use a Sander instead of Linear Buffer


Ryan asked:


I am very interested in the ALUMABUFF product.  However, how necessary is the Linear Buffer?  I already have an inline air powered sander, to keep from having to buy more stuff…..would my linear (in-line) sander work (Its a Ingersoll Rand 315G Edge Series Straight Line Air Sander)?  If so, what else do I need? Please advise.




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The operation principal of the straight line sander and Linear Buffer are the same, however there are a few important differences:

  • Pressure is required to buff the aluminum with Alumabuff, whereas only light pressure is required for the sander as the sandpaper does all the work. The internal pistons and gears in the Linear Buffer are heavy duty to withstand the extra load. It’s an industrial quality machine.
  • The sanding plate on the sander is made of light gauge aluminum which tends to bend and distort from the extra pressure required for buffing. The Linear Buffer has a heavier gauge stainless steel plate which resists corrosion and is much more durable.


  • The synthetic rubber buffing block on the Linear Buffer is thicker, allowing for more deformation at the contact surface which allows the Buffing Pad and Alumabuff to follow irregular surfaces and get into the grain of the aluminum. This allows for more contact which reduces extra buffing time and results in a better finish.
  • The synthetic rubber buffing block on the Linear Buffer for Pontoon Boats is curved to follow the contour of the pontoons resulting in full contact of the Buffing Pad, which reduces labor and time. The contact surface from a straight line sander on a curved pontoon surface is only about 1/3, which requires multiple passes, more time and the use of more Buffing Pads to get the same results.


Originally we attempted to retrofit straight line sanders and found that the failure rate was catastrophic; over 50%, compared to less than 1% for the Power Point brand Linear Buffer. The aluminum plates would bend at the ends and had to be constantly bent and banged as straight as possible and it would take up to 3 times longer to buff a single pontoon.


So, the simple answer is yes, you can use a straight line sander instead of a Linear Buffer, providing the block size is the same; about 3” x 16”. You need to retrofit it with a Velcro Strap and you need the special Buffing Pads.


It will take you longer to do the buffing on a pontoon boat and you will require more pads.  There is a good chance you will damage the sander, or it will die on you, and the warranty will be null and void as it’s not intended for buffing, only for sanding. You need to allow for down time and interruption of the job, in the event that the sander is damaged and you need to buy a new one.


A good analogy would be; “Can I use my Ford 150 to haul gravel to the construction site or do I need a Mack dump truck?”


Thanks for your question,

Captain Aurora

Richard Kittar

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