My familiarity with manufacturing hardwood furniture has taught me that about half the time involved in constructing each chair,Selecting the Best Air Compressor for Woodworking Articles table or cabinet is taken up with sanding. When you are trying to make a livelihood in the woodworking industry with hourly employees you must cut inefficiency to a bare minimum. This does not mean becoming a tyrant but, instead, removing any and all impediments that may be slowing construction, sanding and finishing.
I started my woodworking career with a quarter-sheet electric sander, quickly graduated to an orbital electric disc sander and finally realized that I could substantially cut sanding time with an air palm sander. I settled on a 5” Dynabrade sander and Sears 3HP air compressor. It took me less than an hour to realize my faux pas: The small compressor I bought could not begin to keep up with the air requirements of the air sander. It would run out of air pressure almost immediately and the air sander would slow down to the point of being worthless. I would then have to wait for several minutes for the pressure to build up again to get another minute of sanding.
Compounding the problem was the fact that I had three people hired as sanders and so I would need to keep three air sanders running at 10,000 RPM all day long. I did some arithmetic and discovered that I would need a ten horsepower air compressor with a large tank to keep up with the demand. I was lucky enough to find a used one with a reasonable price tag but it required three phase power and lots of it. I had to consider the additional expense of an electrician to wire it up to the building’s 208 volt 3-phase power. The enormous air compressor was so loud it could be heard all over the building and down the block but it powered those three sanders continuously. The good news is that it paid for itself in production efficiency very quickly.