Belt Sander recommendations

Tgillis

Tonika
Corporate Member
DQ
So, I am at a point where I dont want to struggle with my tools to be able to use them without them tearing up my work. I need recommendations on a good belt sander that won't try to run away from me the entire time I use it. Any ideas ladies and gents?
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
Belt sanders by definition try to run away from you when you work. Maybe a lighter grit paper on you current belt sander?. I have found , I havent used a belt sander in years. They are typically for heavy stock removal and require a very light touch to use. A good quality, ROS (Random orbit sander) is all I ever use anymore. Many here are addicted to the Festool models that I suspect ARE wonderful but expensive. I have heard they are great for heavy stock removal as well as fine finishing. So, that maybe something to persue depending on your budget and needs. I have been a fan of the Boschs for years.
 

kurtwp

Kurt
User
Yes, I found using a belt sander does indeed remove a lot of wood, especially if using a coarse grit. I also noticed using the same grit in an orbit sander does not remove as much wood as a belt sander. I had a PC orbit sander for 15 plus years that finally burnt out. Purchase a Dewalt variable speed orbit during a black Friday sale. Cannot comment on Festool as I never used one.

There are a lot of less expensive sanders out there that are as good as expensive sanders but just remember to be careful of cheap sanders as they are really built cheaply.

Kurt
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
Makita. There are several sizes. I have the smaller one, 3-21. The thing about it I like best is the belt tracking never wavers , and does not need adjusting once set. A very smooth ride...
 

Berta

Board of Directors, Events Director
Berta
Corporate Member
DQ
I have a very small Porter Cable one. It is easier to control, not easy, easier.
 

Tgillis

Tonika
Corporate Member
DQ
Have you looked into using a scrub plane? Quiet, rapid stock removal, no dust and easy to sharpen.

Roy G
Can you use that on end grain without a lot of chip out? I mainly use the belt sander to make my dovetail joints flush, quickly, and the move to the ROS for the smoothing and finish sanding process. This way reduces my sanding time...
 

Tgillis

Tonika
Corporate Member
DQ
I was looking at the Ridgid 3x18 belt sander yesterday, it is appealing to me because it had variable speed. I didn't look at the reviews yet but I intend to do some side by side comparing before purchasing a new belt sander.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
DQ
I have a Ryobi 3x21 that isn't offered anymore but I use mine occassionally. I would use it more but the belts usually separate at the seam if I've had them awhile (years) and I do not like that. I more recently got a Bosch 1250DEVS and it is almost as fast. But it uses hook and loop discs which seem to last in storage forever. It has a "turbo" mode like the Festool sanders which is much more aggressive. I used it to take old paint off lap siding on my dining room. It was difficult to control, especially one handed, and tore up the pad after awhile but the sander held up fine. You can switch from the turbo to the regular mode while it is running. I use the turbo mode with 80 or 100 grit on woodworking projects and then switch to random orbit and then finer paper. I have a DeWalt 5 inch but usually use the Bosch now even though it is heavier and more difficult to control one handed. I just like getting the sanding over with quicker. I will use it tonight to knock down some poly before I apply another coat. I will use 220 grit in random orbit mode for that.

My Bosch is not quite as quick as my belt sander but they are close. It is harder to mess up with the Bosch. If you do not keep a belt sander moving it is fairly easy to dig a line into your project. Floor drum sanders are even worse at that.

Both my Ryobi belt sander and my Bosch ROS have variable speed but I rarely use either at less than full speed. Control is probably better but my goals in sanding are to be over as quickly as possible and get on to the finishing. Lower speed doesn't help either. Control is OK at full speed but both need two hands even if they don't always get it.
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Can you use that on end grain without a lot of chip out? I mainly use the belt sander to make my dovetail joints flush, quickly, and the move to the ROS for the smoothing and finish sanding process. This way reduces my sanding time...

A true scrub plane works wonders on long or cross-grain planing.

You would use a Low Angle Plane to clean up end grain or level dovetails. Which size plane depends on the drawer sizes you’re doing.
 

FlyingRon

Board of Directors, Webmaster
Ron
Staff member
Corporate Member
DQ
I have an AEG that I bought years ago based on the recommendation in FWW. One interesting attachment is a frame with little brushes that holds the sander off the surface. Handy on larger "mostly flat" surfaces.
 

Tgillis

Tonika
Corporate Member
DQ
I think I came to the conclusion that I will be getting a Makita 9903, it has great reviews and is top rated in the Best Belt Sanders of 2019.
 

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