Woodworking Tools - Belt Sander as Bench Tool

Belt Sander as Bench Tool
The belt sander doubles as a bench tool in many home workshops. If that's your plan, too, check to make sure the model you plan to buy has been designed for this use. Some sanders have flat tops and handles, a design that allows you to clamp the tool upside down on your workbench. Others feature threaded holes tapped into the top of the machine that enable you to screw the sander to a board or bench tool.Do it yourself - Woodworking Tools - Portable Belt Sanders - Belt Sander as Bench Tool

Stands or brackets, a third variation, let you mount still other belt sander models for use as a bench tool. We show example in the photo above. Note: If you do use the sander in this fashion, follow the manufacturer's safety recommendations closely. A coarse abrasive belt doesn't know the difference between softwood and soft flesh.

Your Belt-Changing and Adjustment Options
With most belt sanders, you change abrasive belts by pulling out a level release. Doing this causes the machine's front roller to move backward, relieving tension on the sand ing belt.

On others, you need to push the front roller against a solid surface (see the photo above). This locks the mechanism in place and removes tension from the sanding belt. A second push unlocks the nose roller, which returns to its normal operating position and reapplies tension on the belt. Both systems work, so you'll have to handle a few of each type to decide which system you prefer.

More important from a buyman- ship point of view is the location of the knob that centers the abrasive belt over the rollers and metal plate. (Skil has introduced two models on which the belts center automatically.) If the knob is located too far back on the sander, or if it's hidden away under the drive-belt housing, you'll have to interrupt your work to center the belt.

What About Dust Collection?
Though you can buy belt sanders without a dust-collection syst well-being of your lungs make some type of sawdust collector a practical necessity. Of the two general options - a dust bag attached to the sander or a vacuum assembly that connects by a hose to a shop vacuum, we like the former better. Both systems do work, but vacuum hoses can catch on an edge of your project, stop the sander in its tracks, and cause you to gouge your work on the bench tool.


Brian Webber said...