Woodworking Tools - Other Things to Consider When You Shop For a BeltSander

Often, minor details can mean the difference between a favorite tool and a machine that gathers dust rather than makes it, so as you shop for a belt sander, consider the following:

  • Does the belt sander's power cord look heavy enough to withstand abuse? More than one woodworker has run over a cord accidentally. If the cord can survive a reasonable amount of punishment, such a mishap might not terminate your day's work early.

  • How long is the cord? Belt sand­ing often requires substantial move­ment over large areas. Extension- cord plugs have an uncanny ability to hang up on things, causing the belt sander to nose-dive and gouge your work. A long power cord can be a valuable asset.

  • Does the machine's switch lock in the "on" position for extended periods of sanding? If it does, could you lock it on accidentally?

  • Do the handle and switch work together well so that your hand and wrist will remain comfortable over the belt sander as you sand? Is the machine's front knob well-contoured and comfortable?

  • Belt sander prices range from under $40 to $500 or more. Light­weight, inexpensive machines will meet the needs of many wood­workers. As with most tools, however, as the belt sander price goes up, so do such variables as finish and general workmanship, quality of parts, and the ability to perform a task efficiently and effectively.