Choosing the Right Belt Sander
If there were any words that can describe a good belt sander, they would be powerful and durable. Electric sanders are used to quickly and effectively remove materials from the surfaces of objects, be it paint from old furniture, or excess stock from your woodworking projects; this power tool will only take minutes doing a job that would take hours if done by hand.
But keep in mind that belt sanders are not created equal, they come in a wide range of sizes and power ratings, so choosing the right one for your needs is the first thing that you need to learn. There are two main factors you need to consider when choosing a belt sander; the size of the project, and of course your budget.
The sizes of electric sanders are defined by the size of the sanding belt, namely the width and length. Smaller sanders start at 3 inches wide by 21 inches long, the great thing about this size of belt sander is that you can easily maneuver it, especially in tight spaces. The bigger sanders, which are the most commonly used, range from 3 to 4 inches wide by 24 inches long. Though their sizes are only a bit different, these sanders have a more powerful motor, and they are a whole lot heavier; making them the perfect tool for sanding hardwood floorings.
Of course, the bigger the sander, the more expensive it is, with the smaller units costing at around $70 - $100 each. Another factor that can cause an increase in the price of a belt sander is the features. Fortunately, even the top of the line sanders are not as expensive as other kinds of power tools.
If you are out looking for an electric sander, here are some feature that would really be helpful:
Variable Speed Controls – Having the option to control the speed of the belt is really useful. By turning up the speed you can remove a lot of material in a short amount of time, and by using a lower speed you can give a much finer finish. Another advantage of having variable speed control is that you can maneuver the sander much easier.
The old sanders need to have their belts constantly adjusted because they tend to move from the center line, causing it to rub against the different parts of the sander and break them off. But with auto tracking, you can just use the sander as much as you want without worrying about the belt going astray.
Quick Belt Release – This can really save you time when working on a project. Rather than loosening bolts and nuts, you only have to pull a lever and you can then replace the worn-out belt with a new one.
The main thing that you really have to consider when choosing a belt sander is the size of your project. For instance, if you are working on a large project, like sanding down a rather large cabinet or table, then you should get one of the heavier and more powerful models so that the job can get finished in no time. But if the work requires detail work, and maybe even some overhead or vertical sanding, then you will need the help of a smaller belt sander. One that is lighter and easier to manipulate, and allows you to control the speed of the belt. But since electric sanders are not that expensive anyway, you could always get one of both.