Black & Decker
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Black & Decker BR318
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Belt Sanders Review

Why Buy a Belt Sander?

Using a belt sander is the first step when working with a wood surface. By using a fine-grit, moving belt, a belt sander can shape and evenly finish almost any woodworking project. The machines  high speeds and strength allow for aggressively fast removal of wood, yet they are agile enough for freehand rounding and shaping of narrow edges or small stock pieces. This makes a belt sander a useful tool for professionals and do-it-yourself hobbyists alike. Using this type of tool saves you time and gives you more even, consistent results than sanding by hand. A few popular belt sander models are the Hitachi SB8V2, the Porter-Cable 352VS and the Ridgid R27401.

Belt Sanders: What to Look For

When you are purchasing a belt sander, there are a few features you should look for. The machines will typically include either manual or automatic tracking. This keeps the belt centered on rollers while the tool is in use. Dust bags are included to ensure a sanitary working environment, although some sanders can be attached to shop vacuums. You should also look for a machine that has an easy-to-use flip lever to aid in changing worn out belts.

There are also some extra features you can look for. Some belt sanders have the option of being hand-held or mounted on a work bench to become a stationary sander. You can also opt for a variable speed sander. This allows you to choose the appropriate belt speed for the type of project you are working on. Some models are even engineered to be low noise.

The belt sander has a number of practical uses. You can use this handy tool to trim, level, sand, shape and smooth rough boards. These sanders can also remove old paint and stain finishes. Even more advanced models can remove rust and paint from metal.

To choose the right belt sander for you, you ll need to consider the size of the project and what it s being used for. They vary in size from small, hand-held units to wide-belt, industrial sanders.

Larger belt sanders are often used by general contractors, professional woodworkers and carpenters, furniture makers, floor installers, and deck builders. These professionals opt for powerful units with high amperage rates, and almost anyone can harness the power and versatility of these large machines. If you are working on a larger project, such as sanding and refinishing a deck, you may want a larger, more powerful sander.

However, if you are using the device for simple, around-the-house projects, you would be better off with a less powerful, smaller belt sander. These smaller sanders are easy to handle. They are also good for detail work and working in tight corners.

Care & Maintenance
Regularly check the belt in your belt sander for cracks, and make sure your rollers line up. Over time, your sanding belt will wear away the platen, which is the piece of metal between the belt and boot. This means that your platen will need to be replaced every so often. Another good maintenance practice is to vacuum out your belt sander to increase the life of the tool.

Ultimately, a belt sander delivers linear, smooth results with less effort and mess than sanding by hand. Due to its efficiency, convenience and ease-of-use, the belt sander has become a popular tool for professionals and novices alike. When you take into account the type of work you ll be doing and the size of the machine you want, you ll be able to find the best belt sander for your needs.