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Tame Your Belt Sander Washington DC

Does the prospect of using a belt sander make your palms sweat and your hands shake? I feel your pain. Belt sanders have a bad rap as the quickest way to ruin a project. Use them incorrectly and your project starts to look like the rolling hills of Ireland.

The Home Depot
(202)526-8760
901 Rhode Island Ave
Washington, DC
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(301)839-9600
6003 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)823-1900
400 S Pickett St
Alexandria, VA
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The Home Depot
(703)534-9580
6210 Seven Corners Ctr
Falls Church, VA
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The Home Depot
(703)642-3660
6555 Little River Trnpke
Alexandria, VA
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The Home Depot
(301)891-1106
3301 E West Highway
Hyattsville, MD
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The Home Depot
(301)324-0180
150 Hampton Park Blvd
Capitol Heights, MD
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The Home Depot
(301)345-6774
4700 Cherry Hill Rd
College Park, MD
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The Home Depot
(301)805-8149
10301 M L King Jr. Hwy
Lanham, MD
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The Home Depot
(703)619-5124
7710 Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA
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Tame Your Belt Sander

Tame Your Belt Sander

Get that menacing belt sander under control with these whip-it-into-shape tips. 

by George Vondriska

Does the prospect of using a belt sander make your palms sweat and your hands shake? I feel your pain. Belt sanders have a bad rap as the quickest way to ruin a project. Use them incorrectly and your project starts to look like the rolling hills of Ireland. But used correctly, they’re a great tool for flattening panels, flushing up trim and face frames and getting to the finish line fast.  

Start by learning the belt-sander rules of the road:

• Keep it moving. The slightest pause can form a gouge.

• Let the weight of the sander to the work. Don’t lean on the machine.

• Use nothing but 120-grit paper until you’re comfortable with the machine. 

• Don’t overextend yourself. Running a belt sander at your reach’s extreme end is a sure way to gouge material.

Handling the Sander

Photo 1: Start with a soft landing. Before you pull the trigger, lift the sander slightly off the workpiece. Squeeze the trigger as you ease the sander down and forward, feathering it into the material. Think of it as an airplane making a smooth landing.

Photo 2: Go over the edge, but only a little. As you sand to an edge, allow the platen to project over the corner, but never by more than half its length or width. This keeps the sander balanced and flat.

Photo 3: End with a smooth take-off. OK, you’ve successfully landed your sander and finished sanding. Now it’s time to take off. On your last stroke, lift the sander as it moves forward. Then release the trigger.

Setting Up

A big part of the battle is won just by taking the time to set up properly. 

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Get the height right. The surface you’re sanding should be slightly lower than your waist. This puts your arms at a comfortable working height. For some projects, like cabinets, it may mean working on a surface other than your workbench. Make sure the piece you’re sanding is secure. It’s also good practice to keep the cord out of the way by draping it over your shoulder. It looks weird, but it prevents frayed cords— and nerves—from belt-sanded wires.

Provide solid stops. You can’t sand a piece that you’re chasing around the shop. Belt sanders are powerful and have a tendency to launch projects off their perches. Be sure your material is trapped against stops that are firmly clamped to the bench. Clamping the material itself to the bench is a hassle because the clamps get in the way. The stops should be thinner than the material you’re working on and wide enough so the sander won’t bump into the clamps. 

Trueing Up

A belt sander can flatten a glued-up panel in no time. 

Photo 1: Sand diagonally first. Flatten a solid wood panel by first sanding at 45 degrees to ...

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker