When to use a belt sander?


A belt sander is used to take care of all those physically tedious jobs that you shudder to think about. Sanding down that deck before staining it, sanding down hardwood floors or sharpening your tools. These are just some of the multitude of jobs you can use your belt sander for.

Different Types of Sanders

There are a multitude of different electric sanders on the market, and all of them are aimed as specific tasks. One of these is the belt sander. We go through the various sanders available with a brief description below. Belt Sander – Belt sanders will remove material and sand them down quickly and efficiently. You can select the grit or coarseness of your belt to get either a smooth finish or the heavier grain to remove excess materials quickly and efficiently.

They can be either hand-held or bench mounted. Belt sanders have a sandpaper belt that runs over rollers. Bench sander or Stationary Sander – These are a variation on the belt sanders that often include a rotary sander or a disc sander. They are powerful sanders and they can be used to shape wood or to sharpen tools effectively.

Random Orbital sander – These are common type of sander and is very portable and come in different sizes and shapes. These do not work with belts and require special sanding discs which are then stuck to the base place. Detail sander – These are used to get to those hard to reach areas that need sanding and they require special adhesive sandpaper.

File or finger sander – these sanders are used to sand very narrow areas where your belt sander cannot reach. Disc sander – Not as common as other sanders, they are very abrasive and are great for sharpening tools and such but are not great for finishing’s. Floor sanders – These are very large types of sanders. The two types of floor sanders are the large drum machine and the edging sander. The edging sander gets to the areas where your drum machine will not reach.

How to use a Stationary belt Sander?

In order to turn your belt sander into a stationary sander you simply clamp it upright position onto your workbench. Once you have clamped it onto the bench, you will lock the trigger in the “on” position. Using your belt sander is great for when you are sanding small pieces of work or trying to form edges of wood.

Once your sander is clamped and switched on, you will hold your wood against the belt to shape your wood. Stationary sanders are also very good to use as a tool sharpener such as grinding of chisels, plane irons and gouges.

Best Sander for Furniture

The belt sander is one of the best sanders for furniture, especially if you need to sand down a table top or dressers. These big jobs are right up the belt sanders ally. It will strip the paint and get it back down to raw wood in no time. Belt sanders are heavy duty and they are powerful, so you will have to be careful when working with them, keeping a firm hold on your sander at all times and moving it constantly will ensure that you do not damage the wood you are working with.

They are designed to offer your rough sanding to get rid of the raw material quickly using a heavier grit belts, or to smooth out the surface to silky smooth using the lower grain belts. Higher numbers are the heavier grains. They also work very well in smoothing out rough edges of tables and other furniture.

They are also great for small pieces of wood if you use them as stationary or bench sanders by clamping them down firmly to a table top. For smaller areas you can use the detail sander that are small enough to get to the areas your belt sander cannot reach.

Best Sanders for Wood

The best sanders for working with wood are narrowed down to three different sanders that perform different tasks for you when you are tackling that woodworking project. First if you are looking for a sander that will make quick work of removing a lot of material then the best sander is the sander you will choose. It is also great for shaping wood as well as giving you a smooth surface to work with.

When using the belt sander on wood it is very important that you sand with the grain of the wood and not cross grain as you will leave gouges on your wood surface if you do not. It is also important to keep the sander moving all the time also to avoid gouging out deep spots if it stands in one position all the time. Once the rough work is done and you are ready sand between coats or doing final finishing work then you can consider the random orbital sander and the sheet sander to compliment your belt sander.

If its rough work, a lot of material needs to be removed or shaping wood is involved then the belt sander is the tool of choice. But more often than not, what the woodworker, carpenter or handyman needs is to smooth a surface, remove old finish or sand between coats during final finishing. These tasks bring us to two types of hand-held power sanders: The Random Orbital sander and the palm sander. Both will give you the fine finishing that the belt sander cannot.


Using the right sander for the job will save you a lot of trouble and stop you from damaging the material you are working with. Belt sanders are great power tools that will remove excess material, strip paint and more, but they are not the only sander in your toolbox and complimenting it with other sanders will help you to achieve the ultimate finished product.

About the Author

Bob Robinson has been a tool enthusiast and lawn care expert for the past 11 years. First working with John Deere to reduce their impact on the environment, whilst building his love for writing in his spare time. Now, Bob runs the editorial team at BestofMachinery and tends to his garden in his spare time.

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