Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Choosing a benchtop sander

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Choosing a benchtop sander

    I am looking to get a benchtop sander to round the four corners on cutting boards (in addition to other uses). The way I have been going about it now is to trace a semi-circle on the four corners, cut with bandsaw and use palm sander to get smooth. This works fine for one or two but I have about 20 to do by next week. Also, I have a torn ligament in my wrist which makes hand sanding painful after a few minutes.

    I am looking into a couple of different sanders but not sure the benefits of each. First there is the Ridgid belt/spindle sander which I really like. I could use the belt for the corners and having the moving spindle would be very handy for other projects I do. I have a drum for my drill press but would much rather use an oscillating drum. Second are the combo belt/disc sanders. This would cost a little less than the Ridgid but the entry level models seem to be underpowered from the reviews I read (Ryobi, Craftsman). Finally another option is just a 12” disc sander.

    I had given some thought on getting an attachment for my dewalt belt sander so it can be used a stationary sander however its $75 and for a little more I could just get the belt/disc sander.

    My questions are this:

    - On the disc/belt sanders, whats the advantage of having both a disc and a belt? It seems to me both could do the same job. What applications would you use the disc and not the belt (and vice versa)?

    - In my limited knowledge I would think a disc sander would be the choice for rounding the corners, would the belt sanders on these machines work just as well?

    - One idea I had was to get the Ridgid sander and then down the road get a dedicated 12" disc sander (leaning towards a Grizzly). Would this make sense?

    I need to get the machine this week so I am somewhat limited in my selection. Basically I need to get it at either Sears/Home Depot/Lowes. I would greatly appreciate any advice.

    Tool Gloat - I recently picked up a Jet 16-32 drum sander to sand the cutting boards flat (these are end-grain boards). Its definatley a luxury item for my small garage shop but man is that thing sweet. The amount of time it saved on the current batch of boards I am making is incredible. I didnt think its was possible to fall in love with a power tool.

  • #2
    Re: Choosing a benchtop sander

    Sounds like someone just stepped off the slippery slope of tool buying!
    I have the Ridgid belt/spindle and it is a great tool for small jobs, perfect for cutting boards.

    1. Advantages of disk/belt - you can not sand inside corners on a disk but you can on the tension/tracking roller of the belt. The belt does a good job of sanding large flat surfaces with the grain (not as good as your new tool), the disk would sand across the grain and leave a mess. The disk does a good job of edging when used with the flat table and can touch-up angles when use in conjunction with a miter bar (larger belt/disk sanders have nice cast tables with miter slots)

    2. yes the disk would be my choice as well for the corners, you can do it on the belt and the larger units have a nice rest to keep the wood square to the belt. It is trickier to get nice even corners on the belt than it is on the disk.

    3. I would go with the Ridgid now and then save my pennies for a floor standing model belt/disk

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Choosing a benchtop sander

      I can't help you out with a sander choice, but I was just wondering if you could make a template of the cutting boards, or if they are different size, just a template of the corner radius. Then you could band saw out the shape, and follow it up on a router table using a pattern bit with the template in place on the cutting board. This would alleviate most of the sanding. I just bought a Whiteside spiral pattern bit for a project, and these create an excellent finish on both straight and end grain. Very little finish sanding required.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Choosing a benchtop sander

        wbrooks - thanks for the info. Your option #3 seems like a winner to me.

        3rd time - the router template is a great idea, problem is each board is not excatly the same in dimensions. I have been considering completely standardizing the size of the cutting boards and could use your idea then. I used the router template idea when I made a set of adirondack chairs.

        This cutting board venture is a funny thing. I made one as a gift and next thing I know I have around 50+ orders since last year. Its allowed me to get some extra tools (drum sander) and help this hobby fund itself.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Choosing a benchtop sander

          Originally posted by Pez View Post
          wbrooks - thanks for the info. Your option #3 seems like a winner to me.

          3rd time - the router template is a great idea, problem is each board is not excatly the same in dimensions. I have been considering completely standardizing the size of the cutting boards and could use your idea then. I used the router template idea when I made a set of adirondack chairs.

          This cutting board venture is a funny thing. I made one as a gift and next thing I know I have around 50+ orders since last year. Its allowed me to get some extra tools (drum sander) and help this hobby fund itself.
          Just make a template of round corners with a different radius on each one.
          If you make your most common corner radii, you can just slap that on there and use the router. A spiral compression bit would be your best bet for clean cuts, but since you'll likely roundover the edges it wouldn't be a necessity.
          Something like this, but you can shop-make 'em easy enough.
          http://www.eagleamerica.com/product/...er_accessories


          I have a Rikon combo sander (disc & belt) and use it a lot. The disc is definitely the best for outer curves and what-not and allows a great deal of control and is very fast (and safe!).
          Rikon used to make a small-brother version which is a benchtop unit, but I don't know if they still do.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Choosing a benchtop sander

            Pez,

            While I can't disagree with anything that has been posted, let me just answer your questions independant of those thoughts. I have the Ryobi belt/disc sander which is about $100. I've had it since 2003 and find it reliable and more than powerful enough for my needs. I can't imagine anything stalling or even slowing it down. I do like the Ridgid, especially with it's oscillating feature, but haven't found the need to go there yet.

            Your questions were:

            My questions are this:

            - On the disc/belt sanders, whats the advantage of having both a disc and a belt? It seems to me both could do the same job. What applications would you use the disc and not the belt (and vice versa)?

            I'd use the disc for rounding out those corners that you speak of. It's great for that kind of application. But when looking at disc size, you must consider that only the down turning side of the disc is used, if you use the up turning side, it blows all the dust into your face. But, for doing corners and touching up small pieces, you really don't need a huge width.

            The belt area I use for taking down an edge, like where I've rough cut a bit outside the pattern line. Also for squaring things up. On my particular model, the belt extends out to the right, providing a round spindle-like area for inside curves. Also my particular unit can be positioned from horizontal to vertical where it can be used with the table which can be relocated from the disc area.

            - In my limited knowledge I would think a disc sander would be the choice for rounding the corners, would the belt sanders on these machines work just as well?

            As mentioned in the first answer, Yes, the disc is great for rounding corners. But with the Ryobi (and maybe others), you can move the belt to the vertical position, relocate the small work table to the end and then use the belt for rounding corners too.

            - One idea I had was to get the Ridgid sander and then down the road get a dedicated 12" disc sander (leaning towards a Grizzly). Would this make sense?

            Obviously, it would depend on how your needs grew. While some might jump right to the bigger capacity tools to begin with, I usually take the approach of going smaller, less expensive first as long as it meets my foreseeable requirements. Money isn't that easy and room is always a factor. So my first choice was the Ryobi. I looked at similar units at Sears, Lowes, and another local dealer at the time. I like the Ryobi much better than what I had seen. It is heavy cast iron and plate steel and has a decent induction motor with adequate power. Overall assembly was good, the disc was true (the only brand that was) and it had a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. At the time, the Ridgid was too expensive for my budget.

            So, I think your approach is sound and certainly if your future demands/wants indicate a new machine, you don't have to worry about a huge investment that you've already made. For me, there'll always be a place for the smaller belt/disc sander which can be used for secondary or backup purposes.

            I hope this helps,

            CWS

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Choosing a benchtop sander

              Thanks for the replies, I got the Ridgid sander today. It was a toss up between this and the Ryobi but there are a couple of projects I do often where a spindle will come in handy. Plus the oscilliating feature is very nice.

              I gave it a nice work out, sander corners on 27 cutting boards. Worked out very well. And it fits nicely on the shelf below my drum sander.

              Comment

              Working...
              X