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Sander - orbital or belt?

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  • Sander - orbital or belt?

    OK All,

    I'm in the market for a sander. Forgive my complete ignorance regarding this subject, but I've worked mostly with pine so far and you can pretty much get by with a small "jitterbug" type.
    Anyway, I've looked at both orbital and belt. I'm assuming that belt sanders are more appropriate for bigger jobs that require alot of material removal. I'm also assuming that an orbital sander is the way to go for better finish work. Am I close on these assumptions? If so, which brand/model of each type do all of you have experience with?

    Thanks in advance.
    Wayno

  • #2
    Your pretty much on. I use my belt sander to remove/sand flush dowell pins or to smooth out box or dovetail joinery if there is overlap.

    After that, I use both the small in-line sander and orbital to smooth out a surface before finishing. The orbital is great for open flat surfaces like table tops, etc. Otherwise I have found the in-line to be a bit more friendly for things like square legs or narrow pieces.

    I like Porter Cable for the in-line and orbital sanders. My belt sander is a Ryobi. Probably not the best one, but for the amount I use it, the price was right.

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    • #3
      You'll need both. Assuming you have a finishing sander (the last to be used), I'd go for the belt sander, and between the two you'll span the gap normally filled by a random orbital.

      For the belt sander, I like P-C. For the orbital, I'd go P-C or Makita.

      If you get a belt sander, spend some time playing with it before you "attack" a good piece of wood. Belt sanders are powerful weapons, and they take some getting used to.

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      • #4
        I own the EB4424...Ridgid's Oscillating Edge Belt and Spindle Sander...take a look at it.....a beautiful machine.
        Goldenwing

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        • #5
          A few more points to consider...

          The belt sander as mentioned above is very powerful and capable of removing a ton of material FAST!. This speed accompanied with the fact the belt is very good on flat things. The drawback is that no matter how fine on a sandpaper you use, you will always have some degree of straight sanding marks after using the belt.

          This is where the orbital comes in. It is very good at removing any left over sanding scratches and you can go extremely fine on the grit and get a glass smooth finish.

          So I guess what I'm getting at is that BOTH is the answer to your question.

          Good Luck!
          - Tim

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