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  • !@#$%^&*! belt sander

    I just ruined an $800.00 table top with a three inch belt sander because I was trying to flatten it out from the wavy surface I inflicted on it from the belt sander. Are there any basic, dummy-level, step-by-step resources for newbies on how to use a belt sander? How to hold it, how to move it, etc?
    Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    wwnewbie,

    First and foremost, you've got to do a little reading, forum asking or whatever before you attempt such tasks! Basically speaking, you're using the wrong tool for the job, in my opinion/experience. A belt sander removes a lot of material very quickly. It is NOT the tool for finish work, expecially on an expensive table top. If the table had a veneer surface, you would quickly chew it up with a belt sander, for sure!

    So, at this point you now have a table top with a few shallow spots, dips, etc., as I understand it? Not being able to see the condition first hand, and the kind of wood, is sort of a handicap from my vantage point. With many things dependant on what one has before them, I might suggest that the surface be hand planed to regain a flat surface. But this takes some experience with the tool and for something of considerable value, I might tend to look locally for a furniture refinisher or shop that would have a large surface, drum or wide-belt sander, planer, etc. These are large shop tools that can be set to evenly remove uneven surfaces in a couple of passes and therefore are much more precise than any handheld tool will ever be. If that expense is out of the question, then look for a local woodworking hobbyist with some experience who could give you a hand or at least some first-person pointers.

    This is probably not the answer you are looking for, but at this point you've probably learned an expensive lesson.

    I'm sorry that this isn't more helpful,

    CWS

    [ 11-22-2005, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: CWSmith ]

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    • #3
      As a builder of rustic furniture I have built many table tops and as was suggested a wide belt sander is your first choice. I would try the yellow pages for cabineat makers and if unsucessfull try local building centers for names. You might want to research a bar pour system such as Enviro-tex. This is a self leveling pour and would fill in the low spots. I would think the depth of the low spots would have a bearing on the final product. I have worked a top such as you discuss with an orbital sander(ridgid of course) and had sucess. Again, research further.

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      • #4
        CWSmith is right. Wrong tool for the job. unless it was a picnic table, or something.
        For future reference... Even pressure on the belt sander. -always- keep it moving. Make sure it doesn't rock to the side, and of course, always sand with the grain.
        I rarely use a beltsander nowadays, but I used to work in a production shop years ago, building wood windows. I got pretty good with a BS back then.

        On a happy note, I found a cheap fix for your dilemma: here

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Foony:
          CWSmith is right. Wrong tool for the job. unless it was a picnic table, or something.
          For future reference... Even pressure on the belt sander. -always- keep it moving. Make sure it doesn't rock to the side, and of course, always sand with the grain.
          I rarely use a beltsander nowadays, but I used to work in a production shop years ago, building wood windows. I got pretty good with a BS back then.

          On a happy note, I found a cheap fix for your dilemma: here
          Oh Foony, you're funny!

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          • #6
            If you do attempt using a belt sander in the future, you might want to use one that has a frame such as the DeWalt shown here.




            With the BS mounted in the frame and NOT used as a stand (which is how it is configured above), the frame allows for a depth of cut adjustment (how agressive the sanding belt contact is with the wood) and also helps to prevent rocking of the BS from side to side dur to its wider stance. It does interfere with or obstruct getting into corners, but for a flat table top it offers great improvement over using the BS alone.

            This last pic shows the frame mounted on the BS and used in the manner I describe.

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            • #7
              Bob D

              That is a pretty cool feature that the DW sander offers, that just might prevent many of unseasoned users from getting just a little too aggressive with a BS.

              Wwnewbie

              I have seen several articles on how to create a level sled that your router sits on while mounted above the work piece and the wood is then leveled by means of running the router over the entire work piece, but something the size of a tabletop would require some real ingenuity. Perhaps it could be done be placing the jig on a flat surface that was wide enough to support the top on either side then doing a section slide it over do another section and so on.

              Woodslayer

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              • #8
                You need to use hand planes to flatten that kind of surface. I have never used a power planer, I do not know if that would work.
                www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                • #9
                  Omg, I could just imagine what a power planer would do to something like that, but I am by no means a PP expert.

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                  • #10
                    Then us a hand plane.
                    www.TheWoodCellar.com

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                    • #11
                      wwnewbie, a #7 or #8 jointer plane is a excellent tool for flattening large surfaces but even learning to sharpen them requires a certian skill level.
                      When I was getting started in WW I didn't have that skill or the proper tools for flattening large surfaces. I joined an adult education WW class at a local high/trade school which gave me access to a shaper, 24" planer, and a stroke sander

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