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Thread: stroke sander vs wide belt?

  1. #1

    stroke sander vs wide belt?

    In practical use, is a stroke sander a viable alternative to the wide belt sander?

    I occasionally see these for sale. They require considerably less power to operate, simple in construction, and markedly less expensive to acquire. I guess one tradeoff is the additional space required, though both take up a large footprint.

  2. #2
    they are two different machines each do stuff the other cant. Every european cabinet maker i knew had one. ive had three of them this one Italian is the best though there are better than this one for sure. Often they go cheap highest ive seen maybe 2,200.00 plus buyer premium and that was high for them. They are unknown machines. They take some skill.

  3. #3
    Some shops have both . Some guys just canít use the the stroke sanders without sculpting. And some will tear up the wide belts by
    Putting them on the machine backwards which often breaks the overlap. If you will be the only one using it ,either would work.

  4. #4
    yeah forgot I have a wide belt as well.

    For me if only one I can do more with stroke sander

  5. #5
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    I suppose it depends on how good you become with a stroke sander. If you wanted to plane down some veneer to exactly 3/32 perfectly flat, it may be challenging with a stroke sander. Also, if you needed to plane/flatten a face frame before attaching to a cabinet, the stroke sander may give warped results if you are not skilled. lol.

  6. #6
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    I agree with Warren. 2 different tools. I have a stroke sander, use it often and love it. A very skilled friend and ex high school woodworking teacher introduced me to the machine. Very versatile too.

    To answer the original question, it will depend on the function you are doing with wide belt that you are considering the stroke for?

    "What do you mean my birth certificate's expired?!"

  7. #7
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    There is a stroke sander for sale on Purple Wave auction. I keep an eye on the auctions looking for a drum sander or a wide belt sander. The attraction of a wide belt to me is the ability to thickness thin material with accurate repeatability. Dad wants to give me his stroke sander. I am on the lookout for a spot for the stroke sander to live as well.

    https://www.purplewave.com/auction/2...s-Tools-Kansas

    Screen Shot 2024-02-22 at 7.46.19 AM.jpg

    Maurice Mcmurry's Album: Vintage Shop Built Stroke Sander
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    Best Regards, Maurice

  8. #8
    Very different machines. Stroke sander can get your stock finish ready or very close to it, requires skill and a fair amount of space, typically worse at dust control, doesn't need a lot of power, used ones can be had for low$, no electronic or pneumatic controls to go wrong. Wide belts cost more, are more complex, need more power, are better for long stock, give greater throughput, deliver an accurate thickness, typically require further sanding before finishing. Stroke sanders can screw up work in a hurry in unskilled hands but you will find one in many shops that do a lot of veneer work.

    I had a MiniMax L55 which folds up to a very compact footprint when not in use and ran on a 4kw main motor plus a powered table height, very nice machine, but I sold it as it still was too much of a space hog. In a larger shop I would have kept it. Now I have a small drum sander, also low power, which is slow but will get me close to finish with consistent thickness for lumber and veneer. For larger work/ higher volume I truck material down the road to a wide belt and finish off with a handheld random orbit.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 02-22-2024 at 9:06 AM.

  9. #9
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    What can a stroke sander do that a WBS can't?
    JonathanJungDesign.com

  10. #10
    Is that like comparing a pallet jack to a forklift?

  11. #11
    you can drop the table on a stroke sander some amount and sand boxes. Last pine storage cabinets I made I either hung them off the table or pulled some slats and hung it in the table. They were all sanded on the outside that way. On doors I turn them sideways sand the rails the length ways and then sand the styles

    A drum is constant pressure on the material and stroke is you. My wide belt is not a full blown wide belt but a wide belt drum. Its a good calibrating machine that is why I bought it. I forgot i had it as I go to the stroke sander.

    This machine now is open on the right hand side so you can put a long length on it then spin it. Wide belt better for baseboard type stuff but ive sanded any baseboard I made on the stroke and it works fine. I just run pencil lines then sand them off.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Jung View Post
    What can a stroke sander do that a WBS can't?
    A stroke sander can be used to feather out a small bit of tear out without removing 1/32" from the complete slab. It can use finer grit abrasive without burning a line in the wood. It will never put tracks in the wood that a WBS can do with the tracking oscillation of a WBS. You can load a 40" wide table top on a stroke sander which you can't do with a 36" WBS. Just to name a few. I had both in my commercial shop. Every piece of stock went through the stroke sander after the thickness planer.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 02-22-2024 at 12:41 PM.

  13. #13
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    A wide belt sander will have deeper scratches from the abrasive than a stroke sander. The WBS runs the stock under a platten or roller, so the grit size is the depth of scratch in the stock. A stroke sander can have a soft sanding block that does not leave as heavy of sanding scratch. More like polishing on the stroke sander. I love stroke sanders. Made one from plans in FWW, and then bought an old cast iron version. Now I have no room for one in my basement.

  14. #14
    yes to all that. On my mind as I typed but no coffee better not to talk for a bit. I used the wide belt bought to complete a job a few times after it and found I could do better work with the stroke. having the ablity to decide pressure is a helpful thing at times. Maybe the first one I built was from those plans not sure over 40 years ago cant remember but do have a photo of it. Second the progress didnt have an open end, more so no power table and it was way way way too hard to raise up and down so nice when it was replaced.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Jung View Post
    What can a stroke sander do that a WBS can't?
    You can sand assembled boxes and similar thick/tall pieces on many stroke sanders, you can feather out problem areas and you can polish out the chatter and snake tracks often produced by wide belt sanders. You can do quite wide pieces by resetting them on the table. Stroke sanders are good finish sanders although they can hog off material with a coarse belt. Wide belt sanders that approach the results achievable by an experienced hand on a stroke sander are quite sophisticated and expensive. If you have room a stroke sander and widebelt can complement one another.

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