Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: Advice needed on portable belt sander

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Advice needed on portable belt sander

    My old early 70's Craftsman 4x24 belt sander died a while ago and I need to replace it. Where I live it's hard to even heft anything that HD or Lowes doesn't carry. The nearest woodworking stores are 4 hrs to the west in SLC and 4 hrs to the east in Denver so whatever I decide to buy will most likely be on-line.

    The ones I've been considering are the Makita 9404 4x24 8.8 amp 10.3# variable speed at 232.36. I like the variable speed idea but haven't found one to heft. I did find a 3x21 with the bag in the same place and didn't care for the way it felt. The 3x21 wasn't well balanced and I wonder if that applies to the 4x24 too.

    The Makita 9403 4x24 11 amp 9.8# non variable speed at 249.99. This one seems to get very good reviews. Is the 9404 really only 9.8# as amazon says?

    The milwaukee 5936 4x24 10 amp 14.5# non variable speed at 299.99. I did find one of these to heft and it is perfectly balanced right over the center of the belt. If it was variable I'd probably buy this since I like Milwaukee and have had great luck with them over the years. It is the heaviest of the lot.

    The Bosch 1276DVS 4x24 10.5 amp 13.8# variable speed at 223.08.

    The Bosch 1274 DVS which is a 3x21 6.6 amp 7.8# varriable speed at 164.40. I really like the way this feels; if Bosch made a 4x24 in this configuration I'd buy it.

    The best reviews are of the Makita 9403. The little Bosch feels great; should I try a 3x21? The PC and Dewalt don't feel good to me so I'm not considering them. I'm leaning towards the Bosch 1276 because of variable speed and Makita 9403 for the lightest wt and good reviews.

    So what say you all?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Mesquite, Texas
    I cant wait to hear the responses to this one as my early 70s 4x24 Craftsman crapped out on me last week. still runs but after 20 seconds shoots the belt off. I was considering the PC but I havent felt one yet but you did not seem impressed. We'll see what the experts say.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Fallbrook, California
    I guess I'm not the only one here with a "vintage" Craftsman belt sander. I may be in the market for one soon as well.
    Don Bullock
    Woebgon Bassets
    AKC Championss

    The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
    -- Edward John Phelps

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Streator. Il
    I'm going to throw my 2C in here. have 3 different belts sanders with VS and I don't ever remember really using the speed control. I may be using mine different you so I can't be a real help there. I have always been that the heaver the sander (Belt) the better it will sand. The weight of the machine helps hold it down. balance is important (to me) but not the weight. Now my small PC371K I use vertical so I like it light, but the others are for flat work and don't mine the weight.

  5. #5
    Hi Chuck

    I'll give a positive vote for the 4x24 Whisper series that I have that Porter Cable makes. It's not VS but I don't miss that . I would say that the only con would be the weight. Depending on how you look at it the sander can be heavy but I just let it do the work I don't fight it .


  6. #6
    Like you and so many others, I started off with Sears Craftsman tools. When my 1970's 4 x 24 belt sander finally wore out several years ago I replaced it with a Makita 9403. I am extremely happy with this machine. I find that the balance and ease of use is much superior to my old Craftsman.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    It looks like a good number of us did use the old Craftsman stuff. It seems to me that it was built to a different standard then.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Pacific Northwest
    My old Craftsman 3x21 also recently died - I've made friends with a local pro cabinet shop owner, saw him using the Bosch 4x24 VS and asked if he'd buy it again - he said absolutely. I bought one from the local Western Tool about a month ago, have used it 3-4 times and so far no complaints. Plan to track down the UHMW backer replacement for the cork/steel runner eventually, but can't find anything wrong with the Bosch so far. Even the inboard DC bag works pretty well with no other suction... Steve

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    I have the Bosch 3"x21" and although I very, very rarely use it, it's a fine machine. In fact, I think I've used it three times and two of them it was clamped in the bench vice upside-down.... Belt sanders just don't get much use anymore it seems...

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Camas, Wa
    I have the 9404 an love it. I like the low profile. It is well balanced. I don't use the VS though. It is pretty heavy but I think it was one of the lighter ones out there when I was looking. It really hogs off the material.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    North Central Wisconsin
    I have the 4x24 Bosch and am very happy with it.

    As mentioned earlier, the dust collection is really good .. I hook it up to my small Fein vac and it virtually picks up everything.

  12. #12
    Have an old 4x24 Craftsman too, but inop due to a bearing failure. Price on comparable sanders seems way out of reason so thought I still might be able to replace the bearing that disintegrated. But man, would that thing remove the wood. ROS pad sander [also Craftsman] also inop....maybe I need to move on.... like everyone else. Have looked at Milwaukee and PC....both seem very well built.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Belden, Mississippi
    Well, of all things. I have a Ryobi ( the only "R" tool I own) 3" x 21" VS. It won't die. I don't use the VS feature. Bought it for $99.00 about 8 years ago. Value for the money? You bet!

  14. Bigger is better.
    Get the best most expensive heaviest duty sander you can.
    I like the Makita big dog.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Stephenville, TX
    I use a belt sander a lot compared to most other people. Whatever you do don't get one of the Sears fifty buck sanders - one of the worst tools ever made. I bought one when I was getting started in woodworking and complained and complained to the guy I learned most of my woodworking from. He smiled and said, "Let me try it." Obviously thought I just didn't know how. He took it home. The next time I saw him he said, "-------". I smiled.

    I got the Ryobi 3x21 and thought and still think it's one of the best designed tools I had. Dust collection superb and easy to handle. But I wore two out (bearings) and got the Bosch I am now using which has a similar design. I recommend getting a flat top one so you can build a holder out of shop scrap for it to slide into to hold it upside down for sanding small stuff. Amazing the number of times I use it for that. All I've had with the exception of the Craftsman have had variable speed, which I consider a lost cause. I also have the Porter Cable 4x24 "locomotive" which will really hog off material, but if you use it a lot you can cancel your gym membership.

    I used a belt sander to sand a lot of panels before I got a drum sander. After countless hours doing that I can testify there's no way (for me, anyway) to make a flat panel using a belt sander. They have their use, but that's not one of them

Similar Threads

  1. Belt Sander
    By Darrin Davis in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-19-2007, 9:04 PM
  2. Belt Disc Combo Sander
    By John Terefenko in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-11-2006, 6:27 AM
  3. widebelt sander time needed
    By john hanes in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-18-2006, 7:23 PM
  4. Edge Sander? Drum vs Wide Belt? How many FPM on the belt?
    By Ed Lang in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 02-18-2006, 6:45 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts