View Poll Results: Do you use a belt sander in furniture making?

67. You may not vote on this poll
  • I regularly use a belt sander when making furniture.

    26 38.81%
  • I rarely use a belt sander when making furniture.

    34 50.75%
  • I wouldn't consider use a belt sander in furniture making.

    7 10.45%
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Thread: Poll - Belt Sanders

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Chappell Hill, Texas

    Question Poll - Belt Sanders

    I want to get a feeling for how many of you incorporate a belt sander's use in your work when making furniture - at any stage. I wrote an article about belt sanding and submitted it to Popular Woodworking, and they seemed to poo-poo the use of belt sanding in furniture making. I disagree with them, but what do I know?

    Anyway, please take the poll. THANKS! Todd.

    1) You regularly use a belt sander? What stage(2)?

    2) You rarely use a belt sander? What motivation?

    3) You would not dream of touching your work with a belt sander. Why not?

  2. #2

    I do!

    How else can I get those smooth gouges in the panels? You know, just when you think you're about finished and decide "one more pass". Like the old westerns, "I'm gonna rob one more stage, then I'll retire". You know he's gonna get shot this time. I know I'm gonna hesitate somewhere.

    But, the belt is good. What does Pop WW know?
    Every deed plants a seed.

  3. #3
    Paul Kunkel Guest

    I do

    But more for shaping. Since I got a dual drum the 4x24 handheld hardly ever gets used for something flat. Depends on what tools you have to work with too

  4. #4
    Robert Henderson Guest
    Before I got my drum sander I used my belt sander on just about every project. About the only time I use it now is when a table top has rounded corners. I will rough cut the corner with a jig saw and finish to the line with a belt sander.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKean, PA

    Furniture making is too broad

    Furniture making encompasses a lot of things and means different thngs to differ ent people. I make dressers, tables, endtables, etc. They are considerered furniture. Some people think of only chairs as furniture.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA '71
    Go Navy!

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  6. #6
    Scott in Douglassville, PA Guest
    Hey, Todd -

    I didn't vote, 'cause you're missing an option - "Would use one, but don't have one."

    Also (watch it - here 'comes), my experience with PopWood is that they will poo-poo (cute) queries, and you'll see them show up in later issues. Written by staff writers. C'mon - <i>Popular Woodworking</i> doesn't see the applicability of a <i>belt</i> sander? Have they <i>read</i> any of their magazines?!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Broken Arrow(Tulsa), OK

    Belt Sanders


    Like others since I got the drum sander, I don't use the belt sander very much. Also, my old belt sander is on its last leg so I'm trying to just use it when nothing else will do the job. I keep intending to buy another when I have the money, but something else seems to always replace it at the top of the list.

    I do think a belt sander is a good tool for many things, including furniture making, but one has to learn how to hold one's mouth when using it less one ends up with, as Howard put it so aptly, smooth gouges.

    If you can't find a buyer for your article, post it here, I am sure we would all enjoy it regardless of which magazines "poo-poo" it.


  8. #8

    I have 3 belt sanders: PC 4x24, PC VS 3x21, DeWalt 3x21 with sanding frame. I use each one for different purposes. The DeWalt is great for vertical work as it is light and easy to hold. The sanding frame is also a big plus when you need to be gentle. The 4x24 is a beast and hogs off material like no tomorrow, but is heavy, rough panel work and even floor leveling. The PC 3x21 is great all around sander, I typically use mine for carpentry work, door fitting, odd jobs etc… I don’t use them a lot for furniture making as I have a small Performax and edge sander, but each has a place in my shop.


  9. #9
    I mostly use my cheep 21x3 in a shopmade jig which holds the belt sideways. It's great for sanding to a line when I am afraid to cut too close. And I often use it to contour a shape to feel just right to the hand.

    I don't use it on flat surfaces (except perhaps smoothing out some construction lumber) and I hardly ever use a grit finer than 80.

    A very usefull tool, but mostly near the beginning of a project. It just doesn't "feel" like "fine" woodworking.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Conway, Arkansas
    I'm with the crowd here......get yourself a drum sander and you won't need a belt sander.
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
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  11. #11
    I prefer to use a hand plane in lieu of a belt sander. The belt sander can get away from you in a heartbeat and I never have that problem with the plane.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Southeast Houston Area
    For me using a belt sander is mostly for correcting errors of judgement or technique. So maybe my answer to the poll should have been, If I was better I'd rarely use one, if I was really good I wouldn't use one at all.

    Jim Izat

  13. Cool

    I hear thet they are good for racing, that is until you reach the end of the cord. I use my belt sanders a lot and would not buy a drum sander because I specialize in working with warped and knotty lumber. I also use the exposed end to cut scallops in the ends of boards to make them look like a beaver has been chewing on them. That's about as fine as my woodworking gets. At least you don't need eyeglasses to tell that it ain't Formica.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Batesville (North Central) Arkansas
    I use a stationary belt sander often for shaping.

    My Hand Held Belt Sander is a beast and it's never had anything but coarse grit in it. It eats wood, gouges, spits and generally uses foul language. Not the thing to use on furniture: however......

    I have read about tuning your belt sander: flattening the sole etc. I suspect that with 100 or 120 grit paper, a hand held may be capable of some finesse.

    I use my ROS a lot. It don't weigh as much and generally has better manners. You can use an ROS with Ladies in the room.

    I have a theory that you need a lot of sanders: ROS, big stationary belt sander, Oscillating spindle sander, every kind of sanding block. I also need to learn to scrape and hand plane. The difference between good work and great work is in smoothing and finishing. But... I'm just a Novice.
    Zack Jennings
    Refugee from the Pond

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Carmichael, Ca
    My old Craftsman has many many miles on it and it stated heating up and the belts would break. New bearings didn't help so I built a cradle for it and I use it for sharping mower blades and tools. It works great for that. I went out and bought another 4x24 PC because I had too many belts left over and didn't know how else I could use them.


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