When you are looking to level, smooth, or flatten pieces of wood for any application, you should consider procuring a belt sander. Sanders are multi-use tools that use linear motion to alter surfaces, and they work well for a variety of purposes. Although these are not always essential tools, a belt sander can make many projects easier and quicker, so it might be in your best interest to consider procuring one for your tool collection. For your better knowledge, this blog will cover the functions of a typical belt sander, and how to use one for optimal results.
A belt sander is a large hand-held tool that features a belt of rough material to quickly remove material when in use. These tools are powerful and can quickly ruin a project if used incorrectly, so it is always wise to begin with a gentler belt, according to its grit rating. For example, an 80-grit belt will be slightly more gentle than a 120-grit belt, so it is best to start low and gradually move upwards so as not to cause irreversible damage to your workpiece. Grits coarser than 50 leave deep scratches that are difficult to remove. Depending on your workpiece, you will also require a specific sized belt. The best multipurpose belt sander is 3 inches wide, but narrower or wider options are available for special projects.
In addition to wood, belt sanders may also be used for the rough sharpening of metal tools like axes, knives, chisels, and more. For the best results in such applications, equip your sander with a zirconia belt. Additionally, be sure to remove the dust bag and remove all dust from the sander. All belt sanders come equipped with a dust bag, that of which collects most of the coarser dust and requires regular emptying. When working with any applications that generate sparks, a full dust bag becomes a fire hazard.
To use your belt sander, it is wise to follow a few key guidelines. For example, it is smart to begin using your belt sander at an angle to the grain of your workpiece before finishing your piece with the grain. Furthermore, it is important not to push down on your tool and workpiece to allow the weight of the sander to do its work. Tipping the sander, changing speed, and changing direction may all damage your project, so be careful and precise when using this tool.
Despite their strength, belt sanders are fragile tools that must be treated correctly. Many belts have a preferred direction, meaning they must be installed in a particular way, but nondirectional belts are available as well. Before use, power your belt sander on and observe the flow of the belt while it is not pressed against a surface. Make note of any issues, such as the belt rubbing against the housing or slipping off of the rollers, and adjust accordingly. It is also important to keep your belt clean so it may function at its best.
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