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Thread: Hitachi or Rigid Belt sander

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,264

    Hitachi or Rigid Belt sander

    I have never had a portable belt sander. I am wanting to know if anyone has experience with either the Rigid or Hitachi belt sanders.

    Given my frequency of use, i plan on buying reconditioned and of those available right now only two that have any credibility are Hitachi and Rigid.

    Rigid is model ZRR2740 touted as 6.5 amp and 3 inch x 18 inch size.

    Hitachi is model SB8V2 size 3 inch x 24 .

    At present i am leaning to Hitachi. Its only US$ 99 vs US$ 64.99 for Rigid but its size is in between the bigger Makita and the Rigid and other model sizes.
    Reviews i have found say its heavy, well i like that idea because i then only have to keep it in location and it will do the job.

    Which would you select.? Why? Do you know of any alternatives in the same sort of price range . I am not looking to put a high dollar new sander on the shelf.

    Thanks for any input and advice. Have not checked yet but does anyone know if 3x24 is a easily available belt size.

    Never used one before, always felt these machines can cause one to wreck a surface pretty quick if one is not careful.

    Btw Hitachi has a feature which permits moving belt such that one side can reach corner if one comes up against vertical surface. Not relevant to my need. It is also much higher than the Rigid but at this stage i am not sanding underneath an overhang.

    Thanks
    cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,448
    I got rid of one 3x24 belt sander for lack of use. Then many years later decided I really wanted one, so bought a cheap one with a 3x18 inch belt size. I still don't use it a lot, but the smaller belts build up heat faster, and that heat weakens the glue in the belt joint - i.e. the newer sander with smaller belts eats belts more often.

    I think I planned on using the belt sander on tops that are wider than my 38 inch drum sander, but now I primarily use a jack plane with a smoothing blade (ever so slight curvature of the blade so no ridges at the ends), then touch up with a ROS.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Parker County, Texas
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    1,507
    I am not sure if this will help or not. I don't have a belt sander by either of those, but I do use Hitachi drills and they have performed over the years flawlessly. I have two old Rigid shop vacuums that work just great. One of them is constantly used everyday I'm in the shop. And that is almost everyday. But, even though it costs more I would lean towards the Hitachi.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Thanks Charlie, i would have liked to do the same only for speed and clamping i am going to use a pin nailer to secure these strips during glue up so my concern will be hitting a nail with a plane blade.

    But you got me thinking...thanks
    cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    WI
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    72
    My suggestion would be to go with the Hitachi. I have both Ridgid and Hitachi handheld tools and like both brands but in the case of sanders I think Hitachi wins. My Hitachi SB-75, 3 x 21 belt sander, doesn't get used all that much but when it does it's a real work horse.
    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    4,701
    Would lean towards the Hitachi, mostly for the reasons Charlie mentioned. The somewhat larger/longer platform is easier to keep flat as well.

    I would also advocate against using it for your table top. I tried flattening my original bench top with a belt sander and that was more than a bit of a train wreck Its really easy to take off a lot more than you want in the spots you don't want to and keeping things "flat" and "level" is a bit of a trick (I'm sure others have it, I don't and I suspect its a hard won skill). A couple hours with a jack plane fixed the problems caused there and got me a lot closer to where I wanted to be in a lot less time (and I was no shakes with a hand plane at the time either). Had I been planning on using the jack (or at least thinking ahead) I'd have spent more time laying out the grain so the pieces didn't go this away and that away... but traversing at a slight angle mostly solved that problem. You would hopefully end up with less material needing to be removed than I did as well (various reasons for that we'll just ignore here ) so that might make it less painful - but in that case I'd say a good ROS is less likely to cause an unfixable oops.

    I mostly use mine upside down for metal shaping at this point... I actually have two. My main one is a Bosch 3x21 I bought to replace a HF one that ate its insides and dissolved into a pile of plastic shards and smoke, I might have been excessively up buying in response to the HF self destruction but its a good sander. The other is an ancient all metal 4x18 that a friend gave me that I've never actually used except briefly after repacking all of the gear boxes with fresh grease to make sure it was all happy (the old grease had congealed to plastic like hardness). One of the other reasons I got the Bosch was that it has a "fence" option and can be easily clamped upside down or on end and used as a small tabletop belt sander. I'd probably have been better off spending the extra money on a dedicated 1x30 strip sander but the space savings seemed compelling at the time.

    My Bosch sander has a "sanding frame" which is basically a guide that clamps on around the base and keeps you from dipping in to deeply and is somewhat helpful for keeping it flat (it still wants to drift down in the middle more than I'd like). I don't see that option for either of the two you're looking at but you might be able to rig something similar up (I see triton and ryobi also have them - no idea how well they work, both look flimsier than the bosch).

    My cousin actually uses a floor sander to flatten large table slabs.... that's even more of a trick but again learned skills
    Love thy neighbor, yet pull down not thy hedge.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    I guess I was not paying total attention to you Rob. What Ryan said about not advising using a belt sander on a table to jumped up and grabbed me. I don't advise it, either. I did build furniture before I went to turning only. I still build something now and then for family members or really good friends. When I have a table top or the like that needs sanding, I have a 6" Festool Random Orbital Disk Sander and it is a wonderful tool. Strong as a mule, too. I can bare down on it with dang near all of my weight on it and the thing does not bog down! Has dust collector hook ups and all that good stuff. Variable speed, but not in the budget line you are talking about. It's a rather expensive tool unless your shop can pay for it and you recoup your expense quickly. Anyway, my two belt sanders are a 4x36 Porter Cable and a 3x21 Bosch. I don't think I would use them on a table top. That big one is more a drag and gouge tool than anything. You want to remove wood, that will do it. Good luck on your choice.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2006
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    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
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    I have two belt sanders - a Sears (was a gift) 3 X 21, and a P-C 3 X 24. Neither of them have been used in probably the last five years. I use them so seldom than invariably the belt breaks from disuse in the first 30 seconds.

    A hand plane and/or an ROS are my go to tools.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
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    I've got a Makita I bought years ago, I think for sanding oak stair treads. I've mostly used it for hogging away material, but like others rarely use it now. Like Jim, I find myself using hand planes more and more.

    Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    I used a belt sander a lot back when I was making cutting boards. Especially before I got a planer and a drum sander. I have a Porter-Cable 3 x 24 that's a workhorse. Tons of power and pretty straightforward to connect to a shop vac. But it's heavy, tall and has a high center of gravity. As a result, it's hard for me to control and keep from gouging the surface. My other belt sander is a cheapo Black & Decker "Dragster" model, 3 x 18. It's noisy, and I had to jury-rig a shop vac connection for dust collection (which is not great). But it's light and has a very low center of gravity, so it's much easier for me to control. As a result, I could get a better finished cutting board out of it. I'm actually on my second one. The first one died after a few years of use. From nearly the beginning, the first one squealed like the bearings were shot. (They probably were, but it still soldiered on for several years.) The second one hasn't gotten a lot of use since I bought it. I've not made anything to use it on in 4+ years.

    I've gotten good performance out of the blue Norton 3X sanding belts with both of my sanders.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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