belt sander dead, need recommendation

Dave Kauffman

Member
Messages
180
Location
Fort Washington, PA
I rarely use a belt sander, prefering a random orbital for almost all the sanding I do other than by hand. But once in a while, you need one. My 20 yr old Craftsman 3x21 finally made a few screaching death sounds and bit the dust today while sanding a "cookie" I sliced from the end of an interesting log. Sounded like a bearing deteriorated, but didn't take the time to tear it apart. Since I still have tons of 3x21 belts, thought I'd stick with that for a replacement. Anybody here have any "well whatever you do don't get an xyz"? Anybody use one they really like and would recommend highly? I'm not going to say money is no object, but at this point in my woodworking, I'm willing to pay top dollar for a tool in order to get one that works well if I have to.

Thanks in advance for your input
 

larry merlau

Member
Messages
18,212
Location
Delton, Michigan
belt sander

well i use a porter cable 4x24 when i need one but was told by a professional table maker to get one of those porter cable hand helds cant remeber the model no. its the new one thats in the wood mags alot only approx 12 inches long and fits your hand well. he said that it was the best litte belt sander he had every used.. and i take his opinions highly:thumb:
 

Bill Simpson

Member
Messages
1,758
I have a 20 + years old Craftsman as well and I see no reason why it shouldn't serve your purposes to purchase another. I would look at the outlet stores and get a reconditioned one. (Especially after you look at the price)

I have had PC and other Sanders at the different schools and they have held up well but not any better than the Craftsman that I bought back in '78 (heck, that makes it 30 years old.) Used it just this past week and as you say,,, "Not very often" but sometimes you nee to be agressive...
 

Jim DeLaney

Moderator
Staff member
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6,095
Location
Austintown, Ohio
A new Craftsman won't be nearly as well built as your old one was. When mine died, about five years ago, I replaced it with a Porter Cable.
 

Jim Hager

Member
Messages
374
Location
N.E. Arkansas
If you didn't let the smoke out of the motor, chances are a good cleaning and maybe replacing the brushes would fix it just as good as new. When power tools don't get used often they will freeze bearings and brush mounts to the point that they won't work well at all. I think I'd have to take it apart and see. I was just about to replace my old Ryobi 3 hp router not too long ago when I took it apart and replaced a bearing, now it works anytime I ask it to.
 
Messages
1,457
Location
Central (upstate) NY
A friend of mine has one of those small Porter Cable units Larry mentioned. It works great, but he told me that since you are holding the motor it tends to get warm. He doesn't think it gets warmer than other larger units, just that you're holding right where it does get warm.
 

Garry Foster

Member
Messages
2,023
Location
Southeast Pa
Well when I replaces the one I loaned my son I was in a Lowes looking and a flooring contractor started talking. He said to get the cheap Black and Decker, and I wouldn't be sorry. I did and haven't been sorry yet. It was dirt cheap made of plastic and works great for a couple of years now. I am a light user but he said he used one daily and it was the best value he had found and had no big functional problems. Now just to show I don't always buy the cheapest I have Bosh jig saw as well as their circular saw. The B&D is also very light and easy to handle. Its a 3x21 I believe where as my old craftsman was a 4x something..

Garry
 

Sean Wright

Member
Messages
902
Location
WNY, Buffalo Area
Dave,

If you are looking for a good sander that can use those 3x21 belts, you might want to take a look at DeWalt's DW433 VS. Thats the one that I have. I did a review on it as linked below. Admittedly it doesn't get a lot of use, but it performs well every time I pick it up. I still need to get the dust chute to vac adaptor, so it creates a good deal of dust.

If you have any questions about it, let me know.:wave:

http://familywoodworking.org/forums/showthread.php?t=3442
 

Vaughn McMillan

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
32,559
Location
ABQ NM
I'll get laughed at for this...

I've got a Black and Decker 'Dragster' sander and a Porter-Cable 3" x 21". The Dragster has squealed like a stuck pig almost since the day I got it, but I continued to run it hard for over a year before I got the P-C (which was a very nice gift from another FW member). I tried very hard to burn up the Dragster, but it just didn't want to die.

Having used both sanders now, if I had to buy a new one, I'd probably go with the Dragster again. It's better balanced, not as top-heavy, and it's generally much easier to handle and control than the P-C. It's also got a longer platen than the P-C, so I can get something flat more easily than with the Dragster. They both spin sandpaper across a piece of wood...I just get better results with less fighting with the Dragster. (BTW, Sears sells their own branded clone of the Dragster last I looked.)
 

Jeff Horton

Member
Messages
4,272
Location
The Heart of Dixie
I will join Dale in offering you an old Craftsman for shipping. It works, just the drive wheel, the rubber coated one that drives the sandpaper is shot. I replaced it with an old Skill. Rarely use either one.

If Dales doesn't work out let me know and I get some info off it.
 
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Vaughn McMillan

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
32,559
Location
ABQ NM
What can it do in the 1/4 mile? :D
I doubt it'd keep up with these...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLKsAUxiL9E :p

Seriously though, it does have a bigger flat surface on the bottom (due to the small front wheel) and the center of gravity is much lower. Not nearly as likely to tip sideways and gouge the work while running. Much easier to handle than any others I've tried. The rectangular dust port does make it tough to connect a shop vac for dust control, though.

When I was making a lot of cutting boards, I would sometimes run the belt sander for several hours in an evening, several nights a week. Aside from the screaming bearings, the B&D just kept cranking. (Sometimes with a 10 pound weight on top, just to make it more aggressive.)
 

Dave Kauffman

Member
Messages
180
Location
Fort Washington, PA
THANKS for all the quick responses guys... this is a great forum, wish I had more hours to spend in front of this computer. I find I usually miss most of the threads as just don't have the time to go through all sections.

I appreciate the offer of those that will send me one for the shipping, but I've decided I want a new or relatively new one at this point. Somebody PMed me with a VERY good deal on a new PC (he has an extra one), but previous to that a friend offered to give me a "lightly used" one. When I see it if it checks out I'll probably go with that for now. I don't use one often, but as I said, when you do need it, ya need it. Thanks for everybodies input.
 

Dave Kauffman

Member
Messages
180
Location
Fort Washington, PA
Just for closure, in case anybody was wondering, I was given a slighly used Hitachi, which will do me for a good while since I use a belt sander only occasionally.

Thanks again for all the quick responses.
Dave
 
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