Summary: Learn how to use a belt sander, using a belt sander safely.
A belt sander is a motor driven machine that runs a belt of sandpaper, which powerfully removes the surface of a piece of timber. This kind of sander makes light work of finishing wood surfaces as it is fast and powerful.
Using a belt sander
An excellent tool for finishing large timber surfaces, the belt sander can be used for removing lots of wood or for more delicate finishing jobs. The type of sandpaper you use will dictate the effectiveness of the sander.
- Start by remembering that the sander should be used with both hands when in operation. Due to the rolling motion of the belt, the sander will pull away from you, so full control is required.
- Before you start the machine, lift it off the surface. Turn the switch on and pull the trigger to start the sander.
- Slowly lower the sander onto the timber and move it along the surface in the direction of the grain. You should keep the sander gently moving at all times.
- Allow the weight of the sander to be the only downward pressure and simply guide it to the places you want it to go. It is important for the quality of the finish that you sand as evenly as possible, so try and work on each part of the timber the same amount.
- Use a finer grade of sandpaper to complete the job if there are scratch marks from a more coarse paper.
- Lift the belt sander away from the surface before turning off.
- When you want to change the sandpaper (for a different grade paper or due to wear), you will need to know how this is done on your particular sander. Each brand and model has slightly different methods, though all are simple and similar. Check the manufacturers’ instructions if you are unsure.
- To remove the sandpaper you need to move the rollers closer together to loosen the paper so it can be taken out. This can be done pressing a release lever or by applying pressure to the rollers. Fitting the new paper is done simply by feeding it onto the rollers in the direction stated on the inside of the sandpaper. Finally release the roller back into their original position and you are ready to go.
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