December 06, 2005

Portable Belt Sanders

Here are some tips for operating a portable belt sander...if you think of any we've missed, please e-mail us:,

1. Secure your workpiece and maintain a firm grip on your portable belt sander. Friction between the sanding belt and the workpiece will tend to move the workpiece backwards and the sander forward.

2. Be sure the power switch is in the OFF position before connecting the belt sander to the power. Remember to always lift the sander off of the workpiece before starting or stopping the motor. This reduces the shock load on the drive belt and can prevent an unplanned finishing mark on your workpiece.

3. The weight of the belt sander is sufficient for smooth, fast sanding on all types of materials. Guide the machine over the surface without any additional pressure. Keep it moving with overlapping strokes and allow the sander to do the work.

4. When lowering the sander to the workpiece, let the rear part of the belt touch first. Level the machine as it is moved forward. Keep the sander pointed in a direction parallel to the grain when finishing wood. Work back and forth over a fairly wide area to obtain a more even surface. Do not let the belt sander tilt or the edge of the belt will make a deep cut into the workpiece surface. When fully satisfied with the results of your sanding, lift the sander and stop the motor.

5. Getting the "feel" of a belt sander is important for obtaining smooth results with a minimum of effort. For example, it will take a little practice to get the feel of starting a sanding stroke with just the right "sweeping" motion. Remember to overlap each stroke, and to vary the length of the movement to make certain that the finish will be the same over the entire surface.

6. Be careful when sanding out to the end of the piece not to let the front end of the sander drop. Instead, keep the abrasive belt surface parallel with the surface of the workpiece. If the sander does drop over the edge of a square corner, the corner will start to round--no matter what material you are sanding!

7. Never rush when working with a portable belt sander. Give every surface a thorough working over with each abrasive grit before changing to a finer grit. Remember--never skip more than one grit in the sequence! It takes too long and wastes your sanding belts to try and sand out coarse scratches with a fine belt...

8. Do not pause in any one spot during the sanding operation because the belt will quickly remove material, making the surface uneven.

9. Abrasive Resource makes belts in any size. We have low minimums and quantity discounts. Do you own an out-of-date portable sander that needs custom belts? Give us a call:
800-814-7358! Or, visit our website to see which portable belts we stock for immediate shipping:

Basic Sanders

The basic styles of portable sanders haven’t changed very much over the years. We have some old advertising posters from the Rockwell Manuf...