Best belt-sander?

I'm looking for a hand sander, generally I buy Dewalt, but I think that the porta cable model might be the better choice this time. What do people here think? Its around $200.
Also, is there a better way to sand a deck? I have to do an area now about 25x15'.
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dean wrote:

I think I would rent a good floor sander.
--
Joseph Meehan

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| I'm looking for a hand sander, generally I buy Dewalt, but I think | that the porta cable model might be the better choice this time. What | do people here think? Its around $200. | | Also, is there a better way to sand a deck? I have to do an area now | about 25x15'.
I like the Bosch belt sander for areas that large, and the Dewalt (8 hole hook & loop) orbital sander. the Porta Cable has 5 holes and clogs often (having had one in the past)
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Having at least three of the P-C ROS 5-hole variety, I'll avow as to having one "clog" has never been an issue...no idea what would have been the usage and/or paper to cause such a problem.
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I've been in the business for some years now and over those years our crew has learned the 3" by 21" Ryobi inline belt sander is probably the most versatile.
It is as durable as any and being inline you can lay it on it's top and use it upside down to sand smaller pieces of wood.
The last time I checked it cost around $150.
It is also sold as Craftsman as Ryobi manufacturers it for Sears.
As far as a palm sander (ie 1/4 sheet) goes I had the best luck with the DeWalt.
Hope this helps.
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If you're talking about buying this belt sander to do the deck, I concur w/ renting a floor sander is the only reasonable way.
For a belt sander, it depends--on what you would use it for. My personal preference is for the center-mount motor for better balance and 3x24 for size -- that's for things like cabinet faces, table tops, etc. That size is small enough for control yet big enough for reasonable removal rate plus stability. The platen size is also large enough to make them relatively easy to avoid making hills and valleys in the work as well.
My all-time favorite was the B&D but they quit making it some time ago and I've yet to find another as well balanced and comfortable to use. : ( I have the Makita low-profile model now (forget the number) and it's not bad, but not nearly as well balanced. The new 3-wheel DeWalt is nice looking idea, but it's only 3x21 -- too short imo. The P-C beasties are simply too big and clunky for the way I want to use one often although they are super strong.
In short, need more info for real good suggestions...obtw, if opt for 3", you have to be careful to examine the individual sander(s) thoroughly -- a lot of them now are 4" models w/ nothing changed but the rollers and platen so they are very awkward with an extra inch of sander in width but no belt/platen for it. Consequently, they can't even come close to the edge of an inside bookcase, for example.
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dean wrote:
You might want o ask this on rec.woodworking.

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Dewalt and Porter-Cable are fine but I would rather have a Milwaukee but its more like $300.
For 25' x 15', a hand sander will take you all day long down on you knees. Use a walk behind floor sander as suggested elsewhere. You could flip the deck boards over and sometimes its like new - done that. You could also use a thickness planner - done that too.
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A floor sander will make quick work of most of the deck, rent one. For other parts, a belt sander will work well. I have a Ryobi 3x21, paid $99 for it at the BORG. Take time to go over the deck and sink any exposed nail heads. A dust mask will help your lungs.
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