Belt sander belts keep breaking

I just bought a belt sander last night and 5 36 grit belts to take down the surface of an end grain cutting board I made. The problem is I went through 2 belts in less then an hour. The just tore, and not at the glue line. This is my first experience with a belt sander and is this my style or did I get a batch of bad belts?
-Jim
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jtpr wrote the following:

surface of an end grain cutting board I made. The problem is I went through 2 belts in less then an hour. The just tore, and not at the glue line. This is my first experience with a belt sander and is this my style or did I get a batch of bad belts?

It could be either. I've used belts that lasted until all the grit was worn off.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Well, I have no control over the belts, but if it was my style what could I be doing that would cause this? Would getting too close to the edge and catching it be a problem.
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On 11/29/2011 8:47 AM, jtpr wrote:

Why not? You have a captive supplier?
If you're tearing them, I'd guess technique likely is the problem, particularly as you say you've not used a belt sander much (iiuc).
What belt manufacturer? If they're some no-name or HF or something perhaps they're pretty flimsy and not difficult to cause the rip.
Also, not sure what you're actually doing from the description--if you've glued up an endgrain board and are using the belt sander to bring down mismatches between blocks I could see it being quite easy to catch an edge or for a corner to cut into a belt before got the sharp edges/corners worn down a little...
As always, the responses are only as good as the provided input which was, unfortunately, rather minimal.
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OK, good point. The belts I'm using are these, but in 36 grit:
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00928354000P?prdNo=6&blockNo=6&blockType=G6
The sander is this one (except I paid $62 in the store, funny story)
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_009CH348000B?prdNo=8&blockNo=8&blockType=G8
The cutting board is this one:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheWoodWhisperer#p/search/0/5B8oAJs3sik

Purpleheart and hard maple.
-Jim
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wrote:

2 hours on end grain is about right, IIRC.

Do dat beastie have a dust collection tube? If so, DEFINITELY use it.

Jim, you have two choices. Take the belts back to Searz and attempt to get your money back. G'luck wi dat.
Or pick up a flat-soled Stanley #4-1/2 and go to town. You should have lost about five pounds by the time you're done, and perhaps picked up a couple in muscle mass. I recommend this method over the other. http://goo.gl/VhaaX Have fun!
-- In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create. -- Raoul Vaneigem
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On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:25:51 AM UTC-5, Larry Jaques wrote:

Thanks. Yes, that was one reason I went with this one, I could connect my dust collection to it.
I did try the plane approach, but man, that was going real slow. It's an old plane that was my Dad's, I forget what number it is. Maybe I'll revisit that tonight. I will say it is a LOT more enjoyable. Quiet, can listen to music, etc... Tell me, I'm kind of working on a diagonal across the board, is that the best way on end grain?
-Jim
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wrote:

That really makes a difference in disk and belt life, not to mention work atmosphere.

plane that was my Dad's, I forget what number it is. Maybe I'll revisit that tonight. I will say it is a LOT more enjoyable. Quiet, can listen to music, etc... Tell me, I'm kind of working on a diagonal across the board, is that the best way on end grain?
Make sure the plane sole is clean and waxed, the iron ScarySharp(tm), and go at it any old way. End grain is all crossgrain. And don't plane crossgrain on face boards unless you're just trying to take down a lot of thickness and you're going to be planing normally after that.
-- In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create. -- Raoul Vaneigem
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My first thought was belt quality.
But, end sanding is tough service for a belt. You might lighten up.
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wrote:

surface of an end grain cutting board I made. The problem is I went through 2 belts in less then an hour. The just tore, and not at the glue line. This is my first experience with a belt sander and is this my style or did I get a batch of bad belts?

Yeah, most people really lay into a belt sandah. That kills belts fast.
Ideally, he'd have cut the ends with a table saw and then just lightly sanded (or planed!) the cut edge to smooth it. <shrug>
-- In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create. -- Raoul Vaneigem
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You are so right! Well, live and learn. Actually I should explain something. I was not that concerned about everything being smooth because my plan was to just run it through the planer when the glue dried. So, I'm sitting at work and it just keeps nagging at me that "Man, that end grain seems like tough stuff". I do a quick Google on end grain and planer and oh boy, the things I read are up there on a par with Iran getting the nuclear warheads. So I think, this sucks, now what to do? I have a random orbiter sander but I know how old I'll be when I get done using THAT. I don't have a lot of time until Christmas so I shop around online and find the one I bought at Sears, and while I'm there pick up some 36 grit paper.
I haven't bought any Craftsman stuff for a long time, but I couldn't beat the sale price and I know I won't have a lot of use for a belt sander other then something like this, so I went with it. I have to say, if this problem isn't the sander, and I don't think it is, then it is pretty nice machine.
-Jim
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On 11/29/2011 6:37 AM, jtpr wrote:

surface of an end grain cutting board I made. The problem is I went through 2 belts in less then an hour. The just tore, and not at the glue line. This is my first experience with a belt sander and is this my style or did I get a batch of bad belts?

Just how long do you expect sand paper to last??? ;~) Under constant use sand paper is usually toast after 15 minutes. It may not look worn out but compare the feel of the grit of the old piece to a new piece. The more dull the paper is the more heat it will generate and the quicker it will fail.
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On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:55:43 AM UTC-5, Leon wrote:

Leon,
Acutally, you make a good point. I don't know what my expectations were, but it just seemed that for them to break in 10 min as opposed to wearing out, like my RO sander, was wrong. But maybe this is the way it is.
That being said is it worth it to spend the money for something like this:
http://tinyurl.com/76z63og
As opposed to this:
http://tinyurl.com/83sdudh
-Jim
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On 11/30/2011 8:40 AM, jtpr wrote:

surface of an end grain cutting board I made. The problem is I went through 2 belts in less then an hour. The just tore, and not at the glue line. This is my first experience with a belt sander and is this my style or did I get a batch of bad belts?

it just seemed that for them to break in 10 min as opposed to wearing out, like my RO sander, was wrong. But maybe this is the way it is.

Experiment and see which works best for you. BUT the tougher the cutting material used in the paper the longer it will last. Just touch test the surface of the paper occasionally and compare it to a new belt. If you feel a remarkable difference change the belt. The old belt may still be cutting but it will be doing so at a diminished capacity. A new belt will work many times faster than a worn out one.
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End grain is the hardest on belts - massive collection of fiber ends scratching and holding on.
Another issue is (maybe ) let the weight of the sander press downwards. In other words don't press the sander into the work. This will heat up the belt and melt the glue.
I don't know what type of belt you are using - are they cloth (should be) and the grit is it bonded ?
Many beginner belts are open grit and are paper or cloth. That grit, 36, is very coarse. What wood are you cutting down and how much are you cutting ? Maybe you need planner (blue color) belts that are stronger.
Maybe you need friable grit that keeps on getting sharp as you use it.
Lots to learn.
Martin
On 11/29/2011 6:37 AM, jtpr wrote:

surface of an end grain cutting board I made. The problem is I went through 2 belts in less then an hour. The just tore, and not at the glue line. This is my first experience with a belt sander and is this my style or did I get a batch of bad belts?

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On Wednesday, November 30, 2011 9:51:39 PM UTC-5, Martin Eastburn wrote:

Martin,
Yeah, good point. As to what I'm using I had posted it previously, but here it is to save you looking around:

Anyway, I have decided to take a completely different route (no pun intended) and do this with a router sled jig. I'm going to put one together over the weekend and do it that way.
From what I have read since putting this post up this is the method of choice to level end grain boards. I can still take a final pass or two with the sander, but the router will do the bulk of the work.
I'm sure I'll have post in here about router planing but I don't want to hijack this thread and go off in that direction.
-Jim
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Those are open grain (grains of oxide in tiny amount of glue.
I'll point you to a good site of quality belts - and to the planner that really stand up to hard wood.
http://www.woodworkingshop.com / http://www.woodworkingshop.com/category.aspx?id &f1=3+++X+21 3x21
The blue planer is Alumina Zirconia They are expensive - but really cut. I use them on steel and the other brown on steel also. The hardest wood gives to these - due to the hardness is very high.
I've used this company for sanding belts and sheets for 10-15 years. They started off mostly into sand paper and sand cloths - now into lots.
Martin
On 12/1/2011 2:42 PM, jtpr wrote:

surface of an end grain cutting board I made. The problem is I went through 2 belts in less then an hour. The just tore, and not at the glue line. This is my first experience with a belt sander and is this my style or did I get a batch of bad belts?

and do this with a router sled jig. I'm going to put one together over the weekend and do it that way.

to level end grain boards. I can still take a final pass or two with the sander, but the router will do the bulk of the work.

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