Confused by my new Belt Sander

I make some shelving, cabinetry, picture frames, and so forth using both soft woods and hardwoods. In building these, I do some ripping on my table saw. Up until recently I had been sanding the ripped edges by clamping my belt sander upside down in my woodworking vise and having at it. This worked well because the sander is an older 3 x 24 Sears Craftsman unit with an all aluminum diecast housing and clamping it in a vise didn't seem to hurt the sander.
I recently splurged and went out and bought a 4 x 36 bench top belt sander from Sears, model number 351.215140. You can view this sander at http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?catΎnch+Power+Tools&pid00921514000&vertical=TOOL&subcat=Sanders&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes
When I originally had the old belt sander clamped in the wood vise I had full access to the belt so that I could lay the edge of the ripped board flat on the sanding belt. In doing this I get a nice smooth edge, and if I am careful I can keep it reasonably perpendicular. With this new bench top belt sander (it is hard to see it in the photograph) there is a dust collector shroud that wraps around one end of the belt that prevents me from putting the edge of boards flat on the belt. I have tried using this shroud as a guide to hold the board vertically. Because the edge of the board is now touching the belt at one point at the far end of the belt when I do this, this tends to leave ripples in the board edge surface. I have also tried running the board perpendicular to the sanding belt with the belt in the vertical position. When I do this the edge of the belt seems to occasionally dig into the board and leaves an uneven edge. I've tried using the disk sander on the side of the unit, and that didn't work very well either. I can lay the edge of the board flat on the belt by running it at a slight diagonal so it misses the dust collector shroud, but this didn't seem to make any sense to me.
I don't see any way to remove the shroud, nor is this mentioned at all in the instructions. What is the best way to run this unit for edge standing? Am I missing something?
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[...]
Yes, you are missing something. The best way to run this unit for edge sanding is to leave it on your bench, unplugged -- in other words, don't do that. If the edges you're getting from your table saw are ragged enough to *need* cleaning up with a belt sander, then (a) your table saw is not set up correctly, (b) you need to buy better blades, or (c) both. The edges I get from my table saw need light hand sanding _at_most_.
What kind of saw do you have, and what blade are you using?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I think I would spend some time insuring that my TS was cutting properly. Properly set up and with a good blade you should no have to use a sander on the edge of a fresh cut board unless you are intentionally trying to make the surface uneven.
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Yep - besides tuning your TS, you're missing a decent hand plane. Lie Nielsen, Lee Valley, or a pre-WWII Stanley with a aftermarket A2 blade. A #6 or 7 jointer plane is designed for perfectly flat edges, but even a block plane (or anything in between) should work better than a belt sander. If it's only for edge trimming, the LV edge-trimming block sounds perfect. http://tinyurl.com/y2by63 Almost any hand plane with a reasonably flat sole and sharp iron should work faster and leave a better surface than a sander. Good luck, Andy
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Yeah, what they said. Spend about $70 or so for a Freud Glue Line Rip Blade or a little more for a Forrest Woodworker II. I have the Glue Line Rip Blade and my edges look like they've been sanded right off the saw.
DonkeyHody "We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit at the curb and clap as they go by." - Will Rogers
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Same problem with ripped edges, and yes my TS is set up properly and it has a good blade FYI. I lock the wood in the vise and run the sander over the edge of the wood or use a jointer. One light pass should be all you need if your saw is set up properly even with an indifferent blade. Grit in sander should be no more then 80 and 100 usually does it. I normally use a ROS or 1/4 sheet sander for this though and not a belt, but a belt works fine if you have a lot of edges to do.

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If you're getting edges that are ragged enough to need dressing with a power sander, then either your saw is not set up as well as you think it is, or your blade is not as good as you think it is. Or there's something amiss with your technique.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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If your saw is truely set up correctly you might want to look in to a better, good blade. ;~)
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