drum sander.

Any ideas on how to clean the pitch off a drum sander.I have a eraser block which works great for minor cleaning but nothing to take off major pitch lines...Thanx Loyde
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Hi Loyde, Some people have taken to soaking the belts in a solvent like "mineral spirits" and then using a tooth brush. Personally I find that my time and the solvent are worth more than the belt. However, if I had won that ultrasonic cleaner in the last auction.... . JG
Loyde Berkholtz wrote:

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I have soaked the belts in lacquer thinner with great success! Lacquer thinner is the only "paint thinner" type of material that I have had much success with. I roll up the belts into a tight enough roll so they will go inside a wide mouth quart mason jar and fill the jar with enough lacquer thinner to completely immerse the belt. Use the included lid to seal the jar and let it soak. I have had my best results by letting the belt soak at least over night. A couple of shakes of the jar every hour or two will encourage part of the pitch on the belt to come off on its own and settle to the bottom of the jar, but shaking is not required for it to work. Sometimes I take the belt out of the jar and reverse the direction it is rolled, put it back in the jar and shake it again if the pitch build up on the belt is paticularly bad. I sometimes take the belt out of the jar while it is still wet and rub it with a fine toothed brush if I am in a hurry to use it again. The lacquer thinner will break down almost all of the adhesive properties of the pitch if the belt soaks long enough. An eraser block will remove almost all of the remaining pitch after the belt is reinstalled on the sanding drum if you chose not to brush it by hand with a brush. If you chose to hand clean the belt with a fine toothed brush you will not need the eraser block.
Also,belts can be soaked for weeks at a time with no harm to them! Dont Ask Me How I Know.
I keep a sealed quart jar of used lacquer thinner in the shop all the time and do all my belts as needed, preferably before I need them again.
As for cost, I am able to reuse the lacquer thinner in the mason jar numerous times. Dirty looking lacquer thinner will continue to work as long as it is able to break down the adhesive properties of the pitch. I usually throw the lacquer thinner away after several belt cleanings because there is so much pitch settlement in the bottom of the jar that it makes the soaked belt look dirty and is a little more trouble to clean up the belt when it is removed from the jar. I am able to purchase lacquer thinner in grades that is suitable for this for around $7.50/gal. This procedure requires only 1/2 quart or so of this low cost lacquer thinner for it to give excellent results. For me I find it is certainly better than buying new sanding belts before the abrasive on the belt is worn out.
I suggest you give it a try and determine if this procedure is for you.

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Hi Joe, That sounds like a method well worth trying. Thanks, JG
Joe Nation wrote:

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