I haven't had much luck with handheld belt sanders.

Which is the best? I always see to have tracking problems with the cheaper ones. I think I will buy a little better quality. Hitachi and Makita both look good. H is 3x21 and the M is 3x24. Which is the more common belt.
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Some of you will laugh, but I like the little 3 x 18 Skill sander. Mine has automatic tracking, and as long as you reverse the belt one in a while, it works great. It cuts quickly, is very easy to control, maneuverable, and less fatiguing. Cheap enough to get 5 years out of it and throw away. I've never had to work on it. -- Jim in NC
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I like the idea of smaller. Most of my sanding jobs aren't that big. It can get into smaller spaces then the big boys. I've never seen the Skil, I'll take a look.
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Had a repair shop order some parts and the on/off switch showed up in ONLY SIX MONTHS!
On Thu, 25 Sep 2003 17:26:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@lostspace.net wrote:

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Morgans wrote:

I've got one, it's pretty cheesy but gets used a lot for small rough jobs. I have a larger Porter Cable for when I want some control and a better results, but the Skill 3x18 gets used about 90% of the time because it's so handy and gets into smaller spaces.
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I guess I haven't seen a good sander. :-)
I like my 25 year old Craftsman. I have turned lots of wood into dust with that baby and it is still going.
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I have both and like both. Probably 3x21 is slightly more popular but I like a 3 x 24. On Thu, 25 Sep 2003 15:23:02 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@lostspace.net wrote:

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I've had a Ryobi 3" by 21" for about 8 years now at least - love it. Sands flat and is usable for edge sanding with one hand - it's built like a big sanding block. The Bosch is similar in shape but for a lower price I can tell you, the Ryobi has really proven itself..
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (BUB 209) wrote in message

I have had this same Ryobi for about 5 years and, although I have used others, would not trade it for any other brand except the Bosch. Tracking adjustment is as simple as any I have seen. The machine is a very compact design.
Like all Ryobi tools, if I were running a production shop, I might want tools that are built more substantially for longer life, but this has been one of the best tools I have ever owned.
Dick Durbin
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I too, have the Ryobi. It's the only Ryobi product I've owned that I like. From a distance it looks like the Bosch. I've used mine plenty and it still working fine.
dave
BUB 209 wrote:

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I bought my Ryobi because of two basic reasons; three, actually - 1) I wanted a 'multi-tasking' tool 2} I needed something that was easily maneuverable in various attitudes 3) It was 'ON SALE'.
Regarding 'Power' and 'Belts' - I've had the 'drive wheel' keep spinning while the belt 'stalled' . Usually with a new, very stiff, very course 'Planer Belt'. I had just glued a 'Graphite Pad' to the Pressure Plate and some of it was flaking off, probably added to the situation. A folded piece of 'file folder' stock under the plate solved that. (I have also noted there is some variation in the length of 'standard' belts}.
'Klingspor' has more belts, and types of belts, then you'll properly ever use. I have an assortment of VERY COURSE to 'somewhat' Course 'Planer Belts' for both the 'hand-held' and 4inch stationary sander. These do such a good job of removing stock that you CAN'T let your attention wonder for a second !! Most of my belts are 80 or 100 grit. About the finest I'll go on a belt sander is 120 grit. Below that I switch to either a 1/4 sheet 'jitterbug' or a cork-faced block.
Regards & Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop

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I have a couple but the Makita 9403, 4" x 24" is by far the best. I used it yesterday finishing up some furniture and plan to use it again tomorrow. It is a joy to use, perfect control and little to no dust escapes it.
Phil
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On Thu, 25 Sep 2003 15:23:02 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@lostspace.net pixelated: -snip-
Then why do you keep buying them?
-- Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ---- --Unknown
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If you buy a Zirconia belt from Klingspor, it won't matter. That belt will chew up wood like you never dreamed possible. I think their claim is "through a 2 X 4 in less than one minute". I believe it. The Ryobi is the most consistant on this newsgroups for getting recomendations. I don't like it personally but the people like it. I think most of us tend to be tool snobs.
wrote:

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Actually, Larry is the poster boy for twit filtering. :)
dave
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On Fri, 26 Sep 2003 09:03:05 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@lostspace.net pixelated:

No, and that's "group's", but you're working toward that position, aren't you?
-- Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ---- --Unknown
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My Stanley 605 is the best belt sander I own. ;-)
Larry Jaques wrote:

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After reading this I realized that most of your question hasn't even been answered. 1. The bigger the belt the bigger the sander the bigger you need your muscles. 2. If you think you will need it for a variety of things (inc. metal) check out variable speed. 3. If your belt sander is intended to do what I do with mine, sand down huge areas of wood the bigger the better since bigger helps make more level. Go with at least a 3x21. 4. Check out amp power. Cheaper ones only use a few. The more expensive ones use more. The more amps usually the faster the rotation meaning the faster the material removal (but more heat).
Now my opinion on Sanders. Bosches are almost always beefy looking. Never liked the design since I am a small person with small hands and frame. I like My Variable speed 3x21 PC. I have had previous experience with them in production and seen them take a beating. The design is good for me. I considered the equivalent Dewalt (what ever the number) But didn't like the design and bag, fewer amps and a bit slower rotation. However the DW is not all that bad. If I had sprung for the 3x24 it probably would have killed me long ago. Yesterday I had to use mine at a chest high position, let's say the power and weight was sufficient to keep me well braced and my muscles ached. I would take a Makita over a Hitachi anyday.
--
Young Carpenter

"Violin playing and Woodworking are similar, it takes plenty of money,
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