opinions of Makita belt sander

First off, I've been getting by for quite a while without a belt sander, so I don't have any practical experience owning a belt sander to know what features I like or not. I was in HD today and noticed they have the Makita 9910X belt sander on sale for $59. I'm curious if anyone has an opinion from personal use or by looking a the specs (http://www.makita.com/menu.php?pg=product_det&tag 10). They also had the Porter-Cable 352VS for $99. The Makita is a 3"x18" single speed and the P-C is 3"x21" variable speed. Both have dust collection. Any insight is appreciated.
todd
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"todd" wrote

It really depends upon what your need is.
If don't have an overriding specific need and just want to have a belt sander around for the odd job on face frames, leveling panel glue-ups, scribing, etc, the Porter Cable 371K is the one I would choose.
http://www.deltaportercable.com/Products/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID 062
I personally like smallness/portability/ability to use one handed/or clamp it in a vise ... IME, it will do everything the big boys do and it really excels at scribing face frames to walls, etc.
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rec.woodworking:

Since I use mine mostly at job sites, my requirements are:
* a flat top so it will lie on the ground upside down * a locking trigger so I can use it while it's upside down on the ground
Lots of people say it's dangerous, but what are you gonna do when you need to flatten the edge of a brass door stop, for example. I put it in a vise if I can.
Other than those features, I want it light and sturdy. The ages-old Craftsman with the cast-iron case I inherited from my father-in-law is great, but too heavy to hold over my head. (Why is the spot I have to work on *always* over my head?)
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I bought my Makita 3x18 2 years ago on ebay. It was a refurbished model for $49. Its small and light weight and kicks ass. The belt stays in one place. The dust bag actually works (compared to my craftsman) and with a few wraps of tape, my vacumn attatches quite nicely. I haven't used the craftsman since. Lou
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Lou wrote:

Is it really a 3" wide model including the housing or a 4" unit w/ 3" rollers?
I bought a 3x24 and was sorely disappointed in it was the latter as appeared to be all 3x24's currently available afaict. I really miss the _old_ B&D w/ the between-the-rollers motor that made them very well balanced w/ low cog. Unfortunately, the drive gear was a weak point and parts are no longer available. :(
That complaint/question would be my comment to OP on any he looks at--having a 3" roller in a machine made for 4" is an abomination. Maybe the 18" guys, being smaller weren't cut down in the same fashion.
I'd seriously look at the new 3-roller B&D if it there were a 24" model of it but I'm loaded up on 3x24 and not going to have to stock multiple belt sizes...
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dpb wrote:

The one I'm complaining of is Makita but otomh I couldn't say model number. One reason I chose it (w/o benefit of having local distributors to check, unfortunately) was the lower profile--I personally detest the P-C "high-hat" model as being terribly poorly balanced. In that regard this is ok, tracks well, the V-S is ok, but not a real major benefit at least as I use a bs. Dust collection is pretty decent w/ the bagger; I've never tried vacuum as the trouble of messing w/ it and the hose in the way is more far more of a pita than any possible benefit imo. I do find the longer cord useful yet for some reason it is _always_ getting in the way--a little stiffer cord would probably make it less susceptible to being underfoot and getting caught up by the belt as frequently as this one seems to...
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I have an older SEARS 3x24. I would it had a variable speed as I can recall situations in wich slower sanding would have made a job easier to "do right."
I am intrigued by the new "sled" profile models with a big rear "wheel" and a small "front wheel" - has anyone bought one of these as a replacement and found it a good/bad decision?
PS: Size Matters. I bought the Sears 12" Band Saw without understnading that it used a non-standard blade. Several nice-sounding blade saw descriptions left my mouth watering and my hands empty. With the Belt Sander, the issue was both better availability and more reasonably-priced belts with a "standard size device. Sears has taught me to look to available accessories before committing to a product - anyone want a 12" tilting-head band saw?.
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Hoosierpopi wrote:

I don't see the size itself as a problem w/ either -- you can have any bandsaw blade made to length from any number of online sources at little to no significant additional cost.
Similarly for belts -- I've seen no belt sander that Klingspor doesn't have a "bargain box" of belts for -- my point was having a 3x24, I don't want to switch for two reasons--first, it is a good compromise between small and large being adequately large for everything _I_ want a belt sander for yet not excessively large (heavy). Second, having it, I do not want to have to keep two sizes of belts on hand simply owing to switching to another sander.
I'm not sure what you're referring to as a "sled" profile--I mentioned earlier the three-wheel version B&D has introduced and would seriously consider it if it were 3x24 instead of 21. If that's what you're meaning, I've not gotten farther than that level of consideration owing to item (2) above.
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J. Clarke wrote: ...

I'd not even consider that for the way I use one.
What's the purpose?
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dpb wrote:

I have no idea. Supposedly they can get into "hard to reach areas". I can't imagine any such hard to reach areas that one would want to go after with a belt sander but to each his own.
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What size is the blade?
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I have a Makita 3 x 21 that I love: paper tracks perfectly every time over the couple years I've had it. I often turn it upside down and clamp it to the table saw top or bench top to use it for small pieces; works great. Nice, flat top. I'd add to that list above, for the shop: * variable speed; great for when you can't avoid sanding something with a finish still present. * decent sized dust bag, else you're emptying it every few minutes with rough work. * 2 Hand operation is convenient and comfortable to you. Can be a big problem sometimes, especially if you're left handed. * Check that the belt size you'll need is readily available. 3 x 21 is pretty common but if you end up with a 3.6" x 22.375" (making that up of course), paper will not only be hard to find but expensive. I had a 4 x 24 sander once that I loved too, but it eventually for some reason I was never able to fix, started to mistrack and after a couple years wouldn't hold a track for more than a few minutes at a time.
I've seen some good looking DeWalts that actually might be better than mine from a bench-use perspective, but no experience otherwise. Front handle/body set perfectly flat on a surface; much easier to clamp.
Personal opinion: Don't put them in a vice. I know many do, but it's easy for the novice to crack the housing or damage something on it; I've seen it happen. Another guy I know got his shirt bottom caught in the belt and it gave him a really nice belly-burn until he could get to the release switch to stop it. Of course, by that time it'd stopped turning and was just heating up<g>.
My 2
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I'm an amateur woodworker, but I've had my Makita belt sander for 20 years. I've used it to sand/refinish our mahogany deck severals times. I've had to replace the metal plate under the belt once (I upgraded to a graphite/low friction plate).
No problems at all.
The newer model doesn't have the upper square handle. I found this handle great as I could clamp the belt sander upside down in my bench and use it as a stationary sander.
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I used to swear by the PC's from a long time ago and have seen them go down in reliability. To be frank, the 3 x 21 now suck canalwater. Before that, I used 4 x 24 Milwaukees, but I'm not that tough anymore <G> Man those were more like floor sanders. Incredibly tough, butexpensive. I switched over to Makita 3x24 and haven't had a problem. I have had to replace the pressure pads(platens) but considering the amount of use (read: abuse) that is hardly a point worth mentioning.
I will buy more Makitas in the future. (Everybody has their niche tools.)
Years ago, I had a 3 x 21 Bosch, in-line, which was green. Green Bosch and blue Bosch. Mine was green and a lot cheaper. It looked an awful lot like today's Ryobi. I loved the feel and agility of the thing, but it shit the bed rather quickly.
r
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"Robatoy" wrote
Years ago, I had a 3 x 21 Bosch, in-line, which was green. Green Bosch and blue Bosch. Mine was green and a lot cheaper. It looked an awful lot like today's Ryobi. I loved the feel and agility of the thing, but it shit the bed rather quickly.
Not that they don' exist here, but I've yet to see a green Bosch in the US myself, but that was about all they had the last time I was in the UK looking at tools.
My SIL in Sheffield, UK thinks of Bosch like we do of Home Depot crap, but he'd never seen a blue Bosch till he visited here a few years back.
I'd be forced to conclude that there is a big difference in quality between the blue and green Bosch lines?
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as big a difference as bushings vs bearings and plastic vs metal gearing. The green one did not last. They had the ergonomics (for me at least) right. It was, however, Swiss made. r
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