Worth Buying a Belt Sander?

I've got a whole load of decorating to do & the bit I really don't like is the sanding to prepare the paintwork for glossing. I know it's the key to a good job but it always seems to take me ages. I've got a Bosch orbital sander (DIY range) which is OK(-ish) but I'm wondering if the job would be signficantly quicker with a belt sander.
I'm thinking that as I've got a large bay window, skirting board, door, radiator etc etc to do this might be a good time to splash out. However as I've never used one before I don't know if it's likely to make much difference? (And if so are there any features to look out for?)
Thanks,
Michael
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Yes, you can screw it up badly much more quickly with a belt sander!
Evil things, best avoided. If you do get one, make sure that at least it has a a"sanding frame" attached around it to control depth.
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snipped-for-privacy@codesmiths.com wrote:

Agreed. Spawn of the devil IMO. Fastest way ever invented to trash a project.
Get a Random Orbit Sander http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id1298&name=sander&user_search=1&sfile=1&jump 
With a 40 grit disc it will remove stock like a belt sander, but with perfect control & you can go to (for example) 180 grit for fine finishing.
Random Orbit is the way forward - I rarely use anything else.
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Dave
The Medway Handyman
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Forget it,these are not made for the type of work you're describing. They can gouge the wood at the blink of an eye. Basically they are for roughcut wide timber.
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George wrote:

You only need to get the surface flat, and I don't think there's a power tool that makes that any easier given the mass of detail. It's just the world's most boring job
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I second all the replies received thus far. A belt sander is a good tool but it is not what you want, entirely not. As with all things, the end product can be only as good as the materials and effort expended. Boring is short term, quality is a joy to behold. GS
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Great Scot wrote:

Some belt sanders are good tools, but most are nasty crap as well. (and I saw Lidl's offer this week).
A bad one is not only a bad choice of purpose, but it's also an infuriating piece of junk that needs fiddling with every few minutes as well.
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I find my Bosch random orbital sander great as far as these things go but also hate the job, not least because of the dust. If the surface is basically sound and smooth I often use (liquid) Easy Sand instead. Expensive but avoids the dust problem.
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rrh wrote:

Well responses don't get much clearer than these. Many thanks for saving me learning the expensive way.
I've tried the Easy Sand liquid in the hope that it was an easy answer. I thought it was too good to be true & that was pretty much my experience of it - maybe I should give it another go.
In response to one of the other posts - I've got a detail sander & it's fairly useful for the fiddly bits - I was hoping that a belt sander might be suitable for some of the larger areas, but clearly not.
Regards,
Michael
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On 18 Jan 2007 13:01:54 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Hi,
Try a random orbital sander or try (hire perhaps?) a decent 1/2 sheet orbital sander.
cheers, Pete.
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I wouldn't bother. It appears to dull the surface, but rub it with a cloth and you're back to square one. There's no substitute for real abrasion. You can get rubber sanding blocks with the grit built in which you use with water. I think I've tried just about everything, and still I end up with a bit of sandpaper
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On 18 Jan 2007 09:02:42 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Wrong type of work for this type of tool.
You would be better with a detail sander, one of those with the triangular pad on the end. Get a decent one and they work very hard and cover a surprisingly large area with little effort.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Not unless you are well practiced and skilled with one! If you want something faster, try a random orbit sander. The Bosch PEX400 seems to work well for the money.
More detail on types here:
http://www.diyfaq.org.uk/powertools/sander.htm
--
Cheers,

John.

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