I bought a 21" Craftsman belt sander and a few belts about a year ago.
I was very unhappy because the belts didn't track worth a shit.
The minute you put pressure on the sander the belt dove inside and got chewed by
It was OK with 100 plus grit but ate the coarser belts.
I figured the sander was crap but lived with it.
I just tried it with some high quality belts not bought from Sears and guess
what they track just fine. Even the 50.
So I found one of the old Craftsman belts and once again they scoot sideways.
I never thought belts might cause the bad tracking. Has anyone else seen this?
I have a 30 year old Craftsman belt sander that tracks like a champ but I
quit using Craftsman belts years ago. Wouldn't even think about buying one
of their sanders or accessories today.
Very slight conical shape to a belt will cause what you describe. I suspect
your first belts were more than slightly out of shape.
Having learned the hard way, I would avoid Sears belts. I bought a set
of 6" planer knives and my Craftsman planer tried to maim me. The
quality control was truly awful. The thickness varied by .008" from one
end to the other. May not seem like a lot, but the gibs could not hold
the knives in place and keep them parallel to the table at the same
You might have been able to track the old bump belts by the trial and
accidental success method. Put a slight bias or just adjust the knob to the
point at which the belt would run opposite the way it does when in use, and
things will often work just fine. It's a dynamic process, with heat and
wear on the belt changing the setting.
The new taped belts are much nicer and more reliable. They don't jump,
Now try one of those LV smoothers, and put the belt sander back against the
bottom of the door where it belongs. Easier on the wood, healthy exercise
for the operator, and, in my experience, faster than a belt sander for
almost anything, including crude leveling, where a jack is a good idea.
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