I make some shelving, cabinetry, picture frames, and so forth using both
soft woods and hardwoods. In building these, I do some ripping on my
table saw. Up until recently I had been sanding the ripped edges by
clamping my belt sander upside down in my woodworking vise and having at
it. This worked well because the sander is an older 3 x 24 Sears
Craftsman unit with an all aluminum diecast housing and clamping it in a
vise didn't seem to hurt the sander.
I recently splurged and went out and bought a 4 x 36 bench top belt
sander from Sears, model number 351.215140. You can view this sander at
When I originally had the old belt sander clamped in the wood vise I had
full access to the belt so that I could lay the edge of the ripped board
flat on the sanding belt. In doing this I get a nice smooth edge, and
if I am careful I can keep it reasonably perpendicular. With this new
bench top belt sander (it is hard to see it in the photograph) there is
a dust collector shroud that wraps around one end of the belt that
prevents me from putting the edge of boards flat on the belt. I have
tried using this shroud as a guide to hold the board vertically.
Because the edge of the board is now touching the belt at one point at
the far end of the belt when I do this, this tends to leave ripples in
the board edge surface. I have also tried running the board
perpendicular to the sanding belt with the belt in the vertical
position. When I do this the edge of the belt seems to occasionally dig
into the board and leaves an uneven edge. I've tried using the disk
sander on the side of the unit, and that didn't work very well either.
I can lay the edge of the board flat on the belt by running it at a
slight diagonal so it misses the dust collector shroud, but this didn't
seem to make any sense to me.
I don't see any way to remove the shroud, nor is this mentioned at all
in the instructions. What is the best way to run this unit for edge
standing? Am I missing something?
Yes, you are missing something. The best way to run this unit for edge sanding
is to leave it on your bench, unplugged -- in other words, don't do that. If
the edges you're getting from your table saw are ragged enough to *need*
cleaning up with a belt sander, then (a) your table saw is not set up
correctly, (b) you need to buy better blades, or (c) both. The edges I get
from my table saw need light hand sanding _at_most_.
What kind of saw do you have, and what blade are you using?
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
I think I would spend some time insuring that my TS was cutting properly.
Properly set up and with a good blade you should no have to use a sander on
the edge of a fresh cut board unless you are intentionally trying to make
the surface uneven.
Yep - besides tuning your TS, you're missing a decent hand plane. Lie
Nielsen, Lee Valley, or a pre-WWII Stanley with a aftermarket A2 blade.
A #6 or 7 jointer plane is designed for perfectly flat edges, but even
a block plane (or anything in between) should work better than a belt
sander. If it's only for edge trimming, the LV edge-trimming block
sounds perfect. http://tinyurl.com/y2by63
Almost any hand plane with a reasonably flat sole and sharp iron should
work faster and leave a better surface than a sander.
Yeah, what they said. Spend about $70 or so for a Freud Glue Line Rip
Blade or a little more for a Forrest Woodworker II. I have the Glue
Line Rip Blade and my edges look like they've been sanded right off the
"We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit at the curb and
clap as they go by." - Will Rogers
Same problem with ripped edges, and yes my TS is set up properly and it has
a good blade FYI. I lock the wood in the vise and run the sander over the
edge of the wood or use a jointer. One light pass should be all you need if
your saw is set up properly even with an indifferent blade. Grit in sander
should be no more then 80 and 100 usually does it. I normally use a ROS or
1/4 sheet sander for this though and not a belt, but a belt works fine if
you have a lot of edges to do.
If you're getting edges that are ragged enough to need dressing with a power
sander, then either your saw is not set up as well as you think it is, or your
blade is not as good as you think it is. Or there's something amiss with your
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.