How much more agressive is a belt sander than a low grit random orbit? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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How much more agressive is a belt sander than a low grit random orbit?

Hi. I've never used a belt sander but have been thinking about getting one to finish some end grain cutting boards.

Previously ive been flattening with a router followed by the random orbit, starting at, I think 60 grit at top speed. The first stage of random orbit sanding can be very slow though.

If I were to use a belt sander would it cut down the sanding time by say 1/2 or more?

While ive opened this topic, maybe someone could help me with orbit sanding. Is the best idea to keep it spinning at full speed when in contact with wood? I've just been using light pressure but not really sure whats best.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 01:11 PM
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A belt sander is much faster/more aggressive and will help to keep your piece flat.

When using a ROS you want to let the sander do the work.
Don't apply much pressure.

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post #3 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 01:15 PM
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The aggressiveness of a belt sander really depends upon the grit belt you use. Also it is aggressive if you do not keep it moving. That is the secret with a belt sander. Keep it moving.

I do not know why you need 60 grit on your Random Orbit Sander(ROS). After the leveling with the router it should be relatively smooth.

If you know someone you can borrow a belt sander from I would do that. Try it a time or two and see if it is any improvement in your current operation. Of course if it was me I would just go buy one as I always welcome an excuse to get a new tool.

I would start out with no coarser grit then 100. Put a sacrificial board on all sides of your cutting board. This will keep the edges from being eaten away if you tend to tilt the belt at the edge.\

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post #4 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 01:26 PM
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A belt sander may be more aggressive, but since it rotates in a single direction, you will notice the scratches more than the ROS and spend more time removing them later. Just my opinion.

Also if you do not constantly move a belt sander it will create lines at each edge of the belt. Another case of the need to spend more time later.

I have a belt sander and it is rarely used.

As others have said, let the ROS do the work.

If you are leveling the board with a router, I am surprised you need to start at 60 grit.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses.

One of the reasons I was thinking about getting one is I seem to have ended up getting what I can best describe as little pockets in a line which the router caused (this only happened twice on the last board I made). I'm not sure why they were created but they are probably less than 1mm deep however to remove with the random orbit sander takes a long time.

Maybe it would make more sense to investigate the router sled setup, which does do a very great job overall. I've been using the straight bit which came with my router for this task which was probably quite cheap and might not still be as sharp as it could be. I've seen some bits that are wider and made for the purpose of surfacing so maybe i'll give that a try.

Last edited by Shesho; 04-02-2013 at 02:09 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 03:12 PM
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Any flexing in the router sled can cause problems like the pocket you mentioned. I would check your sled to see if it is flexing, and strengthen as needed.

If you are going to get a new bit, consider a style called bowl or tray bit. The rounded edges should help in the many passes to prevent lines from the router.

US site, but you should be able to find this style in the UK sites.

http://www.woodcraft.com/product/200...-ol-12-sh.aspx
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 04:44 PM
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A belt sander is very aggressive, and difficult to control, especially in the beginning. It's a heavy tool, that's used by letting its weight be the pressure. The direction for use should be with the grain, and on larger panels could put you in an uncomfortable physical position.

The common problem is that the rear roller has the tendency to leave divots in the wood, just because of the operator technique. It's all in how it's used. It's getting the feel of the balance. If you ever used a floor buffer, if your balance is off, it will take you across the room.

Belt sanders take off a lot of surface very fast. It would pay to experiment with one before using it on a project.





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post #8 of 10 Old 04-03-2013, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Paine View Post
Any flexing in the router sled can cause problems like the pocket you mentioned. I would check your sled to see if it is flexing, and strengthen as needed.
Interesting, i'll see if i can improve the sled.

I'll probably buy a router piece like http://www.wealdentool.com/acatalog/..._Trim_249.html

possible http://www.wealdentool.com/acatalog/..._Wing_250.html

though I think the second 5cm diameter might be a bit much.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-03-2013, 12:46 PM
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Let me second cabinetman. Very aggressive is great if that's what you're looking for, but if you've never used one, a little practice on scrap first is a excellent idea.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-03-2013, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks.
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