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I have an older Sears Craftsman, hand held, belt sander, 3 X 21. Probably 20 - 30 years old but it still runs OK. I tried to use it today to sand a wood base I made for my arbor press (2" x 10" x 24" +/-). It should have been a snap of a job. But inside of 10 minutes I/it broke four sanding belts, two used and two new. All four of these belts were purchased at least four years ago, probably five or maybe even six. All but the one on the sander were stored in an air conditioned room. They were two different brands, B&D and Ace, I think. I had to use my newer, smaller B&D sander to complete the job and it worked without breaking any belts.

This brought back some memories. I have observed that if I used belts that were a year or more old on that Sears sander, they would break quickly. I do wood work infrequently and think I always had to buy new belts for every job where I used this sander.

My question is are there better and lesser brands of sanding belts? Or is this sander just a belt eater? If it is the sander I can easily buy a new one in that size for less than my cost in belts over the years. If it is the belts, what brands will last longer? Hang the cost, a $1 belt that breaks in under 5 minutes is a total waste and a $50 one that lasts is a great bargain.
 

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I no what your saying about old belts but do you realy want to spend big money on a belt that sits for years in the shop.
 

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Age is the enemy of old sanding belts. Regardless of brand. I have the same sander that you have (assume it is the old heavy aluminum bodied sander) and a quantity of old belts. Sometimes one will still be good, but more often than not the old belt will come apart at the glued seam.

George
 

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Interesting, I seldom use mine and haven't bought a new belt for years, I just pull it out and use it when I need it with what ever suitable grit of old belt I have around, never had a belt come apart.

Are you putting the belts on so they run in the right direction?
 

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I have a crafts 4x24 sander that I have had for several years. I used to get most of my belts at ace but they weer easily broken even new. I now buy the ceramic belts at Lowes. They are a little more expensive than the other types but they last a lot longer. I usually wear them completely out before they break. I have used one for 6 months to a year before they break. I think they are worth the extra expense. Toyman
 

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It may be the Sears sander tensions the belts a little tighter but without being there and seeing the sander I would say the fault is with the belts. Forgive me but a lot of sanding belts are directional. Could it be you are putting them on backwards? Some belts have an arrow on the inside showing the direction they should run. On those type belts you can easily break them running backwards.
 

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old belts break

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/sanding-belts-4212/

Several past threads here deal with older belts breaking often. Something about the storage environment or humidty, I donno? Maybe they were made by a manufacturer that had faulty equipment, I doono? They are not "glued" together if I recall. I think they are bonded with heat and pressure, probably like a hot glue, which if subjected to heat buildup or extra tension or both the bond will fail. JMO.

http://www.woodcentral.com/woodwork.../id/302498/sbj/gluing-sanding-belts-question/
 

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The adhesive that holds the belts together ages and fails, it is a simple fact. Even under ideal conditions, they will fail. I'm betting new belts will do fine.
 

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My question is are there better and lesser brands of sanding belts? Or is this sander just a belt eater? If it is the sander I can easily buy a new one in that size for less than my cost in belts over the years. If it is the belts, what brands will last longer? Hang the cost, a $1 belt that breaks in under 5 minutes is a total waste and a $50 one that lasts is a great bargain.
The 3M brand are the best in my opinion with respect to this discussion about breakage.

They will not care what 'direction' you run them in either for the most part as far as 'exploding' is concerned. Your cut will be different and you will likely have to make tracking adjustments but the belt is not simply going to explode if you forget to mark it and ran it in the wrong direction.


If direction is important to you when using your belt sander you may wish to keep a sharpie in your pocket so you can mark the insides of the belts when changing them. Even with the 3M belts - The factory markings on the inside of the belt will be gone long before the working surface is toasted. A simple 'x' on the outside edge before removal is going to last a good while before it too is gone... :wink2:


There are plenty of brands of cheaper belts that will explode in a very short time even IF used on a good belt sander with a fairly clean and flat shoe.

Unless your shoe (part on bottom that is flat and belt rides over) is badly damaged and gouged up you should not be 'eating' belts. The shoe is a part that you should consider as disposable and replace or repair as needed.



You want that part to be flat and smooth if you can help it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, yes, yes, I am running them in the correct direction.

This is not an aluminum model. It is black plastic and came in a black plastic carrying case.



Interesting, I seldom use mine and haven't bought a new belt for years, I just pull it out and use it when I need it with what ever suitable grit of old belt I have around, never had a belt come apart.

Are you putting the belts on so they run in the right direction?
 

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I am going to look for them. Or the 3M brand.

The tension on this model is quite high. I have to "cock" it by putting about half my weight on the front roller to get the belts on or off. Is there any recommended tension for a belt this size?



I have a crafts 4x24 sander that I have had for several years. I used to get most of my belts at ace but they weer easily broken even new. I now buy the ceramic belts at Lowes. They are a little more expensive than the other types but they last a lot longer. I usually wear them completely out before they break. I have used one for 6 months to a year before they break. I think they are worth the extra expense. Toyman
 

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I have used only Klingspor sanding products for 24 years, and have never had a joint fail on a belt. The abrasive wears out first. There have been several operator induced malfunctions, especially when I was learning how to use a belt sander.
I purchased a thickness sander in 2007, the 4x24 belts I am using now were purchased prior to 2007.
 

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I think as rare event as belt breakage is I think if you would change to any brand other than what you are using it would solve the problem.

If you are having to put that much pressure on the tensioner I think it needs maintenance. I think it's more friction than the spring. They get gummed up with dust after a while and need a thorough cleaning. Blow it out real good with compressed air and lube with some dry lubricant. If you bought the sander used you might take it apart and clean it. Someone might have used motor oil on it making it worse.
 

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EPA,Paul?

We're a Klingspor shop as well(posted above,Unisawguy).If it survives here,no normal shop is going to have issues.We grind(sand)exotic woods and all manor of plastics in bow(archery)production.
 

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I am going to look for them. Or the 3M brand.

The tension on this model is quite high. I have to "cock" it by putting about half my weight on the front roller to get the belts on or off. Is there any recommended tension for a belt this size?
You want it to be enough to keep the belt from slipping while under normal use / load.

Please try and do what Steve suggested and blow everything out really good. Make sure all your parts are clean and in proper working order.

:thumbsup:
 
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