Belt Sander Recommendations

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Michelle Fiore, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Fellow Luthiers ~ I need to buy a new bench-type belt sander. Any recommendations? It probably doesn't matter, but keep in mind I'm asking this as a DB repair-person, not as a maker.
    I'm new to this forum and will be looking forward to the discussions generally!
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    The higher-end Delta stuff works well, but I don't have their belt sander, just a 12" disc sander...
  3. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I use a little Craftsman 4" x 36". I even have a spare in the box just in case, although I think I will be getting a 6" x 48" soon...
  4. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    I've had that one for years, I think it was the first tool I purchased with my own money, back in highschool. I never use the disc, just the belt, I also made a removable fence/table to sand stuff square on the belt. I don't use it much now that I have a 6"x99" edge-beltsander.
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Hi Michelle...Like Mike mentioned above, I also have a Craftsman 4x36x6. My little Delta burned out recently and the Craftsman is better and cheaper, although the dust collection set-up is a bit strange. I also have a 6x48x10 (or 9?) I got from Woodcraft--their private Chinese brand. It's a workhorse I've had for about 10 years, and cheap too. I did have to replace the bearings once, though. Good luck...
  6. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I use a Delta Sanding Center 6x48 w/ 12" disc. Full size dust collection from the bottom. Nice heavy sanding surface that is really flat. It never complains. Have to tighten the motor/belt relationship occasionally. I have a 4/36 Delta/Rockwell that is pretty old at home that used to see regular use until about 10 years ago. It still works well without complaint. I bought it used from a pawn shop for $50 15 or 20 years ago. The older Rockwell/Delta USA made stuff is really sturdy. Some days I wish I had the room for the little thing in my regular shop. The big thing gets a bit big when doing really small stuff.
  7. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    First of all welcome aboard Talk Bass. You' have a lot of fun participating. For those of you who don't know Michelle she's a bass player and bass luthier working in the Chicago area and a graduate of the Chicago School of Violin Making.

    Whichever kind you buy, I'd recommend that it be 6" wide and with the disc attachment. The 6" width makes it a lot easier to sand bass bridges and other larger pieces and the disc is
    great for truing up the curve of the bridge. I have a
    Craftsman that I bought 15 or 20 years ago, and just had to
    replace my first part in it!
    I also have the small 4" Craftsman, but I'm not terribly happy with it. I've used it to take on the road to do repairs and to make the motel cleaners upset. However the disc part has started to give when I press wood against it, and I haven't been able to find the cause. If I ever buy another one I'll probably upgrade to a better brand. I'm sure you've found by now that it's usually best to get the finest tools you can because they work better and will last longer.
    All best,
  8. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Hi Michelle-
    Welcome to TB, I am sure you'll like it here! If you could detail more precisely what you intend to use it for then we might be able to better help . I use the 4 by 36 Delta and it works great for a small shop. But it won't provide any real muscle for larger roughing out. Ideally it would be great to have that and also a bigger machine for some real dust production.
  9. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I forgot to mention I just got a Performax 10" drumsander. Great for getting things flat and parallel.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    What do you plan on using it for, besides top regradations?
  11. Disclaimer: I'm not a luthier, and my use of belt and disc sanders has been mostly for metalworking.

    Michelle, what do you mean by 'bench-type'? Generally, I don't like giving up bench space to a machine, especially one that's going to generate dust that'll cover everything around it. (Dust collection is good to have, but it's never 100%). If you have the shop space, I'd recommend a free- standing tool.

    Resist the urge to buy a cheap offshore machine. They're often poorly balanced and consequently don't run true or smoothly. I have a decades- old Delta sander, 6 x 48 belt and 12 inch disc. These are common abrasive sizes, you'll find a wide variety of types and grits available. Also, don't skimp on power, a machine of this sort needs at least a one horsepower motor. (That's one North American horsepower- they must have awfully small horses in Taiwan...) A sander that slows down under load is a frustrating machine to use.

    In this case, bigger is better. You can always sand a small part on a large machine.
  12. Thanks to all for your replies! I think I have enough info now to get a sander that will suit me.
    We will Talkbass again, I'm sure.........