Introduction To The Belt Sander

Introduction To The Belt Sander

There are many different types of tools that can be used for sanding down materials. However, each of these tools has its own uses and advantages. The belt sander is a common workshop tool that can be used in a variety of different ways but is especially good for very rough surfaces. In this guide, we will be giving you an introduction to this tool and how to safely use it.

We also have a great guide to the best belt sanders which you may like to view before going out and purchasing one yourself.

What Is A Belt Sander Used For?

If you have never used a belt sander, you may be unsure as to whether this is the right equipment for your needs. If you regularly work with very rough materials then a belt sander may be right for you as its intense power will make light work of the most demanding jobs.

The belt sander is also frequently used for things like rounding off edges and removing larger chunks of excess material. But one of the major advantages of the belt sander over other kinds of sander is that its motions means it can be used with the grain of the wood without compromising the final results.

Can I use a belt sander on hardwood floors?

 If you have a larger job such as completing and fitting a hardwood floor, you may need a more intricate sander in the later stages of installation. However, to begin with, a belt sander is the ideal tool owing to its ability to remove much larger portions of wood at once.

If you are refinishing an existing hardwood floor to get it looking like new, a belt sander will be one of your best choices in terms of convenience. Again, this owing to the tools ability to work larger areas but its power will mean that removing deep scuffs or scratches will be made much easier.

How To Use A Belt Sander

Before you can confidently use a belt sander, you must familiarise yourself with this type of tool. While this may be one of the best ways to avoid spending wasted hours manually sanding down material, there is a knack to using the tool. Let’s take a look at our handy step by step guide to get you started.

  • The first thing you will need to do is choose your belt. Typically, belts with a coarse-grit are best for the beginning of a project as these will remove much more material and get the surface feeling much smoother. Once you have achieved your desired level, you can then switch to a finer grit to give the finishing touches.
  • When you are sanding material, it must be clamped otherwise you will find that it simply moves around when you are trying to work on it. Not only will this mess up the final result, but it could also pose a safety risk.
  • When you are ready to go, turn the sander on and wait a few seconds before taking it to the wood. This will allow the sander to reach its full speed.
  • Move the belt sander towards the material and slowly bring it down onto it, first applying the rear end of the belt and moving it down until the whole thing is on the material.
  • When moving the belt sander along your material, you don’t need to apply a huge amount of pressure, but you will need to be firm. It is important to find the correct balance without pressing down too hard or this could cause the belt to malfunction. Furthermore, you will need to make sure that your motions are long, slow, and controlled if you want to achieve the best results.
  • If you are sanding a lot of material, try to avoid doing everything and only checking your work at the end. Take short pauses throughout the sanding process to check your work and make sure that you are on the way to a finish that you are satisfied with. Also, by doing this, you will be much more easily able to rectify mistakes.
  • When you are done, gradually ease the belt sander away from the material and turn off the power. Wait for the belt to stop running and you can now change the grit to something much finer should you need this to finish off the project.

What Are The Hazards Of A Belt Sander?

All power tools come with a risk of accidents but using the tool safely is the best way to avoid this. When we look at belt sander safety, one of the first questions we should ask is what precautions should be taken when using s disc belt sander?

There are a lot of hazards associated with using a belt sander but most commonly, injuries are caused by the skin making contact with the machine which can cause abrasions and lacerations, some of which can be very serious. Always make sure that you keep your hands well out of the way of the sanding surface when it is moving.

However, there is also a risk of lung damage from prolonged use of this type of equipment after inhaling significant amounts of sawdust. It is also not uncommon for loose items such as hair, jewellery or clothing to get caught in the belt sander. Both of these hazards can be avoided by wearing the correct safety gear such as a mask and by taking off jewellery, tying up loose hair and wearing tight-fitting clothing.

Eye injuries are not unheard of from using belt sanders as small particles of dust or chunks of the material may fly off and embed in the eye. Of course, it doesn’t take us to tell you that wearing protective eye equipment is the best way to prevent this.

Why should the belt sander be kept moving?

 You may have heard that the belt sander should always be kept moving when in use. Quite often, novice handymen and women will find that their stock gets caught on the belt sander if it is not being consistently moved over the material. This can also cause an uneven finish since the belt sander will quite quickly remove a lot of material at once which can be difficult to rectify.

What Can I Use Instead Of A Belt Sander?

A belt sander is an ideal tool for some jobs, but there may be times when it is not quite as suited to the task. The good news is that there are many different types of tools that are designed for similar purposes. Understanding how each of them works will allow you to make an informed decision on which is right.

Belt Sander vs Orbital Sander

Whereas a belt sander features one continuously spinning piece of sandpaper, an orbital sander uses disc-shaped paper on a rotating head. These are much better suited for smaller jobs where you need to be more precise. They are also excellent for getting into tight spaces.

Belt Sander vs Planer

A belt sander is designed to remove a finish from a piece of wood whereas a planer is a tool that is used to remove slivers of wood every time it is passed over the surface. For this reason, a planer is ideal when you are trying to achieve a very level surface.

Belt Sander vs Disc Sander

The disc sander is similar to the orbital sander in that it works using disc-shaped pieces of sandpaper. These can be handheld tools but are typically mounted and the material is brought to the sander rather than the other way around. A disc sander is great for smaller pieces of wood or working on edges.


While there are various ways to sand a piece of wood and level out its surface, the belt sander is one of the most popular tools for much larger jobs. They are particularly good for working on wooden floors and while they are relatively easy to use, it may take a little trial and error to get it spot on. Frequently stopping to check your work will help to ensure that you avoid mistakes. It is also imperative to put safety first and consider the hazards of a belt sander and follow the appropriate safety advice.

Introduction To The Belt Sander

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