Gil-bilt Belt sander

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Blog entry by Karson posted 08-12-2010 09:59 PM 12672 reads 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple of weeks ago someone posted some info on the Gil-Bilt home made tools. Here and here.

Gil-Bilt is an old company in St. Charles Mo. I used to live in Florissant Mo about 20 miles away and I went to their office and bought a 6 X 48” Belt sander kit. I don’t remember the price.

I’m guessing that is was around 1970 that this occurred. I built the sander and used it for over 20 years. The sander didn’t have a disc sander attachment and so I bought a new one and retired my Gil-Bilt. This guy is about 40 years old.

Some people asked me for some pictures of my version. I couldn’t find it in the shop and today I was doing some cleanup and it appeared in a corner of the shop.

Here it is as found.

I took it out into the driveway and cleaned it up a little.

The apparatus on the right is the belt tightener arrangement. That part is also used on their bandsaw to tighten the blade and tilt the top wheel.


The knob on the right is to tighten the belt and the smaller knob is the tilt arrangement. The two wing nuts are the lock for the belt tightener.



The platen is a 2X8 trimmed to 6” wide with some particle board on top. Probably a sink cutout with Formica on top. I covered it years later with a graphite material that makes it slicker for the belts to slide across.


It came with the tilt mechanism for the table surface.


The belt surface could be moved into a vertical position and the three screws on the side were to allow for leveling the surface to the tops of the two wheels so that the belt moved across the surface without dipping between the two higher wheels.


The motor mount is attached on one end and the weight of the motor keeps the belt tight.


The sander never did wear out and it was used alot because I made children’s toys for about 10 years and I went through a lot of belts. I used to buy they in quantities of 20.

I don’t know what their current price is for the metal parts, but if someone wanted to built their own sander, I’d highly recommend it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

19 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7227 posts in 3260 days

#1 posted 08-12-2010 10:02 PM

Very cool tool..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3554 days

#2 posted 08-12-2010 10:05 PM

very cool Karson. nice to see and be reminded there are other options out there for the rest of us.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View dustyal's profile


1293 posts in 3381 days

#3 posted 08-12-2010 10:08 PM

... and you couldn’t find a big belt sander in your shop… I’ve got to get out there and sift through your rubble… 8>)

Nice presentation…

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4152 days

#4 posted 08-12-2010 10:14 PM

Cool looking sander Karson. Old but still looks like it can do the job.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10877 posts in 3021 days

#5 posted 08-12-2010 10:47 PM

thank´s for sharing Karson
I realy enjoy your introduction and rewiew of this tool :-)

take care

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4205 days

#6 posted 08-12-2010 10:56 PM

A great looking sander, & it looks like it has many years left in it.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6846 posts in 3885 days

#7 posted 08-12-2010 11:42 PM

Hey budy;

I bet it works as good as the commercialy made ones.

Looks good.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View SPalm's profile


5315 posts in 3788 days

#8 posted 08-12-2010 11:51 PM

I remember staring at Gil-Bilt tools back in the day in Popular Science magazines. I wanted them so bad. I never took the plunge. Nice to see somebody built one.

But jeepers, this was in the corner of the shop and you didn’t know it? I just gotta come over someday. It must be quite the collection.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4021 posts in 3970 days

#9 posted 08-13-2010 01:24 AM

That’s a monster! You probably had it covered with surplus stock. BTW I am using you as my mental guidepost as I attempt to organize my 12 year collection of cherished offcuts.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Karson's profile


35099 posts in 4306 days

#10 posted 08-13-2010 01:48 AM

The corner of the shop happened to be a dead end for materials. Coils of electric wire, Drawer Slides, Old sanders, and sheets of plywood hiding everything.

But anyone that want’s to visit are welcome.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View lew's profile


11942 posts in 3661 days

#11 posted 08-13-2010 02:30 AM

That is really cool, Karson! I had never heard of Gil-Bilt tools.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View sedcokid's profile


2730 posts in 3504 days

#12 posted 08-13-2010 03:41 AM

I wish these kits were still available, would be fun to build.
Thanks for Sharing,

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Karson's profile


35099 posts in 4306 days

#13 posted 08-13-2010 03:58 AM

They are still available. They are not on the web.

Gilliom Manufacturing, Inc., P. O. Box 1018, St. Charles, MO 63302-1018. Their phone number is (636) 724-1812

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View jack1's profile


2099 posts in 3933 days

#14 posted 08-13-2010 05:29 AM

Rube Goldberg comes to mind… ;0)

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Grumpy's profile


23557 posts in 3757 days

#15 posted 08-15-2010 06:05 AM

Great find Karson.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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