It’s been around a year since I finished restoring this sander.
Something about the sander always bugged me, and I spent some time looking at old catalogs and postings by other people and it finally struck me.
The belt portion of this sander is 6” wide, but takes a 36” belt. On top of that the outboard bearing support that connects to the body casting through the table support hole did not exist on any recorded 4” sander or any 6” sander that uses the same body casting style. It has been seen 1 one 6” sander with the flat body casting. it takes a longer shaft to accommodate this extra bearing so it needed to be supported from the factory.
The belt size iis not only unusual, it is unheard of. Working with someone familiar with this model sander and comparing casting numbers I found that it uses early casting numbers, and that the platen (the weird part that causes it to only use a 36” belt) is unmarked. The standard platens have a casting number on the back, this one is blank.
The current theory is that this is an escaped prototype, there is no record of this configuration ever being offered through the Sears power tool catalog. The V shaped corrugation on the platen labels it as an early model as that went away after only a few years.
I find it a very interesting piece. I’m currently finishing a Delta 6×48” belt sander that is going to replace it for day to day use, so this will more than likely go on a shelf for display.
I can’t bring myself to getting rid of it as it is the only known example.