Horizontal Belt Sander Conversion

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 05-01-2016 02:21 AM 2054 views 10 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have wanted a horizontal sander for a long time in order to contour sand with the grain instead of across it like on my vertical belt sander. I would prefer an oscillating one but this Harbor Freight one was on sale in December so I bought it with the intention of doing something like this with it. I did not want the disc sander, but since it is there and also running, I made a provision to use them both.

This was a design as you go project using plywood construction – glued and nailed in position. I made several designs and decided on this one with a piano hinge for the pivot and a U shaped swing down bar for the support when it is up. The table for the disc sander has to come off when I tilt it up so I made a storage place for it and the 2 wrenches.

The last shot shows the steel swing down lift arm that I made using the location where the vertical table is mounted since I won’t use it any more. It make it much easier to lift the whole thing with an arm out away from the center of mass.

It is made from maple solid and plywood and finished with shellac.

I will make a stand for it on wheels so I can move it in and out of the way.

Here are a few build shots:

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

42 comments so far

View Todd Barrone's profile

Todd Barrone

792 posts in 1694 days

#1 posted 05-01-2016 02:59 AM

Nice job and great idea.

-- "The Cedar King"

View Cliff 's profile


858 posts in 1146 days

#2 posted 05-01-2016 03:02 AM

Jim. By Gee that is great thinking. The amount of times that we need to hold a piece of stock on the Top when Belt sanding is now made very safe and accurate with your Idea of Horizontal sanding. It would seem that you could hold a fairly long piece of stock against the belt….12 inches or so? Would you consider a stop block of some kind or don’t you feel it would be necessary.
What a great tool that will be in your shop. I’ll be over this afternoon to have a look at, it Ha Ha, trouble is there is an Ocean to cross. Great work Jim!!!!!!!
By the way, what did you do to your hand? There is a scratch behind your left thumb. Cuts and scratches are a way of life in the shop aren’t they?

Kind regards,


-- Cliff Australia : Snoring is good. It blows away all the Sawdust.

View doubleDD's profile


5067 posts in 1465 days

#3 posted 05-01-2016 03:09 AM

Not bad at all Jim. I too wish I had a horizontal sander. They are very handy for many jobs and can take off material fast. Nice job on the build, very cool design. Is the reason you built it this way so you can use it as both bench and horizontal sander?

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View tyvekboy's profile


1309 posts in 2435 days

#4 posted 05-01-2016 03:32 AM

Great idea to repurpose a tool. I guess it’s all in how you orient the tool.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2089 days

#5 posted 05-01-2016 03:43 AM

Nice design innovation Jim and it will certainly make a lot of sanding operations easier ,
Got a plan for this to share ?

-- Kiefer

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2262 posts in 3106 days

#6 posted 05-01-2016 03:54 AM

Great idea Jim.

-- Bob C, Australia. I love sharing as long as it is not my tools

View Festus56's profile


808 posts in 650 days

#7 posted 05-01-2016 04:03 AM

Looks good Jim, I have a rigid oscillating sander and use it for everything. Yours is great !!!

-- Mark -- Really we're not crazy, just "Limited Editions" -- --

View Joe Lyddon's profile (online now)

Joe Lyddon

9329 posts in 3474 days

#8 posted 05-01-2016 05:16 AM

Very good Jim!

I too got one of those when they had them on Sale… $40.00 IIRC…
... the thing I was disappointed with was No Dust control port & the belt shield that stopped an easy Belt Change.
... It has been sitting out of the way for a long time…

Thanks to you, it looks like it’s ready to bring it back out for a NEW lease on life.

You did good…

Thank you very much!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View BobWemm's profile


1727 posts in 1348 days

#9 posted 05-01-2016 08:21 AM

That is really ingenious Jim.
Great job.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View majuvla's profile


8714 posts in 2290 days

#10 posted 05-01-2016 08:31 AM

Wow! That’s incredible. I was thinking how to do it if I bought one. Outstanding solution. Now I have them separeted so I wouldn’t need it, but it’s extraordinary.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View oneness's profile


5 posts in 178 days

#11 posted 05-01-2016 08:43 AM

great idea !

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2226 days

#12 posted 05-01-2016 01:14 PM

That’s a fantastic idea and a nice fabrication. Gr8 thinking Jim.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


22690 posts in 2289 days

#13 posted 05-01-2016 02:20 PM

It’s a nice shop modification of a piece of equipment. Well done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16809 posts in 2528 days

#14 posted 05-01-2016 04:14 PM

Thank you for the nice comments. I have already used the belt and the disc!!

Hi Cliff, I wish I could come back to Australia now that I have so many buddies over there to visit.. I think I’d need to stay a few months!! I don’t know what I did to my hand. I first saw it when I was running the metal lathe. Maybe I pulled it across a tool bit. I’ve don it many times when I reached down to get something that dropped in the chips.

Hi Dave, I built is strictly for the horizontal belt sanding. I want to keep the scratch marks WITH the grain instead of across it lie my vertical 4×36 belt sanded does.

Hi Mark. That Rigid sander is what I really wanted when I found this one so cheap. Now maybe I can trade this for one of them!!

Hi Joe, Ive been thinking of dust control as I built is. I think I can put a “hood on the end that might serve both of the the sanders. Notice I have pitched that end guard that makes it hard to change the belt. That went in the trash can as soon as I took it off.I plan to locate it next to the Dust Deputy and on wheels .

Set yours up. It does sand pretty good….......especially with 60 grit on there. I use them for shaping and then finish sand.

Hi Ivan. I know you have some pretty good sanders that you made. You gave me the inspiration to make this, you know!!! I should call it the Ivan Special!!!!!!!!!! Thanks you, my friend!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#15 posted 05-01-2016 04:27 PM

Pretty darn creative Jim,nice work. I wonder if I could do the reverse with my edge sander LOL

-- Custom furniture

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