Horizontal Belt Sander Conversion

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 05-01-2016 02:21 AM 3495 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 Cedar Furniture Lodge 's profile

Cedar Furniture Lodge

819 posts in 2512 days

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

Nice job and great idea.

-- "The Cedar King"

View Cliff 's profile


1381 posts in 1964 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


8050 posts in 2283 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


1831 posts in 3253 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


5623 posts in 2907 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

2609 posts in 3924 days

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

Great idea Jim.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Festus56's profile (online now)


3549 posts in 1468 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

Joe Lyddon

10374 posts in 4292 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


2592 posts in 2166 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


13620 posts in 3107 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 996 days

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

great idea !

View Roger's profile


20965 posts in 3044 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


32086 posts in 3107 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

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21973 posts in 3345 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


117417 posts in 3817 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

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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