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Belt Sander Sharpeners -- What is Best Grit?

by HorizontalMike
posted 12-29-2012 10:57 PM


18 replies so far

View Cliff De Witt 's profile

Cliff De Witt

129 posts in 1415 days


#1 posted 12-29-2012 11:17 PM

I just built one of these last week. with a 120 grit belt I get the best edge I have ever gotten I have a feeling that the wheels will just sit there till something needs to be reformed.

Once I got done with the modifications from American woodturner I went back and looked at Captain Eddie’s youtube #122A and B.

I wound up with his version and I LOVE IT!

120 is the smallest grit I could find so I now have the 80 grit that came with the machine and the 120 I bought.

-- Trying to find an answer to my son’s question: “…and forming organic cellulose by spinning it on its axis is interesting, why?”

View Stephenw's profile

Stephenw

273 posts in 1108 days


#2 posted 12-29-2012 11:34 PM

I use a Worksharp 3000, so I have no specific advice about which belt to use.

I have a 6×48 belt sander that I have used to sharpen things like shovel points, lawn mower blades, and gasket scrapers.

I wanted to mention that I have seen 4×36 belts as fine as 320 grit. Check at an industrial supplier.

-- http://www.garagebulletin.com/

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1721 days


#3 posted 12-30-2012 12:10 AM

I have 80 grit and 220 grit belts that I use.

For plane irons it would be too aggressive except for really rough shaping.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1637 days


#4 posted 12-30-2012 01:11 AM

This is good information. I have been exploring the available grits and have found 60, 80, 120, 220, 320, and 600 grit in the 4in x 36in belts. Obviously the lower grits are cheaper, but I hope to avoid buying what I do not need.

My best guess (since all is in transit from just being ordered) is that 80-120 is good for “setting the angle” and that 220-320 for cleaning up the edge before honing. While I use 600 grit manually for sharpening my HP blades, 600 grit may not be as effective on a powered “belt” system?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1721 days


#5 posted 12-30-2012 01:36 AM

The belts will actually leave a finer surface than the grit size would indicate. You are moving a lot of abrasive material past quickly.

600 grit seems awfully coarse for a hand plane. They will cut much more sweetly if you bump that up to 1200-2000 grit.

I don’t know about the size you need for yours but you can also get leather belts to fit some sanders for getting serious with some fine polishing.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7321 posts in 1406 days


#6 posted 12-30-2012 01:54 AM

I never throw away a sanding beltIF it is still in one piece. The more worn, the better i like them for sharpening. The coarser ones I’ll use for things like flattening a plane’s sole and sides. IF the irons are really bad, then they go on there as well. I use the honig guide to keep a consistant angle while on the sander. Then, when i move to the stones, I keep the guide in place.

Backs of irons and chisels: Also get the coarser grits, until they are flat, then I can start to polish the backs from there. it does no good to polish a back that is no flat.


Cambered irons: One of the easiest ways to camber an iron is on the beltsander. just take a circular track as you go from side to side, almost a figure eight. A cambered edge while result. By watching how big a figure eight you make, determines how much camber you make.

Anything else, Sir Mike?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1637 days


#7 posted 12-30-2012 01:55 AM

-’...600 grit seems awfully coarse for a hand plane. They will cut much more sweetly if you bump that up to 1200-2000 grit….”_

Yeah, that is probably why I will stay with manual sharpening of my HP blades. I go to 600 grit and then jump to my 8000 stone to finish these plane blades. I know I am probably working harder by doing it this way, but it sure seems much easier to keep them sharp after the first time, for sure. I never let them get get very far away from sharp, if you know what I mean.

One of my bigger goals for this belt sander conversion is to have a decent buffing wheel set up, and there I do plan on honing my HP blades if all works out as planned.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1637 days


#8 posted 12-30-2012 02:32 AM

Thanks for the technique tip Bandit. It sure will be nice once I actually get hands on with this stuff. I hate having to visualize something I have yet to do for the first time.

So what would be a good starting stock of belts? A 5-pak?, a 10-pak? and of what grits to start with?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7321 posts in 1406 days


#9 posted 12-30-2012 03:01 AM

Just walk in, and grab a handful of the cheapest singles the store has. One of each grit. Try each out, and take notes on each. When you find a winner in the crowd, go back and get a pack of them, and the secnd place as well. Why the cheapest belts? Save your money, and get a dang good honing guide. Either one of the Veritas are good. i happen to have the MK1. No coarser than 100 grit. Any coarser is a waste of time, and belts. You’ll spend too much time getting rid of them scratches a coarse belt leaves. 100 grit, and go out and hog down some rough sawn lumber with it first, just to “break them in”.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1721 days


#10 posted 12-30-2012 04:03 AM

Actually, if you mount some leather on the wheel, it would make a nice one stop sharpening station for most stuff.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1637 days


#11 posted 12-30-2012 11:20 AM

Bandit,,
I have a Honing Guide, but as nice at the Veritas. As far as not going TOO coarse with grit… That is what I was wondering, PLUS what grit is TOO fine? 320? 600?

David,
Here is what the converted sander should look like. It calls for the addition of a buffing wheel, though I did wonder if putting leather on the existing wheel would be doable as an alternative.

V—AFTER Conversion—V (*American Woodturner Dec. 2012)

V—BEFORE Conversion—V

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1771 days


#12 posted 12-30-2012 01:26 PM

Mike, I must be stupid but I do not understand how to use this sander to sharpen turning chisels.
IMO the best place for any kind of abrasive is Klingspor
http://www.klingspor.com/products/index.htm

-- Bert

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5201 posts in 1300 days


#13 posted 12-30-2012 01:36 PM

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1637 days


#14 posted 12-30-2012 02:06 PM

Harbor Freight Belt Sharpening System in action (*American Woodturner Dec. 2012)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1771 days


#15 posted 12-30-2012 02:42 PM

Thank you Mike and waho6o9.
Happy New Year to you and to your loved ones.

-- Bert

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7321 posts in 1406 days


#16 posted 12-30-2012 05:58 PM

Two things: One, I use just a regular 3×21 belt sander..

instead of a grinder. a grinder can heat things up too fast. I can feel ( with a fingertip on the iron) when the metal starts to get too warm. Time to cool down awhile.

Two: Leather belts. Is there a way to make a leather belt to take the place of the sanding belt? One COULD also rig up a plywood disc, adhere a sheet of leather to it, and spin that on the side wheelie thing.

Tip: When running any edge tools on a sanding belt, place them so that the belt is running AWAY from the edge. You don’t want the edge to catch on a spinning belt, and coming flying back AT you, now do you?

Too Fine a belt? Depends on when the law of lessening returns takes ahold. Buy a very fine grit belt ($$) or use a very worn out belt (00$)? Klingspor Has about any belt type you need. You can also order special ones.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1721 days


#17 posted 12-30-2012 06:25 PM

I really would go for a leather strop over a buffing wheel. The wheels tend to dub over the edges more.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1637 days


#18 posted 12-31-2012 02:42 PM

Bandit: ”...Tip: When running any edge tools on a sanding belt, place them so that the belt is running AWAY from the edge…”

Yep, part of the conversion deals with putting the belt on in a figure-8 in order to change direction. I am sure that will probably shorten belt life somewhat, but hopefully that will be minimal.

David: ”...I really would go for a leather strop over a buffing wheel. ...”

Good idea. If the buffing wheel works out less than ideal, I might think of adding/replacing with a leather honing wheel like this one from Tormak:
A this rate, I might be able to have a tricked out system for maybe $150—$200. We’‘ll see. It sure will top the $379 for a T-3, or the $639 for the T-7, that’s for sure. I am mostly thinking of this for the turning tools, as I am comfortable with manually sharpening/honing my hand plane blades anyway.

$42.00

OR THIS ONE BELOW This one is just 3 1/2in in diameter with a max 600 RPM rating. Crap—Will NOT work on this sander. But will on my 8in drill press…hmm…now that is an idea…

QUESTION: What is RPM of the HF MOTOR on this sander?
Scratch that… just found it:
Belt Speed
1150 FPB
Disc Speed
1780 RPM

$31.99

OR THIS ONE: This is 8in diameter
$28.99

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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