|Review by rjcshop||posted 1726 days ago||13506 views||0 times favorited||1 comment|
I’ve often wished I had a narrow belt sander for finish details on some of my projects and for free hand shaping. My old 10” Delta band saw had a belt sander attachment kit that I used a few times. It worked fairly well, but was cumbersome and took a lot of time to change over, so it got little use. But, it did the job when I really needed it to. I’ve also used my jig saw with a narrow sanding plate mounted in it for some work and that works all right, but not well. Then of course, I’ve used files and rasps and done it “by hand”, but a narrow belt sander always seemed like a good idea.
I was looking through the Grizzly catalog for a spindle sander and saw their “Knife” belt sander. It was more machine than I had considered, but I decided to go ahead and purchase it along with the spindle sander since it appeared to be pretty much what I wanted and I’ve had good luck with Grizzly. Both machines arrived this week and after wrestling them into my basement I put them together. The spindle sander was simple, the knife sander not so easy. It arrives as essentially a motor and a box of parts. The motor is a double spindle 1HP totally enclosed grinder motor, nicely finished. The sander comes as a box of semi-assembled parts. The machine needs to be mounted to a plate, bench top, or table top. I mounted the sander on a small cabinet I inherited from my dad that he used for some of his equipment. I reinforced the top, added locking casters so I can move it around, and drilled the mounting holes to the specifications Grizzly gave in the dimensioned drawing included in the assembly instructions. Unfortunately, the dimensions were incorrect – about an inch off as I found when I was putting the unit together. In fact, later in the assembly instructions they say to drill the mounting holes for the sander plate after assembly but I didn’t read that until it was too late and I drilled all the holes at the same time. Thus I have 4 extra holes in my cabinet top. No biggie, but irritating as I hate to screw up like this. But, the unit is together and seems well thought out. The finishing is nicely done on all the parts – a good paint job or blackened steel. The machine appears high quality and it runs smoothly. My only gripe is the idler wheel was out of line with the large drive wheel which caused the sanding belt to overhang the drive wheel on one side when it was tracking properly. I thought possibly I had assembled the unit incorrectly and “forced it” when I bolted it to my cabinet top, so I took it completely apart and let all the bolts relax. Nothing seemed to be sprung or under stress, so I reassemble and the same problem re-occured. I corrected it by putting a spacer on the drive wheel shaft to move the wheel outboard 3/8 of an inch. I really don’t like this and I feel there should be a better way to correct the alignment. Grizzly does give advice on correcting alignment, but the idler wheel adjustment only goes one direction, opposite from what I needed to get the belt tracking properly. Again, not a big deal, but actually a bit surprising as everything else was excellent. This may actually be an issue with the belt – I plan to try different belts this weekend to see if the problem persists.
The drive motor for the knife sander is double shafted, with a long extension on the opposite end to enable mounting a drum sander or whatever on it. I will mount a buffing wheel when I get a chance – the long shaft will make this an ideal machine for buffing large parts.
The knife belt sander has no provision for dust collection, probably because it’s really designed for “free hand” work such as sharpening knives, but I plan to use dust collection when I need it – I will just rig up a 4” hose under the work rest.
The belt can be rotated at any angle – as you can see I’m using it in the vertical position. This is a substantial machine – the pictures do not do it justice and in fact I took them in “halves” to fit this web site’s picture format. The 2” x 72” belt is driven by a full 1 HP motor. I’m looking forward to using it. If I encounter anything unexpected I will write a follow-up review.