|Review by TNBodger||posted 05-23-2009 03:48 AM||8009 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
I wouldn’t mind having a 6” x 48” belt sander, but like many weekend woodworkers, I don’t have the floor space for one. I have always managed fairly well with the smaller benchtop 4” x 36” machines so when it came time to buy a new one I looked at everything I could find out there and settled on the Ryobi BD4600 sold at Home Depot. I liked the easy way belts are changed by the flip of a lever. Aligning the belt is done by a quick turn of the thumb wheel. But what I like the most, and a feature missing on all the others I looked at, is that the side disk sander is below the level of the belt sanding area. Not having the disk rotating above the belt surface allows more room to work with pieces wider than four and longer than 12 inches.
So I set out to sand a bunch of drawer sides for a small cabinet I am building. I sanded all the pieces and then noticed that there was quite a wobble in the stack. I hadn’t done a lot of sanding, just enough to get the planner marks off the surfaces before applying the first coat of sealer. I took a straight edge and laid it on the surface of the drawer side. It showed me that there was a definite convex curve to the wood. At first I thought that I had applied uneven pressure when I was holding the wood on the moving belt, but that didn’t explain why all the pieces were consistently curved, and on both sides. I took the same straightedge and checked another, unsanded piece of wood that had been put through the planer at the same time. It was perfectly flat. I took the belt off the sander and checked the sanding surface with the straight edge. There was the concave curve that matched the surface of my sanded drawer parts.
Once upon a time I spoke highly of Ryobi products and recommended them to my friends. Not any more. My unfortunate experiences with the AP1300 planer and now the BD4600 sander Has me swearing off Ryobi products forever. It’s a shame. Their designs are good but their material and customer support really stinks.
Ryobi buyers beware!