Simple Newbie Question About Belt Grinders/Sanders

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Forum topic by SusanS posted 12-10-2016 10:10 PM 1111 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 741 days

12-10-2016 10:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sander grinder sharpening lathe woodturning chisels gouges

Hello, I am a woodworking newbie, and plan on buying a belt grinder/sander for my woodturning tools. One set came with my vintage lathe. That set is very rusty, but are marked HSS. The other set, I bought off of craigslist, is a brand new, never used set with the Montgomery Ward brand, Powr Kraft. The metal on the 2nd set has no rust, and has a slight bluish tint to them. These chisels/gouges do not have any HSS stamped on them. Anyways, I see a lot of 1” belt sanders from Craftsmen, Central Machinery, Delta, etc make their 1” x 30” sander without a platen behind the area above the table. Then, I have seen bigger disc/belt sanders (like 6”x48”) have a platen for the belt. For my situation, with the two sets of tools (rusty or unused), does it aske a difference if my belt sander has a platen or not? Thanks!

-- Susan in San Francisco

9 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


6824 posts in 2250 days

#1 posted 12-10-2016 11:23 PM

I have a belt/disc sander that I use for my turning tools, and it works just fine. I’ve never used one of those 1” belt sander things for sharpening, but it seems to me that it would have to much front/back movement without a backing of some kind. Maybe I’m completely off base on that though. However, keep in mind that the belt/disc sander has a lot of uses besides sharpening, and is IMO, much more versatile than the little strip sanders.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View HokieKen's profile


5558 posts in 1189 days

#2 posted 12-11-2016 12:12 AM

I use a grinder for my turning tools so can’t say for sure. But, I have a larger belt/disk sander and use it for a lot of things and wouldn’t want a smaller one without the platten. I would think it would be hard to get a good grind, especially on a gouge, with a flexible belt. I may be wrong about that though.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Wildwood's profile


2338 posts in 2185 days

#3 posted 12-11-2016 01:53 PM

You can use both types of belt (w/platen or without) sanders to sharpen your turning tools. People have been using those 1” without platen belt sanders for years and swear by them. Same is true with belt sanders with platen. With a 1” belt sander you will need a very light touch (pressure) when sharpening your turning tools to keep belt tracking straight.

I used a 3” x 21” Sears hand held belt sander (w/platen) when first started turning. Built little stand which clamped onto a bench to hold sander. Had trouble getting clean bevels without many facets never got same bevel angles started with!

Back then sharpening wisdom was get a smooth bevel no matter what you use to sharpen your tools.

So bought a 6” Sears bench grinder, made several jigs to help me toward that goal of getting a smooth bevel without facets. Never got the same angles after resharpening. So after lot of reading bought a Wolverine sharpening jig and optional Vari-grind jig. That gave me smooth bevels and consistency (repeatability) at the bench grinder. Learned to change bevel angles with & without a jig and better wheels to use along the way.

Belt sander versus bench grinder to sharpen & resharpening turning tools all about the person and their preferences & skills. Both methods have advantages & disadvantage. There is a learning curve to master whatever you choose to use! Just buy what you can afford!

Good luck with it.

-- Bill

View loiblb's profile


143 posts in 1106 days

#4 posted 12-12-2016 04:58 AM

I got one of these from Lee Valley and it’s not crappy like HF or too fast and hard to use like the Sears unit.
A good buy and easy to use.

View Wildwood's profile


2338 posts in 2185 days

#5 posted 12-12-2016 01:46 PM

Had hard time finding this sharpener at Lee Valley until found the model number 68Z75.01. Price ($96.45) with shipping did not seem bad but without a motor not sure a great value.,43072

Offer the same advise do when comes to buying a bench grinder buy locally! If there is a problem can exchange or get a refund.

-- Bill

View loiblb's profile


143 posts in 1106 days

#6 posted 12-12-2016 06:40 PM

I gave about $80 for mine. I use it so often that would get another if this one crashed. The belts change out fast and last a long time. The Surgi Sharp leather belt is great too.
My other machines cost more and get used less.

View Wildwood's profile


2338 posts in 2185 days

#7 posted 12-13-2016 01:42 PM

Ultimate sharpener you linked looks nothing like the one in picture you posted. Not sure going to able buy another with motor at that price you posted. Can you show us your turning tools?

Capt’s Eddie,video shows style of belt sander most turners use today. While might not find an old Delta plenty of other brands to select from. He even recommends the Harbor Freight model among others. Think had someone here that uses one for sharpening his turning tools and posted a review.

-- Bill

View loiblb's profile


143 posts in 1106 days

#8 posted 12-13-2016 07:25 PM

This is my Lee Valley belt grinder set up. I thought of building one out of wood for years that would cost very little but never got around to it.

View BikerDad's profile


347 posts in 3652 days

#9 posted 12-19-2016 07:18 PM

If you plan on using a belt sander setup for lathe tool sharpening, head on over to a knife maker’s forum. They are the lords of belt sander use for tool shaping and sharpening. The sheer quantity of folks using the belt sanders, along with their frequency, means you can garner a lot of knowledge. Just keep in mind that the durability requirements they have are a bit higher than what you’ll need for simple sharpening. (I.e. grinding 3-20 knife blanks a day, 3 to 20 days a month vs. touching up a chisel a dozen times a day every weekend).

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

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