Size of Belt Sander

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Forum topic by RickInTexas posted 05-22-2007 02:47 AM 3099 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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45 posts in 4293 days

05-22-2007 02:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sander belt portable

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a hand-held belt sander, especially with a kitchen remodel coming up. I’ve looked at several sizes, between the 3” and 4” wide. But the other one that I’ve been looking at closely is the 2 1/2” x 14” from Porter-Cable. Seems like this one would be a little easier to control and a little lighter as well. Most of what it would be used for is an occasional scribing to fit or to rough out/flatten a glue up for a solid wood panel. What are some of your experiences/recommendations?

-- Rick - Spring, TX

6 replies so far

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4308 days

#1 posted 05-22-2007 03:56 AM

I haven’t used Porter Cables new compact belt sander, but the write up is enticing. It doesn’t have the surface area that the big guys have, but it is more versatile. If you are strickly working with big surfaces, maybe its not the way to go. I have a cheap Black & Decker belt sander that gets little use. I only use it for big panels and aggressive sanding. I’ve used some more expensive ones and find little difference in performance. They are not exactly precision tools. I mount mine upside down on an insert plate and drop it in my bench when needed. I’d go generic and save the money for a nice Random Orbit sander.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Karson's profile


35154 posts in 4641 days

#2 posted 05-22-2007 05:26 AM

It would be nice to have a large one and a smaller one. I have a Bosch small belt sander. Model 1278VSK. But it doesn’t seem to be available anymore. it is a 1 1/2 X 12” belt. Pictures are available on the web but not the product.

I’d also like a 4” version for portable sanding.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4487 days

#3 posted 05-22-2007 07:32 AM

If you can afford both like karson says thats the way to go a belt sander or two big and small, and a random orbital sander. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4270 days

#4 posted 05-22-2007 01:16 PM

I have a 100mm (4”) wide x 560mm (22”) belt sander from AEG BBSE 1100(German), with a 1100 W motor. The unit has a variable speed (very useful), it is excellent build quality, with even better dust collection. The unit is heavy, not the sort of thing you want to use one-handed for very long.

I cannot think of anytime where I have needed a narrower sander. For fast stock removal with 40 grit or finer sanding with 180 grit. The additional weight helps to add stability, and you do not really need to press down.

For stock removal, flattening and table top glue removal, you need the longest and widest sander (same rules as using hand planes).

For scribing, I would use a jig saw and some sand paper/files/rasps. I think a belt sander is too aggressive and not controllable enough.

With a bigger sander (motor especially), I can run mine all day when refinishing a floor before applying the protective finish (I did not have a big floor sander available). Smaller motor sanders will probably over heat, smaller belts take longer to do the work.

The final choice has to be decided by; what you are going to use it for now and in the immediate future – how active (woodworking) you are, how rich you are. If you need a big sander only once a year, then buy the smaller one and hire a larger one to the job in hand.

Whatever you decide to buy, buy the best quality (not the most expensive) you can afford, also look at the consumables belt size – if it is special size you will pay more than a belt that is size that is available to more than one manufacturer. Good luck in you selection.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Sawhorse's profile


281 posts in 4680 days

#5 posted 05-22-2007 01:47 PM

I haven’t used the PC model yet, but I have seen and held it one day when I was at Rockler in Dallas. I have the same idea as you in that a smaller one would add to my arsenal of tools and I have found times when I wish I had a small belt sander. I was surprized at the size (bigger than I thouight it would be) anf the heft. The width of the PC is fine if you have big hands like I do, but I can see where it might seen awkward to others. If you haven’t actually held it and turned it on, I would do that before you buy it.

-- Sawhorse - Sulphur Springs, TX -

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4402 days

#6 posted 05-23-2007 06:40 PM

I have the PC belt sander you are talking about, and it works great. Like Sawdust said, it is bigger than it looks in the pictures. However, I find the size is nice, easy to hold, and plenty of power. As a matter of fact, you have to watch what you are doing so you do not sand a groove in something. Of course that applies to all belt sanders.

The one thing I like about the PC is the narrow belts. I have had a few instances where I needed to sand something, and a normal belt sander would have been too wide. I was able to use the PC and quickly match up the pieces with little effort.

The drawback of the sander is locating the belts, and their price. Since it was just released before Christmas last year, the belts are not wide spread. I have not been able to find any other brands that size, except the PC. I believe this will change soon, and others will make the belts for these too. There is too much of a market for these sanders not to make the belts for them.

Karson has a good point, that if you can get a larger belt sander as well. There are some times and places that the larger one will work best, like table tops, large areas, etc. I have borrowed my Dad’s DeWalt belt sander, and it works great. At times it can be a monster, but that can be a good thing too.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

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