What grit sandpaper for 6x80 belt sander?

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Forum topic by Jack Gaskins posted 03-18-2013 05:52 PM 2355 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jack Gaskins

46 posts in 3218 days

03-18-2013 05:52 PM

I just bought an edge sander off CL. I am normally a woodturner so it will get minimal use. One thing I plan to sand is faces and edges of small thin boards for lamination/glue up. Should I just use the 80 or go up to 150? I also plan to use it for making letter openers so there will be some stock removal in that procedure and I would like to sand some hand carved wooden spoons. Also, I have read that you should not buy large quantities of sanding belts due to the moisture can ruin them. Is this true? should I only buy one or two belts?


-- USAF Ret. 2006

12 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3851 days

#1 posted 03-18-2013 05:56 PM


View AustinK's profile


9 posts in 2137 days

#2 posted 03-18-2013 08:45 PM

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish while sanding. 80 grit is mostly for stock removal to correct imperfections (dents, gouges, etc), while 150 grit is much finer and normally used for surface preparation prior to finishing.


View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2490 days

#3 posted 03-18-2013 09:06 PM

I’ve got both 80 and 150 grit belts for mine. I don’t think I’ve ever used the 150. Get a crepe block to drastically extend the life of the sanding belts.

-- John, BC, Canada

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3054 days

#4 posted 03-18-2013 09:35 PM

Jack, I live in a very dry place. I have never heard of moisture affecting sanding belts. I look forward to more info on this.

As for stepping through the grits, t really depends on the goal. If you’re initially roughing out spoons, sure, 80 would work.

If you’re looking for speed in sanding multiples, 80 might be way too aggressive. Sometimes I have 100, or 120, or 150 on mine, depending on the project.

Check the platen. There’s a graphite paper on that, and if the sander has been abused or heavily used, that might not be flat. It is fairly simple to remove the old and install new.

As for sanding the edges and faces of small pieces, I’m not so sure you’ve got the right tool for the job. Flattening a face for glue up is a critical task and absolute squareness and flatness are not high on the edge sander’s resume.

I got a tip from Charlie Neil here to purchase my belts from industrial abrasives . com
and that has turned out to be an excellent recommendation.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3948 days

#5 posted 03-18-2013 10:20 PM

Jack, I read in an wood engineering book that maximum glue strength is obtained when the glue surfaces are smooth to the equivalent of sanding with 220 grit sand paper. I don’t know if the sanding belts are available in that grit, but you may want to get near that smoothness for your laminations. Go with the coarser stuff for stock removal/shaping.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5720 posts in 2612 days

#6 posted 03-19-2013 03:16 AM

I keep a 80 grit on my belt sander but I use this for stock removal as others said, not finish work. I have a 150 and as James101 said it turns into a polishing belt. On a rare occassion I use the 150 but I keep three 80 grit belts on hand. Have no idea about the moisture issue that is something new. That being said I advise caution when using this wonderful piece of equipment as 80 grit removes hide very quickly. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Jack Gaskins

46 posts in 3218 days

#7 posted 03-19-2013 10:44 AM

So I will get a couple of 80s and a 120. I guess I will have to build me a mini drum sander for finish sanding small flat boards for lamination. Lee had said to check the graphite paper on the platen and mine is in really good shape. Sander was not used very much. I went to the industial abrasives web site and they recommend only to buy single belts if you are not using them often due to humidity warping the belts. I think I am going to put my sander on top of a rolling cabinet. Anyone built a special cabinet for their belt sander?

-- USAF Ret. 2006

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5720 posts in 2612 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 03:47 AM

I built this drawer with two sets of 150lb drawer slides, it can hold one of four tools, sander, 12” planer, Tormek sharpener, or a 10” bandsaw. All are stored under the cabinet. Each has the exact same size plate on the bottom with a upper plate to fit the machine. Took some time to get each one set up but once done they work well. Been in use maybe 10+ years. Just an idea for you, my shop is small so this works well for me. Not always conveinent but it works.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Jack Gaskins

46 posts in 3218 days

#9 posted 03-20-2013 10:53 AM

Pretty niffty set up. Mine though will have to be a roll around cabinet since the my sander is an edge sander. It has the single table support arm under the middle of the table that you raise and lower the table with but I would like to make a table with supports on both ends and a cabinet underneath for belt/junk storage.

-- USAF Ret. 2006

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Jack Gaskins

46 posts in 3218 days

#10 posted 03-20-2013 10:55 AM

Hey, does anyone know where or if you can put a smaller spindle drum attachment on top of the drum already on the end so that you can have one large and one smaller diameter spindle?

-- USAF Ret. 2006

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5720 posts in 2612 days

#11 posted 03-20-2013 11:36 PM

For your cabinet look around when you are driving around the town to work and such. I found two plywood cabinets in good shape. Tool them apart and made a new cabinet to fit under the tablesaw to hold screws and nuts and such. Cost, almost nothing except for TIME. (laughing) To see this project look at my projects, has other ideas you might like. Enjoy look forward to seeing your cabinet.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 2115 days

#12 posted 03-21-2013 08:46 PM

I’d use 80 for most stuff and 100-120 for final sanding, followed by 120 to 150 with random orbit followed by longitudinal hand sanding with your final grit. When any belt starts to look dirty or clogged, use a crepe block to freshen it. The second time it starts to fail, reverse the belt in the machine.

After the belts are “shot” for wood, you can continue to use them of metal. Good for plane bits, wood chisels, knifes, garden hoes, lawnmower blades, etc. Even many lathe tools.

If you’re worried about moisture loosening the adhesive of the spliced joint, remove tension from the belts after each use. I’m in central Illinois, and they last 5 years or more, and I seldom loosen the tension.

A warning. edge sanders are good for sanding edges, but might not give you perfect 90 degree angles. However, being off by 0.2 degrees is not usually an issue. If it is, or it your accuracy is poorer than that, you can flip alternating boards (as in a table-top glue-up) and that will cancel the error.

Additionally, the wood holds the belt tight against the platen in most places, but there is some spring-back near the ends of the boards. The means the sandpaper will take off more wood in the first inch from either end than it does in the rest of the board. Consequently, for better accuracy, visually inspect that area—try clamping two boards and see if a sheet of paper will fit any end crack. Good glue will tolerate some problems here, but you could eliminate by sanding a board that is two inches too long and clipping off and inch from each end.

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