Thoughts on a Belt Sander?

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Forum topic by NyTxTrialAtty posted 01-06-2014 09:29 PM 4400 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NyTxTrialAtty's profile


14 posts in 1400 days

01-06-2014 09:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: belt sander sander

Looking to buy a new belt sander:

Choosing between the following:

Porter-Cable 4” x 24” Sander Model 362 #02R71

Makita 4 in. x 24 in. Belt Sander
Model # 9403

Makita 4 in. x 24 in. Belt Sander
Model # 9404

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


10 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


15458 posts in 2425 days

#1 posted 01-06-2014 09:31 PM

Whatcha plan on using the belt sander for? I only ask because I so infrequently use mine I would hate to dump a whole pile of cash on one. I typically only use mine to get dirt off of reclaimed lumber and used it on an end cutting board once. I think i paid $50 for my Ryobi.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View bbc557ci's profile


589 posts in 1493 days

#2 posted 01-06-2014 09:40 PM

I’ve had my Skill belt sander for over 20 years. Bought it as a “blem” from a Skill service center and have used it allot over the years. Sanded allot of wood with it. Been great for sharpening axes, hatchets, and lawn mower blades too LOL

Like chrisstef eluded to, might not be worth paying real big $$ for a belt sander but they are handy and seems nothing else will do sometimes.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4405 posts in 3379 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 10:30 PM

I have a limited view of the new Porter Cable stuff. Having said that, I have a Ryobi 3” x 21” sander that is over 15 years old, and won’t die. Would I buy that brand again? Probably not because of the down-turn in quality of some brands.
If I were to need a new belter, it would be a Makita.


View Nobodyhome's profile


15 posts in 1054 days

#4 posted 01-06-2014 10:36 PM

I purchased the 9403 several years ago. It’s primary use is flattening glued up panels. It’s a wonderful piece of equipment and I couldn’t be happier with it. Worlds apart from the old Craftsman it replaced. Easy to control, less noise, good dust collection. I’d buy another in a heartbeat.


-- John

View bigblockyeti's profile


3570 posts in 1139 days

#5 posted 01-06-2014 10:50 PM

I have the PC and use it mostly for flattening panels, I really like the metal tube for the dust bag as it fits right into my quiet vacuum with the bag removed and collects dust very well.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2103 days

#6 posted 01-06-2014 11:00 PM

They are difficult (at best) to use (years ago I saw an article that said the best use was to buy one and give it your neighbor). Many of us grew up with them though before the ROS. All on your list are the same size so pick the one that handles dust the best and research any comments about tracking.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 2965 days

#7 posted 01-06-2014 11:08 PM

We have one PC 3 by 21 and a makita 3 by 18. For those advising based on a unit built 15 to 20 years ago, I don’t really think that is realistic to think a skill bought today is comparable to a skill bought 20 years ago. Same goes for any other brand, PC, Dewalt, etc… They are all made cheaper than their ancestors so unless you have a time traveler in your shop I would be hesitant to base a purchase on what a company did 20 years ago.

I personally would go with the big name mfg such as Dewalt, PC, Makita, Milwaukee, Hitatchi and get the best value for my money and just hope for the best. If you do this stuff for fun then most belt sanders will be just fine, if you are a pro and use it a lot and depend on it then you better hope for some luck.

That said, both my belt sanders were bought new, the makita is a couple years older than the PC and the makita works great. The PC works good also but has developed some type of bearing noise so I presume it has seen better days.

All in all I am not overly fond of any of the small portable power tools of today’s market. I think they are made cheap and inferior as compared to decades ago counterparts.

-- .

View Ltwud's profile


24 posts in 1362 days

#8 posted 01-07-2014 07:03 AM

Jeff as asked earlier “what’s it for” cause I’ve got both a Makita and a larger Bosch that I used frequently as a contractor in the field but now that I do my own thing in the shop I never use em as mounted sanders are just better. I have a little $100 combo sander that is great at times but I vastly prefer a 48” unit on a stand I’ve had for years. If you need to take it on the road get a belt sander otherwise I think you can do better.

Good luck

View MarkSr's profile


215 posts in 1469 days

#9 posted 01-07-2014 07:44 AM

Jeff, IMHO you are spending a lot of money for plastic and alumn. (New) tools. I have purchased from
Craigs list a Delta 6” belt X 48” w/ 9” Disk for $75.00, never looked it up, but I would say it’s at least early
70”s, heavy as hell, tracks excellent and I use it all the time. I also have a Delta 4” X 48” belt w/ 6” disk, I
got that in my local newspaper for $40.00. That too is very heavy, they are both made of cast iron, they both
raise the belt up 0 to 90 degrees, and they both work excellent, again, I never looked them up, but I am guessing
again early 1970’s, they basicly look alike. I do have to say, both people I bought them from took very good
care of them. I have had them now for about 4 – 5 years and both still run just like you would expect them to.

Again IMHO I would rather loose $75 or $40 buying good vintage tools, then spending $200 – $300 on a new
tool, that will not last like the vintage ones, unless you start to spend upward of $800 – $1200 for new ones.

And the great thing I find, (most of the time), if you purchase a vintage shop machine, either floor or bench model
the old saying, ” get what you pay for…” does not apply. New machines that is gosple, you do get what you
pay for. Today, you find some very good deals from guys/girls who are just getting too old to work the shop anymore, or their health won’t allow them to continue, or in my case, I bought from two guys who were down sizing and moving into a smaller place and they did not have a two car garage anymore, they both sold all their shop
tools. I just got there too late, but I got my sanders, one for the shop and one for my side of the two car garage.

Don’t be into too much of a rush to get that sanded, check your local paper, Craig’s Lists, eBay, and Amazon you
will be shocked at whats is out there. One week you won’t believe the prices, they are so low, then the next week those sanders maybe another $100 more than what you passed up the week before. Believe me the deals will come, but when they do you have to jump on them. Especially if you find an old timer who took good care of his equipment and pride in his work, and he knows those tools of his are going to a good home, the price will drop dramatically.

Check out those old tools before jumping in and buying those shinny new toys. Good luck in you endevers.

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2388 days

#10 posted 01-07-2014 01:09 PM

Variable speed is useful on a belt sander. The Makita 9403 is considered a heavier construction than the 9404 but I don’t think it has variable speed, whereas the 9404 does. If you are looking for a belt sander that will outlive you, the Makita 9401 has been in production for 25 years and is marketed as being ‘super duty’ and virtually indestructible, but again, no variable speed control.

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