by Staff Writer
A belt sander allows the operator to quickly sand the surface of a piece of wood with a minimum amount of physical effort. Because the belt sander is a power tool and the belt moves at such high speeds, it does not require as much pressure to strip off the top layer of the wood as it would if you were using a sheet of sandpaper. Belt sanders, like all power tools, are especially important for large home improvement projects, like building a deck or refinishing cabinets, because they can sand a lot of surface area very quickly.
Attach the belt sander's dust collection bag. Be sure it is locked securely in place before using the sander or you may be hit with a high-pressure blast of sawdust.
Select the proper type of sandpaper for your job. Once you have the proper sandpaper, you can load the roll into the belt sander. Use a heavy grain for rough sanding and move up to medium grain or fine grain for more delicate finishing jobs.
Prepare your work area by removing any loose items or tools that could get caught on the sander's belt. Make sure the item you will be sanding is either clamped down or is heavy enough that it will not move.
Depress the power button, and then place the belt directly on the surface of the item you are sanding. Gently push the sander forward along the wood's grain so that it evenly sands the surface. Do not stop in one place while sanding because this will make a low spot in the item's surface. When you reach the end of the wood, keep moving the sander straight off so it does not round off the edge.
Release the power button to turn the belt sander off. Inspect your project for any rough spots in the wood that need to be touched up. Use the belt sander to finish off these rough spots or smooth them out manually with a piece of sandpaper.
Always wear proper safety equipment when operating a belt sander. This includes safety goggles, work gloves and a face mask to prevent you from inhaling the sawdust produced by the sander. Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry that could get caught in the belt mechanism while it is moving.