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Belts for belt sander

DLJeffs

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The belt on my belt sander tore today (I must have caught it with a sharp edge of the box I was sanding or something). 6 X 48". Anyway, I need to get new belts. I see sets of 6 belts on Amazon for around $22 - $26, two belts of various grits, aluminum oxide. Anyone have any suggestions for something better? Or recommendations for brands to stay away from? Thanks, Doug
 
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Tony

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I get mine from Klingspor. Not the cheapest but they're dang good. Don't get Harbor Freight ones.
 

Jonkou

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Only use them for making a flat surface to glue waste blocks to or easing the edges on new turning tools, they clean easy and never had one fail.

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JerseyHighlander

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Working professional cabinet shops & many laminate shops, the belt sander a primary tool for many years. I remember when the only way they came was with the belt spliced in a scarf joint, uni-directional. When one of our suppliers introduced us to the new 3M "purple belt" 761D, it was a game changer for belt sanders. Something of a novelty that the splice was with a butt joint and film tape, allowing the belt to be bidirectional, without that jump every time it went over the splice. But the best part was a new ceramic blend abrasive that outlasted other belts 5:1. From that point on, back in the 1980's, I've never used anything else and never cared to look for an alternative.
All my local fabrication suppliers used to carry them. Not sure where to get them these days, my belt sander can sit idle for a couple years anymore and I'm still working off the stock I had way back when.

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The 3M's only come in portable sander sizes so the alternative for me is Mcmaster-carr supply. Every size and grit you can imagine, professional grade stuff. I don't buy anything from Amazon anymore.
 
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DLJeffs

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Some great information everyone, I really appreciate it. Kyle's advice created another question. Do you reverse your belts once in awhile? I put mine on and never changed it but I realize now it could be switched 180 degrees and the grit might be fresher. I use mine for rough work, squaring up boards, sometimes making round or curved faces. So probably just get something like 120 and maybe 220 grits.
 

Sprung

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On reversing belts to extend life, I haven't tried it. But one of those rubber cleaning sticks pays for itself very quickly.

I don't have a brand recommendation, but Supergrit is where I prefer to buy my sandpaper from. They have pretty much anything you might want.

That reminds me - I should order some belts and discs for my belt/disc sander - I've just about run through the cheap belts and discs that the seller included when I bought it. They were Harbor Freight ones and haven't held up well. Only using them because I didn't have to go out and buy them...
 

JerseyHighlander

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Some great information everyone, I really appreciate it. Kyle's advice created another question. Do you reverse your belts once in awhile? I put mine on and never changed it but I realize now it could be switched 180 degrees and the grit might be fresher. I use mine for rough work, squaring up boards, sometimes making round or curved faces. So probably just get something like 120 and maybe 220 grits.
Yes, reversing it does give a bit more cut, for a while anyway. Not double the life, but more than leaving it in one direction. As Sprung says too, the gum rubber belt cleaners make a world of difference. If you don't already have one, it's a purchase you'll never regret and they're cheap too.
 

DLJeffs

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Thanks Kyle and Matt. I will save my old belt and turn it around and see if it cuts any better. I do have one of those giant rubber eraser cleaners and use it regularly on both belt and disc.
 

sprucegum

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Yes, reversing it does give a bit more cut, for a while anyway. Not double the life, but more than leaving it in one direction. As Sprung says too, the gum rubber belt cleaners make a world of difference. If you don't already have one, it's a purchase you'll never regret and they're cheap too.
A word of advice on the rubber belt cleaners. Don't let your chocolate lab puppy get his paws on it 🙂 They wear out very fast.
 

sprucegum

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Check out industrial abrasives. I have had some rather large sanding projects in the past and ordered large quantities from them. Seems like they always have some kind of a deal going on if you buy quantity. I think the quality is good for the price. I also occasionally order a 10 pound box of assorted pieces great for lathe sanding.
 

Mike Hill

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Now, don't go throwing the Harbor Freight sanding belts under the bus. I do a bit of sanding on soapstone, alabaster, glass, some other marbles and granite every now and then. Ain't gonna buy the 'spensive stuff for that dirty work. They do fine for that work. And are cheap enough to replace as needed. Pretty much stay with Norton on everything else now though. So far for metal grinding/sanding - have not settled on anything yet as I have not done enough.
 
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