How to choose between a belt and disc sander for your project

Which is better: the belt or the disc sander? Ask this question on a handyman forum and you are bound to find nearly a fifty-fifty split on which is better. Some people really love the easy-to-use belt sander, while others prefer the precision work that can be done with a disc sander. You may find that mechanics prefer the disc sander while carpenters stick with the belt sander, but this is not always the case. The type of sander you will prefer is really more dependent on project and material combined than anything else.

A belt sander is really the sander of choice when it comes to removing large amounts of stock from your project. The belt is a huge surface that allows you to get your project filed down to size quickly, especially if you have a lot of filing to do. This is why woodworkers typically prefer the belt sander; it can get a lot of wood shaved off in a short amount of time. Belt sanders are available to cut down metal pieces, but they are a little bit harder to find and many metalsmiths prefer other methods for making straight cuts into metal.

If you need to sand or grind angles

Belt sanders are great when you are working with a flat and even surface, but disc sanders can be an easier choice for people who need to grind down materials at specific angles. This is especially helpful when you are trying bevel a project down to size. This is not a fine tool at all; it aggressively removes stock, but is going to leave scratches and marks in the process. A disc sander is really best for getting the meat cut out of your project; you will have to use a fine sander to get it looking pretty again.

For fine detail work

While your standard 12" disc sander is a rough piece of machinery, you can find some disc sanders meant specifically for polishing projects. These polishers operate at high speeds, so they will literally burn paint right off a project if you are not careful. It is best to use a special finishing sander if you want to get your project smoothed down neatly, but a disk polisher is good for working on really rough segments.

The best of both worlds

A combination belt and disc sander is a great choice for the person who can't decide between the two; it's like a giant version of a multi-tool. A belt/disc sander is usually a tabletop device that allows you to operate with the best of both worlds. If you think you are going to need both types of sanders, then it is worth the investment to get a disc/belt sander so that you don't have to spend the extra money on two separate tools.

Whether you are looking for a disc or belt sander, Sears can help. With an inventory that includes disc, belt and combination sanders at a variety of prices ranges, Sears can help you find exactly what you need to complete your project in record time.

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