How to Use a Belt Sander

Many DIYers look for a new sander for finishing sanding tasks. The belt sander has been a popular choice and better for working with rough materials like fiberboard and plywood.

A belt sander is a great tool for different DIY projects that require sanding in tight areas. This makes the belt sander an excellent choice for furniture finishing, hunting, and metal fabrication. This is a post about how to use a belt sander and what it will take to get the job done perfectly.

However, the electric belt sander is a bit different than the handheld version. The belt sanders are a bigger, tougher, and better version of the standard handheld sander. They have been designed for more strength to take on bulky materials like wood and metal.

What is Belt Sander?

What is Belt Sander

A belt sander is a hand-held device that uses a motor to rotate a fan-shaped sanding belt in one direction. This can be done both manually and automatically. The rotating action of the sander’s drum produces friction that removes material.

This type of sander is a handy tool for sanding wood, metal, and plastic without pesky cords and plugs. One great thing about a belt sander is that you can use it anywhere. The motor on the belt sander is what makes it portable.

Parts of a Belt Sander

Before you know how to use a belt sander properly for DIY project, you should know what parts are involved. There are many parts to a belt sander, but here is a breakdown of the main ones.

1. Trigger

The trigger of a belt sander is like the ignition switch. You press the switch to turn on the motor and ignite the belt to start sanding. Then, you release the trigger to stop the motor and wait until your belt is finished.

2. Switch

The switch on the belt sander is similar to the trigger because it’s another way you turn on and off the motor. The main difference between the trigger and switch is how long they are activated.

Related: The Best File Belt Sander For Professionals and Homeowners

When you use the trigger, you only need to press it for a split second to start and stop the motor. With the switch, however, you can leave it on longer to provide additional power.

3. Handle

The handle of a belt sander is the area you grip to hold onto the device. The handle provides comfort and control over the sander as well as safety to help prevent accidents. It should be noted that handles are made from various materials including plastic and metal.

4. Sanding Belt

The sanding belt is an important part of the sander. It is the main mechanism that provides friction to remove material from your project. The process of removing material through friction is called finishing . The belt sander is able to remove material quickly and efficiently through the use of a sharp sanding belt.

5. Drum

The drum on a belt sander is the housing that houses the motor and your sanding belt. The drum allows the motor to rotate the sanding belt for the finishing action. Your belt needs to be in the correct position on the drum so that it can cut through the material properly. The closer your belt is to the drum, the more friction you have on your material and faster it will be removed.

6. Dust Collection Bag

One nice feature about a belt sander is that you don’t have to use it with your hands. Instead, you can mount your sander below a surface. This is great because it makes it easier to maneuver the sander.

Also Read: Best Belt Sander for Knife Making

However, there will be dust created when sanding. To protect yourself and your work area, use a dust collection bag on your belt sander. The bag will capture excess dust while you work and at the end of your sanding project.

7. Tensioning Lever

The tensioning lever allows you to safely adjust the tension on your belt and sanding project. If the tension isn’t right, you will have issues with material removal and proper sander performance.

How to Use a Belt Sander

How to Use a Belt Sander

You can use a belt sander for many DIY projects. One of the most common uses for a belt sander is to finish sanding wood. To use the sander to finish sanding, follow these steps.

1. Choose Your Material

Before you can use the belt sander, you need to choose the correct materials for your project. You can’t just use any material with the sander. Make sure that the material you choose has a rough surface and dense consistency. Your sanding belt will be able to remove the material more easily.

2. Select the Sandpaper

After you’ve chosen your material, pull out your sandpaper. You’ll need to find the correct type of paper for the specific material you are working with. Some people use different grades of sandpaper for their projects depending on what they are working on. For example, they may use a finer grade of paper for something delicate like a desk, and they may use a rougher grade of paper for something rough like wood.

3. Attach Tensioning Lever

When you’re finished setting up your project, attach the tensioning lever to the belt sander. You will adjust the lever to create friction between the drum and sanding belt. This can be changed to fit different needs for your material. The higher the tension, the easier it is to remove material from your project.

4. Start Sanding

Before you start sanding, use the sander in a slow and controlled manner. If you rotate the drum too fast, you can burn the belt and paper. You could also burn the surface of your material if the friction is too strong.

Make sure that you are going in a straight line when sanding to prevent burning and changing direction. This will give you straighter and smoother edges. You should also take your time when sanding.

5. Clean the Drum

When you’re done sanding, there will be a thin layer of dust on your drum. You should clean it off with a damp cloth to prevent any debris from scratching your work surface or project. Use a damp cloth instead of a wet one because it will dry faster and leave no moisture to damage your project.

 Use a shop vacuum to remove excess dust and debris from the surface of your project. Make sure that you use the vacuum to clean up all of the residue to protect your work area, materials, and health.

When to Replace Your Sandpaper

When to Replace Your Sandpaper

When you’re using a belt sander, you can burn the material or sandpaper if they are not properly set up. When this happens, there will be black residue on the belt and sandpaper. It’s important to replace the sandpaper when this happens to prevent any further damage.

There are some other signs that it is time to replace the sandpaper:

1. Smells burnt

If you smell a burnt aroma, it is time to replace your sandpaper. A burning smell means that the paper and belt are no longer working properly. You need to change the paper so that you can continue sanding your material.

2. Rust

If you see that your sandpaper has been scorched, there is a chance that the belt has been affected. You should replace the sandpaper before the sanding action burns the belt.

3. Sliced paper

When you see that the sandpaper has been sliced, the belt and paper are no longer working properly. You need to change the belt and paper immediately to continue sanding your material.

4. Sandpaper wears out

It’s important to make sure that your sandpaper wears out evenly. If you see that the paper is wearing down too quickly, it could be because the belt is not working properly.

5. Is difficult to clean

If it is a pain to clean up your sanding project, you should replace the paper. There’s no point in ruining something that you just spent hours working on.

Where to use a Belt Sander?

You can use a belt sander for a wide variety of DIY projects and hobbies. You can reuse belts from other sanders too. It will save you time and money. You can use a this sander to strip paint from walls, smooth out or repair a hardwood floor, and finish your project by smoothing the edges and final work of the surface.

You can use a belt sander to sand plywood and fiberboard, it is also handy for painting your furniture. You can also use a belt sander to sand wood and metal projects that are too large for a hand-held sander.

For some DIYer , a belt sander is the way to go for tackling larger projects like furniture and cabinetry. The belt sander has become such a popular alternative to the handheld style.

Related Article: The 5 Best Belt Disc Sander For Woodworking

This sander will work well with pre-finished materials and woods . This is because of the abrasive that is used in the belts sander as well as the total power of the machine. A belt sander will make quick work with your project.


How to use a belt sander is not difficult for most DIYer. If you’ve been using a handheld sander, you’ll have no problem with changing to a belt sander. To get the most out of your belt sander, keep it clean and avoid burning the surface of your material.

When using belt sander, you need to have the right safety equipment and stance for the project you are working on. Make sure that you are taking the precautions that are necessary to protect yourself from any danger or injuries.

I hope you can follow this article properly to get the right information about how to use a belt sander on a deck and other project. If you have any question, please let me know in comment box.

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