My Tools #2: My Christmas present from mom finally arrived!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 02-17-2010 05:22 AM 2713 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: A very Robert Sorby birthday Part 2 of My Tools series Part 3: More of my new JET JSG-96CS 6"x48" belt/9" disk sander »

It’s the JET – JSG-96CS: 6’’ x 48’’ Belt / 9’’ Disc Sander w/ Closed Stand, 3/4HP 1Ph, 115V.

It arrived by pallet in two boxes:

sander and stand on pallet

Right away the 3/4HP motor and belt seemed bigger than I’d imagined this past year or two (this has been on my wishlist for awhile now). I had even scaled up my mental image, but it was still bigger than I thought:

my hand on belt sander

The closed stand is a very thick sheet metal, and heavier than I expected. It was a fight to get it out of the box, and I even dropped it with a loud bang on its wheels in the garage from a height of about 18”, as I just couldn’t hold on anymore carrying it in there (and I stumbled), but it held up just fine:

closed case for sander

And now, my gift to the world of woodworkers. In all of the past year, I’ve been unable to track down a single image of the inside of the cabinet. What was in there? Could you see the floor? Was it closed up? Were there shelves? No one and nothing would tell me. I even searched flickr, review sites, and other search engines beyond my usual Google. I always got this comical result. I’m always amazed I can find 32 angles of a pocket screwdriver, but never more than a 100×200 pixel, grainy image of a $10k unit. It doesn’t make sense. Anyway, here’s the inside:

inside the cabinet, at last

It’s funny that opening the cabinet was like opening Tut’s tomb for me. The only way to see inside it was to order one, wait 2 months while it was backordered, break open the pallet wrapping, wrest it free of its box, and open it up myself. It has a single shelf a little below the door, and well above the wheels underneath. The shelf is a single, flat sheet of the same thick steel the walls and door are made from, and it is spot-welded in many places around its edges to the side walls. That’s it! Well, it also came with that bent wire inside. That hooks into two holes on the back, about 1’ up from the shelf, and is locked to the back wall with a bolt and washer. This gives you a place to hang the 48” belts, I suppose. Not sure how well they fit in there yet, as I just have the one, which is on the wheels still.

A fun note about the door – there’s a red button below a silver metal panel. Push the button and that metal latch springs open with the force of a mousetrap, unlocking the door, which then swings very smoothly and freely. It shuts quietly against a rubber seal on the left edge, and pushing the metal latch back flush with the door locks it with a click.

Another thing I could not find anywhere was a shot of the wheel system. In fact, I forgot if it even had one. it does:

wheels under cabinet

The wheels are all fixed, rolling forward and backward on mini bolt axles. There’s a rod in front of the back wheels connected to a pedal out the right side (visible in the photo above). Stepping on the pedal turns that rod and presses cams into the rear wheels to lock them in place. Of note, the wheels are hard plastic, so a good shove will still cause the locked wheels to slide on concrete, but this isn’t a machine that receives much in the way of side loads, so I anticipate no problems. That said, because none of the wheels turn, and they all face the same way, there is no turning without some of the wheels sliding a bit. It’s not the end of the world, but it does feel a little clunky. It’s a very strong system, though. There’s nothing flimsy under there.

You can also see in the above photo the bottom of the shelf welded to the walls in spots, and a kind of bulkhead rim inches below that, and above the wheels, helping to shore up and stabilize the walls even further. Again, this is a little tank of a cabinet. I’ll add that the bolts that mount the sander to the top don’t need nuts. There’s an extra plate welded onto the top, thickening it up, and it has about 3/16” of threads in the holes, so the bolts go through the sander straight into threads to lock it down very tightly with no tearout of the threads, even torquing them in with my big Craftsman ratchet.

I got some free pallet wood out of the deal:


I’ve added it to the collection, which I’ll need to process one of these days:


Less than an hour later, It was all assembled in my rapidly shrinking garage:

assembled sander on stand

And here I am, inviting every LumberJock over for a manicure, SIMULTANEOUSLY!

me and my new sander

It’s funny, I’m a lot taller next to this thing, or it’s a lot shorter than I expected. It’s still comfortable to use, but I thought it would be about 1’ or more taller. It’s probably for the best, as wherever I shove it, I’m bound to hang things above it on the wall, and from rafters. This garage is getting so small…

Lastly, I’ll mention dust collection. So far it is horrendous. I had my 4” Delta DC hooked up and running as usual, but sawdust was just blowing out of everywhere as I tested it out on little pieces of scrap wood. Here’s the result only about 10 minutes later:

sander covered in dust

Note how it seemed to go everywhere but into the dust hose:

dust covering back of sander

I actually fled the garage at this point, as the air was thick with dust, and my camera and I were coated in it. I’ll have to see what’s going on. Maybe I didn’t open some port, or close up some hole, or remove some plastic sticker or something. I can’t imagine the dust collection is this bad.

I tried to film me using it, but as happens too often since I found the time-lapse setting on this thing last year, I had it in time-lapse mode, and recorded a Benny Hill movie instead. There are two things to notice, though, which I’ll mention after the video:

1. Note the dust blowing out of everywhere as I sand. Tsk tsk…

2. Note the tracking of the belt on the top wheel. As I sand, it moves one way, when I stop sanding, it moves the other. The tracking is very finicky. Locking down the tracking stuff causes it to track differently, so you really have to fight with it for awhile, loosening, adjusting, tightening, running, panicking as it moves how you didn’t expect, and repeating. I did seem to find a good spot, though. Even though the belt moves left and right here, it did stop in each direction after about 1/8” or so. I’d like to see it not move at all ever, but if that’s all it ever does, it’s fine with me.

I figure this is all a bit like a review, but I’m uncomfortable writing up a real review until I’ve had some time with it, and actually peeled the backing from the one included 9” abrasive disk and used the disk sanding portion of the machine. Maybe I’ll have figured out the dust control by then as well. I will say this without hesitation right now, though: it sure does remove material fast! I pushed the ends of 1×2s and 1.5” dry branches straight into it, and it looked like they were disappearing into a portal. It would eat these at a rate of about 1/8”-3/16” per second! If I need to make a lot of dust quickly, I’m turning to this tool for sure. Well, this tool and a full-face gas mask, until I solve the dust problem.

Until next time, thanks again, mom!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

11 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4651 days

#1 posted 02-17-2010 05:48 AM

Great review Gary. It definitely is a massive machine. While I was in the tool store buying my drum sander I had a chance to see the model sander you purchased.I bought the Jet 22” drum sander back in December and was also surprised at the massive weight of the cabinet. It is built the same as your cabinet except larger to accomodate the drum unit.
Have fun making sawdust !

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4451 days

#2 posted 02-17-2010 06:10 AM

Very cool gift Gary. Please let your mom know that I am sending the adoption papers out tomorrow. I have no unreasonable immediate gift requests, she can wait until it is my birthday :)

Merry Christmas Bro!


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Gary's profile


9428 posts in 4776 days

#3 posted 02-17-2010 06:18 AM

That thing is big. Like to give it a try. Of course you know that “inside the cabinet” thing was a top secret, kinda like the old Mason handshake. You’ll be blackballed for sure now! lol

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View lew's profile


13489 posts in 5098 days

#4 posted 02-17-2010 06:35 AM

Mom always did like you best!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23357 posts in 5019 days

#5 posted 02-17-2010 06:37 AM

Great blog Gary. You won’t ever need a chipper now, just sand the branches away!! :-)) If mom wants to adopt another son before next Christmas, I can be up for grabs in no timie at all…............

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 4407 days

#6 posted 02-17-2010 12:22 PM

I’m with Topamax.. Hey there my long lost brother lol..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View KMJohnson's profile


165 posts in 4364 days

#7 posted 02-17-2010 01:24 PM

Nice tool.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5165 days

#8 posted 02-17-2010 02:05 PM

Gary, this is a nice tool. I just set up the open stand version and have not really gotten into using mine either. One thing I will add is that stocking up on different grits of sandpaper costs almost as much as the tool itself. But this is pretty much the norm with any tool we buy. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View clieb91's profile


4265 posts in 5278 days

#9 posted 02-17-2010 02:27 PM

Gary, Merry Belated Christmas are alway sthe best I still have two that need to be unpacked and assembled. Good review looks like on sturdy machine. Have fun with it as I am sure you will They are great for rounding corners. Look forward to hearing if the dust collection gets any better.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4634 days

#10 posted 02-17-2010 03:18 PM

I can vouch for finicky tracking on belt sanders in general. I have the slower-speed Grizzly 6×48/12 belt/disc combo, and it’s a pain. It seems to get worse as the belt stretches, so I keep it detensioned.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4534 days

#11 posted 02-20-2010 09:03 PM


-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics