A nice bench-top sander for detail work

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Review by ferstler posted 12-10-2008 11:47 PM 19501 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A nice bench-top sander for detail work No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I picked up this narrow-belt, bench-top sander at Harbor Freight some time back for about thirty bucks, as I remember, and I think a version is also available from Grizzly as its model H3140 for about $55. The Grizzly specifications are a tad different, but it is clear from the Grizzly catalog photo that the two units are identical. Obviously, the Harbor Freight deal was a better one. The differences mentioned in the owner’s manual and the Grizzly catalog makes one wonder about published specifications for tools.

Esoteric tools like this can be very useful under some conditions, but most of the time they just sit, waiting for special occasions. Those have occurred several times for me, and I am very glad I purchased the thing. There are times when you have to quickly sand just a small spot on a small (or even fairly large) piece, and a sander like this works more effectively than larger versions. (One large sander that I have also reviewed on this site is the Craftsman 6×48 incher, and the vast majority of my sanding time makes use of that item.) Both Grizzly and Harbor Freight offer more upscale versions of this type of narrow-belt sander, and those items include attached disc-sander sections. However, I already have a nice disc attached to my bench-top sander (the above noted Craftsman item), and so paying extra money for a disc output made no sense.

The motor on this small sander is decently powerful (1/3 HP, at 3 amps, running at about 3,400 rpm), the table tilts forward 45 degrees, and the unit includes a dust port that can handle small fittings. The unit weighs a bit more than 13 pounds. The owner’s manual is sufficiently detailed and even includes an exploded parts diagram and a wiring schematic.

At the price (and even at the Grizzly price) this is a fine tool for those needing to detailed sanding of flat surfaces. The only adjustment I had to make with my sample involved getting precise alignment between the sanding belt and the pressure platen underneath. Once that was done I had a workable tool. I am not sure that it is a tool that will hold up to day-in, day-out heavy use in a production shop, but for hobby oriented, lightweight occasional use it is very satisfactory.

If I did not already own this item I would go buy one in a minute.

Howard Ferstler

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4 comments so far

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66 posts in 4972 days

#1 posted 12-11-2008 01:08 AM

wow does your shop look clean

nice machine

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5849 posts in 5039 days

#2 posted 12-11-2008 01:14 AM

too clean to be a real jock LOL nice looking sander just kidding Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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10635 posts in 5701 days

#3 posted 12-11-2008 02:30 PM

I’ve bought a few tools from harbor freight and have only been stung once on a little lathe. That was my fault impulse buying, and it even looked like junk. But the other stuff I’ve gotten there I’ve been happy with. Including the 15.00 dollar furniture dollys that work great to make a machine in the shop mobile, the ones I got even had locks on the hard rubber wheels. I just had to make up something to anchor the machine to the dolly.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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Pete Santos

172 posts in 5463 days

#4 posted 12-12-2008 07:11 PM

I’ve got the exact same sander and I really love it. I was using the 120 grit belt that was on the machine when I bought it and it did a really nice job. It was very easy to finish off the rest by hand with 220.

The belt finally broke after months of extensive use and I had to replace it. luckily I had bought spare belts when I bought the machine. To my great suprise (because I was not paying attention to detail when I bought the spare belts) the spares I bought were of a much finer grit. I believe 220.

I was mad at myself because the results from the new belt were amazing. I could have saved a ton of sanding by hand if I had just paid attention to the grits on the belts.

Curse the belt makers for making them so darn durable that it took forever to break so I can discover that the replacements I bought were tenfold better.

P.S. I use a lot of dense and very hard woods and this little guy has not had any issue. I guess with the narrow belt design it doesn’t require that much force.

-- Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and love.

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