Good concept but made from poor materials

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Review by TNBodger posted 05-23-2009 03:48 AM 10310 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Good concept but made from poor materials No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I wouldn’t mind having a 6” x 48” belt sander, but like many weekend woodworkers, I don’t have the floor space for one. I have always managed fairly well with the smaller benchtop 4” x 36” machines so when it came time to buy a new one I looked at everything I could find out there and settled on the Ryobi BD4600 sold at Home Depot. I liked the easy way belts are changed by the flip of a lever. Aligning the belt is done by a quick turn of the thumb wheel. But what I like the most, and a feature missing on all the others I looked at, is that the side disk sander is below the level of the belt sanding area. Not having the disk rotating above the belt surface allows more room to work with pieces wider than four and longer than 12 inches.

So I set out to sand a bunch of drawer sides for a small cabinet I am building. I sanded all the pieces and then noticed that there was quite a wobble in the stack. I hadn’t done a lot of sanding, just enough to get the planner marks off the surfaces before applying the first coat of sealer. I took a straight edge and laid it on the surface of the drawer side. It showed me that there was a definite convex curve to the wood. At first I thought that I had applied uneven pressure when I was holding the wood on the moving belt, but that didn’t explain why all the pieces were consistently curved, and on both sides. I took the same straightedge and checked another, unsanded piece of wood that had been put through the planer at the same time. It was perfectly flat. I took the belt off the sander and checked the sanding surface with the straight edge. There was the concave curve that matched the surface of my sanded drawer parts.

Once upon a time I spoke highly of Ryobi products and recommended them to my friends. Not any more. My unfortunate experiences with the AP1300 planer and now the BD4600 sander Has me swearing off Ryobi products forever. It’s a shame. Their designs are good but their material and customer support really stinks.

Ryobi buyers beware!

View TNBodger's profile


7 posts in 4259 days

5 comments so far

View Emeralds's profile


143 posts in 4363 days

#1 posted 05-23-2009 04:54 AM

Rigid and Ryobi are owned by the same consortium and although Rigid is certainly not a high-end manufacturer they consistently turn in products that get high marks as much for their economy as for their functionality. Perhaps you would have better luck with their unit? Since you purchased your unit at HD it should be no trouble to return it and use the credit towards the RIGID unit. Just a thought.

Thanks for the review.

-- JMP

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 4554 days

#2 posted 05-24-2009 07:08 AM

I had one of these for a wile, I liked all the features that you liked but it was a little underpowered for what I was trying to do, and the 4×36 inch belt was to small, I sold mine on craigslist for almost what I paid for it and bought the HF 6×48. I did not notice a convex surface on the one I had. Maybe take a straight edge with you to HD and see if they are all that way.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View a1Jim's profile


118079 posts in 4378 days

#3 posted 05-24-2009 07:24 AM

Ryobi is a low cost tool so sometimes you get low end results . I have bought a few low end tools and some times they work out and some times they don’t . Sorry about this one not working out.


View willy3486's profile


78 posts in 4198 days

#4 posted 05-24-2009 06:27 PM

I have a old Ryobi rechargable drill that is old. It has always worked great for me. But as mentioned I am not fond of the quality today in many tools. Most of the tools I get are older stuff I redo. I prefer post 20s to the pre 60s. I enjoy redoing them more and using them. For years I noticed stuff getting cheaper so more could be sold, now I think we are at the bottom of that thought. Hopefully the quality will start going up. Here is what I do sometimes with tools. If I see a tool I don’t have one like and curious I try to find the cheapest one out there to try out. I do that to see if I actually will use one. The last couple of tools I bought was a biscut joiner and a reciprocating saw. The biscut joiner was at a traveling tool show and the saw was at harbor freight. I saw right away with the joiner I will use one a lot so I am keeping my eyes open for a sale on refurbished ones or a older one locally. As far as the saw I can say I was suprised by it. I use it a lot to cut everything from steel and wood. I would have expected to have worn it out by now but it really has been a good workhorse. Sometimes I find the cheaper stuff is good and some is bad like jim said . I do intend to get a good quality ones of these tools when I get a new one.

View Rick's profile


367 posts in 4011 days

#5 posted 12-17-2009 08:29 PM

I have one of these. I’ve never used it for trying to sand a surface flat though. It’s WAY too easy to put uneven pressure on a piece. I either use a random orbital sander or my drum sander to remove machine marks. I love my little unit but it would be a Beautiful little guy if it had variable speed. My next belt sander will have variable speed.
I use mine on wood and metal. I sharpen my lawnmower blade with 80grit and it’s better than using a bench grinder.
I mounted this machine and my little oscillating spindal sander to 3/4inch plywood with 4 wheels under that. I store the combo under the wing of my table saw. I young enough still and don’t mind bending down to use those two tools.

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