Harbor Freight - 93593 Magnesium Frame 4X24 beltsander (Rating: 5)

Now that I'm semi-retired, I have more time to drift through tool stores, home improvement centers, and the like.
In HF the other day, noticed the 97593 Magnesium 4X24 Belt Sander on sale for $69.99, usually $79.99. With my 20% coupon, walked the last one out of the store for a ridiculous $55.00

Now I know we all like to think somewhere along the line we graduate from ever using belt sanders ever again, but for some reason their use pops up from time to time, and for me, it always seems like I never have a big enough one to do the job. I just about REFUSE to spend a lot on a belt sander, since I use it maybe 3-4 times a year, tops, but my little 3X21 B&D just last week was able to recapture a piece of redheart for me that my old lunchbox planer had chewed up a little. By sanding it down, I was able to get the critical piece I needed off the piece of stock, but it took a long time with my old B&D, so it was fresh on my mind.

The Harbor Freight Chicago Tool 4X24 Magnesium Belt Sander is one of those tools that I think you would use to sand the paint off that old picnic table, or take down 8-10 coats of whatever off any larger piece of wood you need cleaned.
I know that in my earlier years, I even used a belt sander for a planer, (thank goodness those days are gone for me), but I also know that beginners will use these tools in all kinds of ways. I know I did.

This thing is just a flat-out HORSE. Even with the magnesium frame, it still weighs. Mine was the last one my store had, and did not have a manual, (have to download it), but the website says it puts 1640 Feet of sandpaper per minute on the wood, pulls 10 amps, and weighs somewhere around 15 lbs. I believe it all, having hogged down a piece of 2 ft. by 5" wide solid piece of oak from rough mill cut to smooth in less than two minutes. Spent more time keping the wood stable and turning it around than the actual sanding took. All this with the crappy belt they provided, I believe an 80 grit. One reviewer said that after 27 minutes of sanding he snapped his HF belt, use Diablo and you can run forever. The last time I ran a belt sander for 27 minutes was a Craftsman, when the front roller fell off from the heat and I took it back. I was trying to take an epoxy finish off a piece of bowling alley, so uses for these tools do arise.

The dust collection bag was squirting dust all out like crazy by the nozzle/bag connection, traced it to a simple twisted wire they used to hold on the bag on the inside. Got rid of that and put on a nylon wire tie, problem solved. And it does make some dust!!
I was going to knock off one star for poor dust collection, but after changing the bag clamp to a wire tie, no problems at all, and it only took a minute or two.

Mine tracked perfectly out of the box, and I love the little handle on the side to loosen the belt, rather than have to do the "front roller dance" pushing it back and hoping it catches, change the belt, then hope you can get it to snap back and re-tighten by running the tracking knob back and forth. None of that with this sander. Simply loosen the handle on the side, change the belt, snap the handle back in place, and keep going.

I really went into HF to look at driveway sensors for my wife, and the lathe tools recently reviewed here. I ended up buying the sensors and this hog, and I'm really glad I did.
I don't use a belt sander much anymore, but when I do, I want a large surface belt, and for $55 compared to a smaller PC for $169, this was a no-brainer. Now, if I can just remember where the extra set of brushes will be in a couple years when I need em…