Disk sanders

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Loren posted 09-24-2013 08:16 AM 1659 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Loren's profile


10593 posts in 4499 days

09-24-2013 08:16 AM

I’m doing compound joinery. Crazy stuff.

I always thought disk sanders were kind of lame, like a tool you
used if you really sucked at woodworking.

Now I’m looking at these compound joints in chairs
and I’m thinking “how much do I need to spend?”

I’m look at the HF stuff, but there’s some stuff about
the plates not being flat and stuff like that. I’d like to
know what you think.

18 replies so far

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3894 days

#1 posted 09-24-2013 09:25 AM

i purchased a JET 12 inch disc sander several years ago and I have been very happy with its results and performance.

View Tony_S's profile


1351 posts in 3935 days

#2 posted 09-24-2013 09:43 AM

” I’d like to know what you think.”

I think they’re lame.
The three different disk sanders Ive used over the years all sucked. Size ranged from about 12” dia, to 18” dia.
The paper bungs up to quickly and it was always a pain in the ass to change.
I’d recommend a cheap bench top edge sander before a disc sander.
Most of the BT edge sanders come with a small disc sander as well. Make a lamp base out of it….that’s all they’re good for.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3138 days

#3 posted 09-24-2013 10:42 AM

I have one from HF with a belt sander, I never use the disk, didn’t even put it on in fact. The handiest thing I have for compound stuff is my spindle sander. Takes more talent to use too. lol

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View scotsman9's profile


134 posts in 2740 days

#4 posted 09-24-2013 10:56 AM

I’d have to agree with Tony and Russell, edge sander and spindle sander is the way to go. Rigid makes one that has both for $120.00 at Home Depot, HOWEVER; I do not own it and have no review to offer. Only reason I mention it, I was in the store yesterday and spied it. Looked like a decently built product.

(not a HD shopper, popped in to grab a $3.00 paint roller).

-- Just a man and his opinion.

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 3545 days

#5 posted 09-24-2013 11:22 AM

If you go back through many of my postings you will note that I am an advocate of building your own tools. A disk sander is easy to build. Over the years I have had a free standing disk sander made from a washing machine motor with a pulley mounted to a particle board disk, various disk mounting systems on my lathes and even a steel disk mounted on the table saw all worked well for what a disk sander was used for. Of course the steel disk was the easiest to change the paper since you just took an old chisel and cut the paper and glue off while running. And this disk steel disk sander system had the advantage of being able to have two grits running at the same time. Oh yes, and the better quality sanding paper/cloth gives you longer use.

-- See pictures on Flickr -[email protected]/ And visit my Facebook page -

View semi75's profile


78 posts in 3752 days

#6 posted 09-24-2013 11:46 AM

I have the grizzly combo sander and I can tell you I would not get that one. The disc is ok but I’ve really only used it on aluminum, sad to say. The belt come in handy every great once in awhile. I do love my cheap Triton spindle sander which is basically the same things at the Rigid spindle sander mentioned above.

View shipwright's profile


8581 posts in 3649 days

#7 posted 09-24-2013 11:53 AM

I agree with you Loren that a disc sander will make your compound angles perfect. I also agree that they can be a pita but that’s because they have to be understood and treated like sanders not chippers. If you use them to carefully perfect a compound angle they will excel. If you try to grind one down from a square piece, yes they will burn, plug, etc.
In your part of the country you can buy a used ShopSmith very cheaply. They have adjustability and fine tuning options not available on normal disc sanders. Even an old 10ER will give you great control and fine touch.

Have a look at the way I did the critical mitres in my Facets project here to see what I mean.

I don’t think they are just for people who suck at woodworking. ...... :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3822 days

#8 posted 09-24-2013 03:03 PM

I have the large 12” disk sander from HF and it works very well.
I didn’t like the looks of the slightly smaller 10” machine at HFand after reading several negative reviews I believe that is the one people have trouble with.

The folks who think a belt sander is superior are not after accuracy, they are wanting to hog off a lot of material. A belt is much better for fast production of saw dust. Because the surface area of the belt is greater than the disk the paper will last longer and run cooler. But, because the abrasive is sliding across the supporting platen it moves and floats and looses some accuracy.

The disk sander, because the abrasive is glued to the solid disk, is much more accurate. At least it is if the disk itself is accurately ground and the motor shaft is tight with minimal or no run out. But as Paul pointed out, the paper will be more prone to gum up and burn. Also, because it is glued on it is a PIA to change.

A good item to have with a disk sander is one of those large gum rubber blocks for cleaning the paper. Makes it much more useful. HF sells these also, and they work great.

I will say that the table on the 12” HF machine is aluminum and not very well supported. The Rikon 12” disk sander is all cast iron, even the table, and it also has a brake to stop the disk. I wanted to get the Rikon but missed the sale when I could have gotten it for ~$120. The HF was plan B, but it’s been a good machine and I only paid about $90 for it on sale.

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4594 days

#9 posted 09-24-2013 03:12 PM

I also have the 12” Central Machinery one from Harbor Freight and love it. Here is my review:
Tip: once you remove a used disc fold a piece of wax paper and place it against the platen and rotate it by hand so the new disc covers half of the wax paper it; as you do this the new disc keep rotating until you have the sticky side of the disc against the platen and lined up. Then keep rotating and remove the wax paper. Doing it this way keeps you from having to remove the table to replace a used disc. ;-)

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 4548 days

#10 posted 09-24-2013 04:10 PM

Don’t go any smaller than 12”

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4437 days

#11 posted 09-24-2013 04:47 PM

I have a dedicated twelve inch disc sander and can go up to eighteen inches with the aid of my lathe, but twelve inches is and has been enough to do most things around the shop .It is more important it has real torque and does not bog down with a heavy cut.I removed the felt covering (hook and loop) and cleaned it up so it has just an aluminium disc.I did this as I had too large a pile of glue ons to throw away. Alistair

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

View moke's profile


1592 posts in 3628 days

#12 posted 09-24-2013 05:04 PM

I have the delta 12” and have used it for many things. It can be too aggressive unless u use the finest grit. I can’t remember what grit I have on it, I just remember I got it from Kingspor and it was as fine as I could find. I did that because I was putting 45* segments meeting in the middle of a pen blank. (They become scallops after turned). I was told my disc sander was the way to do this. I was skeptical but with a crude jig it works very well. With the finer grit ( and it still isn’t all that fine). It is easy to manipulate and I get a good smooth glue edge.

-- Mike

View bigblockyeti's profile


6734 posts in 2572 days

#13 posted 09-24-2013 05:53 PM

You can always look for a good used one. Some of the older Deltas and Rockwells are very heavy which can help dampen any vibration and keep the thing from moving around on you if you’ve got a heavy work piece you need to sand. Steel or iron platens are better than aluminum too.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3702 days

#14 posted 09-24-2013 06:05 PM

Lots of good opinions here.

If you build your own, perhaps a Shopsmith disk would go on the motor shaft? Or were those 3/4” on the 10ER? (Mine is at my son in law’s place; can’t measure.)

A friend has an old PM sander and it is so sweet, no vibration. I think that would be the goal whether you’re building your own or purchasing.

I recently picked up an old cast arn Tool King (disc-belt) and mounted it on a Rockwell pressed steel stand. I had to add ply panels to the steel to get it to settle down. I think a weighted wood stand would be superior. Vibration on this is a 3.5 on a 1 – 5 scale, 5 being Seiko, 1 being Harley Sportster.

This one has no dust collection accommodation and the dust gets around like the sniffles in a preschool. I don’t see a good way to ameliorate this.

I could do the kind of tuning you’re talking about, Loren, on my Ritter 4×132 but it had to go away to allow Joe’s Jet 6×48 in the shop. The latter, though I’ve spent a few hours tinkering with it, just vibrates too much for good precision work.

I’d look for a 12 or larger disc only with small footprint and hefty table adjustment. You’ll become adept at disc changing; it’s not all that bad.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 3298 days

#15 posted 09-24-2013 07:03 PM

The main part of a disk sander is the table attached in front of it ,if it is not anchored well it will move .

I bought an inexpensive 12” DS with a flimsy table that couldn’t hold 90 Degree while the sander was running ,all it needed was beefier /heavier attachment so I tapped the bolt holes to take 3/8” bolts,added a couple of spring washers which enabled me to crank it really tight and now the table won’t budge, it’s one of the most used $ reliable tool in my little shop.

It also helped when I replaced the adhesive back sandpaper to hook & loop type,changing paper grit is fast and easy now.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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