What's the highest useful grit on a stationary belt sander?

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Forum topic by Picklehead posted 11-02-2014 11:06 AM 9057 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1055 posts in 2895 days

11-02-2014 11:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question sander sanding grit belt highest belt sander disk disc

I just picked up a combo belt/disk sander off CL. (9 inch disk + 6×48 belt, 1 hp motor, weight 93 pounds, it’s a beast). It came with 80 and 100 grit belts and disks. I’m going to order some higher grits, but I’m not sure how high to go. I’ll mainly be using it for stock removal and shaping, so the 80 and 100 will get the most use. (I’m surprised how smooth the finish is with 100 grit, maybe the dynamics or the paper are different from regular sanding/sandpaper). I might use higher grits for smoothing out bandsaw boxes and things like that, but it seems that the higher grits might clog faster, wear faster, or just be generally useless. Thanks for your thoughts.

-- Quote from ebay tool listing: " Has nicks and dings wear and tear dust and dirt rust and pitting but in good working condition"

27 replies so far

View Tony_S's profile (online now)


1391 posts in 4048 days

#1 posted 11-02-2014 12:00 PM

I’ve got two edge sanders in the shop, both 106×6. One oscillates the other doesn’t.
First and foremost importance is the guy standing in front of the sander…..I’ve seen guys burn out a 40 grit belt in 5 minutes, others, a 150 grit belt will last weeks.
It all depends on what your sanding and how your sanding it, but for ‘general purpose’ use, I don’t order anything better than 120 grit. 150 for light use sanding.
Cleaning the belt on a regular basis (before it’s plugged) makes a big difference as well.

For what it’s worth, in a shop full of people who have a tendency to abuse the hell out of edge sander belts, Klingspor belts seem to hold up the best, but I’m splitting hairs there.

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

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2252 posts in 3412 days

#2 posted 11-02-2014 12:21 PM

80 grit or 100 ,for my belt/disk sander,I don’t change the grit on my stationary sanders ,it may appear to be an easy task but it’s not ,I also have 80 grit on my drum sander/12” disk sander, . all the higher grit sanding is done with my ROS or 1/3 sheet sander.
If I do want to change the grit on the belt/disk sander I wouldn’t go higher than 180 .

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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2901 posts in 3480 days

#3 posted 11-02-2014 12:52 PM

I tried using 100 and 120 on my 6 X 48 but I found it got clogged to quickly. I keep the eraser sticks right there, but it is frustrating to have to clean every minute or so.
So now I keep mainly 80 grit on, and it seems to do OK. Sometimes a little too coarse, but after a week or so of use, it kind of softens up and the 80 grit last usually a few weeks for me. BTW, I use mine almost every day.

On my Rigid stationary, which is a 4 X 24, I use a higher grit, usually 120 or even 150. The better dust collection seems to help keep it cleaner.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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Jim Finn

2866 posts in 3887 days

#4 posted 11-02-2014 01:43 PM

I use my sander a lot so I now have two of them .6” x 48”. I have 80 grit on one and 120 grit on the other. I do not use the disc sander on this equipment.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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6913 posts in 2686 days

#5 posted 11-02-2014 01:59 PM

I have and 80 grit belt and 120 grit 12” disc. The speed of the disc can remove a lot of material despite the higher grit, but care must be taken to ensure it doesn’t clog and burn. The belt having the same surface speed across the entire width offers more predictability but less maximum speed. The belt is much easier to change than the adhesive backed disc. Keeping a cleaning eraser close by will greatly extend the life of both.

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

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6638 posts in 3232 days

#6 posted 11-02-2014 04:58 PM

I have used a belt sander for years and get very good life and even some surprisingly smooth surfaces from the 80 grit. I buy my 6 by 48—a pack at a time from H-F and am very pleased with them.
I put the crevice tool on the small vac and use it just stuck into the bottom of the machine near the front to help catch a little more dust! WEAR the goggles and hearing muffs!

I do clean often and if the sander is running so is the vacuum, sometimes a small one besides the chuted in one!

I find the right old shoe sole material and it cleans as well as the spendy cleaning pads form R’s. I have many times used old automotive hoses for cleaners also! When I have managed to get the belt full of rosin, I have even carefully scrapped it off when the sander was off!

I use the blazes out of the belt sander! Makes crap wood nice wood often!

I have also modified the end shield on the belt to fold back out of the way to sand inside curves! Yet mostly it is clamped to normal position.

I put my belt sanders vertical and just leave it that way! I also made a positive stop for the table to hold a very close to 90-degree fast! But, still be changeable if needed that way!

Hope this helps your decisions.
If my belt sander goes down it gets repaired or a new belt RIGHT AWAY! I do use the 9 ” plate but nowhere near the amount that the belt gets used.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

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Don W

19838 posts in 3533 days

#7 posted 11-02-2014 05:22 PM

I’ve got some 36 grit for mine. It’s great for shaping. You learn pretty quick to keep your fingers clear.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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5925 posts in 3317 days

#8 posted 11-02-2014 05:51 PM

The highest grit I use is 220.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Gene Howe

12284 posts in 4394 days

#9 posted 11-02-2014 06:48 PM

60, 80, 100 are the grits I use. The 100 very rarely.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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5849 posts in 4551 days

#10 posted 11-02-2014 07:20 PM

I always get the lowest number/I.E, roughest grit discs I can .So around 6o opr less is the ones I have at the moment, but if I could get even lower I would. Fine grits on a spinning disc are next to useless finishing in any case should never be done on a disc sander IMHO I always finish with a six inch orbital sander this time with various grits but again never more than 120.if I can help it.I read once in a book where an expert said buying High and very high number grits for disc sanders was a waste of time.He explained that when the disc starts turning,along with keeping pressure down a bit.This comes naturaly by feel and experience etc. Also if you keep moving the sanding piece a low grit will always work out best in the long run. I have done that ever since and it both works and makes sense to me .JUST what I have discovered and it suits me great. Alistair

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

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118153 posts in 4542 days

#11 posted 11-02-2014 07:32 PM

Much higher than 100 grit and they really don’t sand very well. Remeber those machines are made for construction sanding (shaping) not really for getting ready to finish your work like a Random orbital sander does. I don’t put any grit higher than 60 grit on my belt types sanders.


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3112 posts in 3746 days

#12 posted 11-02-2014 07:43 PM

I’ve barely used the disk part on mine, still got bags of PSA disks, just dosen’t do what I want, the belt is where it works.
I’ve actualy gone as high as 320 on the belt for metal, one belt of that grit is now charged with green oxide, mirror finishes !
but mega vacume and clean going either to metal from wood or vic versa

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

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770 posts in 3822 days

#13 posted 11-02-2014 08:00 PM

For me, I always have 80 grit on both the spindle and belt sanders. After shaping, I move to a scraper or ROS and work through the grits 80-220.

One BIG item you may want to consider is dust collection. Sanders throw a lot of dust and most of it is the bad airborne kind that can screw with your lungs.

Here is my setup, the belt sander has been in the vertical position for 5 years now and I never use the disk. Everything gets sucked into a CV mini cyclone with a Shop Vac and HEPA filter.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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798 posts in 2494 days

#14 posted 11-02-2014 08:14 PM

6×108 belts here. I never use anything above 100g. After a little wear they just start to polish the wood.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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1055 posts in 2895 days

#15 posted 11-02-2014 09:32 PM

THANKS! That helps my decision making a lot. I tossed this topic up this morning, then ran off to do Sunday stuff and came back to a lot of info. I think I’m mostly going to stick to the 60-80 range for my first multi-pack and see how it goes.

-- Quote from ebay tool listing: " Has nicks and dings wear and tear dust and dirt rust and pitting but in good working condition"

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