Narrow Belt Sander

This custom-built belt sander can refine wood parts just as well as it shapes metal.

“Why build a power tool when you can just buy one?” I get that question a lot. The easy answer is to save money. And it’s true that the power tools shown in ShopNotes cost far less than commercial versions. There’s more to it. Building your own tools allow you to customize the features: you can add qualities that improve your work — and leave off bells and whistles that offer little benefit. This sander offers a great case study. As you’ll see, the sander is built with a ruggedness that’s tough to match. We use high-quality components inside the machine so that it works right and is enjoyable to operate. We picked a well-made motor that provides plenty of power and runs quietly. The platen behind the belt is easily adjusted (or removed) to suit the task at hand. And speaking of the belt, there’s a very simple mechanism that applies tension and allows fast belt changes without requiring tools. There’s one last thing you can do to take the project up a notch: give it a solid paint job. We like using the “hammered” finish spray paints that leave a wrinkled surface behind. It’s reminiscent of old tools and transforms bland plywood into a sharp-looking machine.



What You Get:

  • 9 pages of step-by-step instructions
  • 30 full-color photos, illustrations, and exploded views
  • Materials List & Project Supplies Sources

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