How to Use A Belt Sander?

A belt sander offers a lot of features that will make your boring sanding job more pleasant and a lot quicker. You don’t have to waste hours manually sanding down a rough wood surface.

Belt Sander can be used in different ways & for different purposes. If you learn to use a belt sander properly you can get your job done quite easily & quickly. 

In this article, you will get detailed guidance about how to use a belt sander properly. We will also share some belt sander tips & tricks which will make your job more pleasant.


What is a Belt Sander?

Belt sanders are powerful and aggressive tools, normally used for shaping wood material, smoothing rough surfaces, sanding the floor, or removing wood paint. Rusty metal surface can be smoothened by Air belt sanders. These are considered the beasts of the sanding world. Belt sanders can be used by hand or as stationary sanders (fixed).

How to Use a Belt Sander?

Although using a belt sander is quite an easy task If not used properly, it can cause damage to the wood & can ruin your project completely. It can also cause serious injury.  You have to follow some simple steps to learn how to use a belt sander. Belt Sander can be used in two ways. 

  1. Manually (by hand)
  2. Stationary sanding

How to Use a Belt Sander By Hand?

Belt Sander is mostly preferred using by hand. As this allows flexible use.

If you’re using a belt sander by hand, keep one hand on the trigger, and the other hand on the front handle to guide the way across the wood surface.

First, let your sander get up to full speed after turning it on. Then move the sander back and forth gently & use the front handle to guide the way. Don’t push down, apply a slight pressure instead, and keep always moving the sander as keeping it in one spot will create a spot in your wood.

How to Do Stationary Sanding With a Belt Sander?

If you want to sand or want to give shape to the smaller pieces of wood, stationary sanding is the best way to do it. You can use a belt sander as a stationary sander by clamping it upside down on a workbench. Gently move your wood piece against the spinning sander according to the shape you want to get.

Working on small workpieces can also be done by making a belt sander stand. After finishing your project check the attached dust bag, if it’s full remove it, clean & reattach it.


What to Look for in a Belt Sander?

While buying a belt sander, you need to choose the best one for your workshop. The more features it offers, the more performance it is expected to deliver.

Look for these features in a belt sander:

  1. Powerful motor: Powerful motor can do the toughest of sanding jobs. you don’t want to face any kind of trouble while sanding rough surfaces. So make sure the sander you’re going to buy has a powerful motor.
  2. Variable speed: You obviously want to control the speed of your sander, & for that, you should look for this feature. If the sander has a variable speed control option, you can manage the speed range as per the sanding job you’re doing.
  3. Dust bag: Sanding wood produces a large amount of dust, so the sander should be equipped with a dust bag. It collects all the dust from your workpiece and minimizes the cleanup inside the workshop.
  4. Sander Size: The size of belt sanders can vary from small to large. Mid-sized sanders(3*21 inches) are more popular among woodworkers. Smaller sanders are lighter and easy to carry, suitable for handheld use. If you want to do stationary sanding, you can go for the larger ones.

Belt Sander Safety

Before you start sanding,  make sure that you are following all the safety measures to keep yourself out of danger. prevent your body from any kind of injury by wearing earplugs(as these power tools can be very noisy), goggles & a basic dust mask. Keep a clear distance between your cloth and the sander. Also, don’t let the cable get in the way of sanding.

 How to Put Sandpaper on a Belt Sander

The first thing you need to do before you start using the sander is to choose the right belt for your sander. Don’t just buy any belt, choose a belt that has coarse grit as per what your project needs.

For smoothing a surface the ideal size of a belt is between 80-120 grit. Then use a super fine belt with higher grit(180-360) to finish your project.

Most of the sanders have the same process of changing the sanding belt. Just release the tensioner, take out the old belt, and insert the new one. make sure the belt is put onto the roller perfectly.

Most of the sandpapers have a direction(arrow sign) given on the body. Place the sandpaper based on the direction it is going to rotate. you can move the belt right or left to be fit with the roller by adjusting the knob. There’ll be a knob somewhere in the sander.

Note: Make sure you disconnect the power cord while changing the belt.

Few Belt Sander tips & tricks you need to follow

  1. Don’t put too much pressure on it to push it down.
  2. Move it gently
  3. Keep the cord out of the way
  4. Do not tip the sander


Now you’ve seen how easy it is to use a belt sander. Just some basic steps you need to follow & you can consider yourself as quite a Pro!

Although the belt sander hasn’t become the most used power tool in a woodworking shop, it can be a very helpful tool for your workshop if you use it properly.


  • Which Direction Should a Belt Sander be Used?

The belt sander movement should be linear. This means you have to move the sander with the wood grain. Else, it will create scratch marks on the wood surface.

  • Can You Use a Belt Sander to Remove Paint?

Yes, a belt sander can be used for removing paint, varnishing, or staining. You have to use several sandpapers with a different number of grits starting from lower to higher grits. And you’ll get the perfect finish by it.

  • Can You Use a Belt Sander on Walls?

Belt sanders can be used to remove texture paint from walls. To use a belt sander on the wall, you have to be very careful with the sander. A little pressure can create a scratch in the wall. If you are not experienced with the belt sander, using it on the wall can be a bit risky.

  • When Do You Not Use a Belt Sander?

We know that a belt sander is a very powerful tool. It helps in the rapid removal of materials from a surface. But when should we not use it? When you are working with a smooth or a delicate surface, don’t use a belt sander.  It is suitable for rough surfaces. Using it on a delicate surface can damage the surface’s structure.

How to use a belt sander

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