Belt Sander

by J. Monroe
(Knoxville, TN)

I understand that I have to sand with the grain.

I've been told that It is better do it by hand.

Could I start with a belt sander, and finish by hand?

The hull of boat is made of cedar

Comments for Belt Sander

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Mar 16, 2012
by: J. Monroe

Thanks Al!
This is my first boat.

Tried the orbital sander, then the chemicals, now I'm working with a heat gun and a chisel.

Prob 20 coats of varnish on this thing.

It's slow going.

I'll take any advice you have for a beginner.

Mar 16, 2012
Belt Sander Blues
by: Al DeForest

About the use of a belt sander it all depends....

I was notorious for over sanding and I have learned to take it easy when sanding.

Using a belt sander on cedar is a bit touchy especially if the coating being removed is thin.

It is very easy to gouge or over sand.

I have seen cedar strip canoes with these thin and almost translucent sections of over sanding.

I would recommend a random orbital over a belt sander and even that still requires care.

On large areas belt sanding is harder to keep fair and you might end up with noticeable variation across the surface.

If you’re taking a painted finish down maybe it would be good to use a chemical stripper first.

Sometimes a good sharp scraper is useful to knock down the old finish and thus avoiding the belt sander.

With whatever method used it is important to adjust the grit size as the sanding progresses.

Finally, long board sanding is the way to finish the final sanding.

There is no easy short cut to sanding and the belt sander may seem the way to go, but handle with care.

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