Instructables

This Instructable will show you how I built a bench-top edge-sanding jig to hold my hand-held belt sander on its side and allow me to precisely and carefully sand the edges of workpieces.

I built this because I do not have a permanent workspace to house a dedicated stationary tool (and those are expensive). Also, I already had a handheld belt sander, and quite a few belts for it.

This Instructable is broken down into the following steps:

Step 1: Goals, materials, & tools
Step 2: Build a support plate for your sander
Step 3. Tilt the support plate
Step 4: Build a base for the jig
Step 5: Build the work table
Step 6: Putting it together
Step 7: Final thoughts and possible improvements


And as always, the requisite disclaimer:
Caveat emptor. My advice is worth what you paid for it, and may be dangerous to your health and sanity. Read on at your own risk. Don't try this at home.

 
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Step 1: Goals, materials, & tools

The first image is a stationary tool of the type whose function I needed to duplicate. The second image is what I had to work with (ok, I had some wood too).

I had read a set of instructions on Rockler's website detailing this idea, however I saw a few improvements that I could make, and needed to make some changes so that the design could be applied to my sander.

Materials are fairly simple:
~ belt sander
~ scrap plywood
~ scrap blocks of wood
~ tempered hard-board, melamine or some other slick table surface
~ screws (I used a combination of 1" and 1 1/4" coarse-thread drywall screws)
~ wood glue

Tools:
~ pencil
~ square
~ tape measure
~ ruler
~ saw(s) (I used a circular saw, a table saw, and a jig saw, but you could work with just about anything)
~ appropriate personal protective equipment (eye protection, ear protection, respiratory protection)

opticalfx9 months ago

Another option for dust collecting would be to build your work surface out of peg board and box in the riser, making it similar to a sanding table. Great instructable! Now I just have to finish the other fifteen projects in my garage so I can make one!

Cezsaria1 year ago
Thank you for noting that the sander will create it's own perfect edge where it sits at the table, I intend to use your instructions to make a table for my belt sander and I was stressing about how to get a good fit.
flavrt1 year ago
Well done. I have that sander and need to make your sanding table. It's always annoyed me that power tools aren't designed with clamping surfaces. As you clearly demonstrate, this would make the belt sander far more valuable as a precision tool.

I think your angle is good. Any more could cause trouble with cross-grain sanding. To fully utilize the belt, you could instantly elevate your work pieces with an auxiliary table of ¾ ply, cleated on top of the hardboard table.

Obviously you made this work well, but clamping the handle with a shim looks scary. Would there be any benefit to A) drilling the handle to accept a threaded rod for clamping/squaring? B) replacing the handle with a wooden version specifically designed for this purpose?

I look forward to seeing your kayak construction-able. I'm a kayak newb. If you ever come South with your boat, check out the mangrove tunnels.

mangotun.jpg
LynxSys (author)  flavrt1 year ago
Thanks for the comment--this jig has certainly made my belt sander a better tool!

Bosch actually once made a belt sander that was designed to be clamped down upside down or on its side (model # 1274DVSK), but it was discontinued (I have no clue why). I think there are often benefits to building your own jig that the major companies will never match (check out woodgears.ca for some really epic DIY woodworking jigs and tools).

As to the clamping, the shim is glued down (and soaked in glue so that it won't compress too much) and the clamp is really only there to keep things perfectly square. The whole setup is far more stable than it looks, especially because of the tightly-fitted retaining blocks that I cut out and attached to the support plate that the sander is resting on. I could probably even use this jig without any clamps, but I prefer the additional peace of mind.

I had briefly considered drilling through the handle as you suggest, but there's already a screw in the dead center of the handle, holding the two molded plastic halves together. As to a wooden handle, I would be afraid that it might crack, given all of the directions of stress that the handle needs to tolerate. Originally, the clamp  was a temporary solution, but it works so well and is so quick to dismount if I need the belt sander elsewhere that I decided to kept it.

As to the mangrove tunnels: wow. I'm adding them to my places-to-paddle list right now! My only question is, how did you turn around?
flavrt LynxSys1 year ago
"tightly-fitted retaining blocks"

That's what I needed. Going back through your images, I saw you also used the work table to block the back end of the sander. Then it all made sense how you completely captured the housing without relying on the handle. Perfect.

I was lucky to find a tee in that tunnel, but Sarasota Bay is so shallow, you can almost walk home. At extreme low tides, it can be a puzzle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgAg_l2-5wY

Let me know if you ever need an insider's guide to paddling southwest Florida. I owe you.
ksail.jpg
mgrunwel1 year ago
Very cool design. I don't have the resources (or space) for a big stationary version so this is one I am going to build.

Now if someone can just design interchangalbe heads and combine an angel grinder, biscuit (plate) joiner, and oscillating multi-tool so I don't have to buy all three. They're all basically the same motor body.
damianzuch1 year ago
Hey, this is a super Instructable, very clear and well-documented. It's also something that I need in my shop (I often use my belt sander clamped upside down as a mini tabletop belt sander but this is great for right angles). I really like the angle you put on it for even wear on the belts; that's a great idea. Much appreciated!!
srohwer1 year ago
"...ghost of a drunken cockroach..." LOL...

Nicely done. I use an old Workmate and clamp my cheap Craftsman sander into it, but I didn't know/think about tilting the sander for even wear on the belts. So thanks for that.
LynxSys (author)  srohwer1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. I'm not quite able to envision how you would clamp a sander into a Workmate and be able to use it as an edge sander, could you maybe post a picture?
rimar20001 year ago
Excelent design, very well done.