Introduction: BHSB (Big Honkin' Sandin' Block)
One day I put a brand new belt on my trusty 3x24 belt sander and got to work fairing some things out. Then I hit a snag, literally. I missed a screw that was still poking sharp point out and it cut my new belt into two small belts which then proceeded to slap me silly. After I got done throwing things and swearing, I put another new belt on and finished sanding. Later in the day I was cleaning up a bit and started to throw the ruined belt in the garbage and I decided I ought to find a way to use what remained. The BHSB is what I came up with, they’ve worked out so well that I make them with new unused belts now.
Step 1: Prepping the Belt
You’ll want to cut the belt in half, and then cut out the taped joint. Believe me when I say this taped joint is NOT strong enough to survive what we are going to do to it later.
Step 2: The Wood Components
You’ll need to mill up a top and bottom board and then a couple clamp/spacers. I usually mill everything so that they are about 1/8 of an inch or so narrower than the belt I’m planning on using so that the belt can flex some up both sides by about a 1/16th. The top and bottom boards get cut to about 4” or so less in length than the belt. Cut the bottom board in half, and attach one of the spacers at the joint on one side only.
Step 3: Putting It Together
Wrap the belt up and over the end of one of the bottom boards and then clamp it down with a couple screws through the spacer block
Step 4: The Tricky Part
Next step is to attach the other side of the belt to the other board. You’ll want to do it such that there is a slight gap under the joint, this is where the tension will come from later. I’ve found a 1” to 1 ½” gap (ie two pieces of 3/4” plywood) is just about perfect. If it’s too tight the belt will tear so don’t overdo it. Shove a couple scraps under the bottom board's center cut and then pull the belt up and over and secure it with screws and a spacer blcok. Once the belt is attached then line the two bottom boards up and get it set up like this.
Step 5: Tensioning
Push down in the middle until the middle block makes contact and screw it down.
Step 6: Finishing It Up
Sand the top and bottom edges of the top board so that you have a nice smooth edge to hang on to. Countersink the screw holes and screw it down to the spacers. Make sure that you set your screws so that they don’t run into the tops of the ones holding the spacers to the bottom board.