Uses for an Edge Sander

It's a handy machine for all sorts of things, if you know how to use it. October 2, 2006

Other than the obvious sanding edges, what other tasks is a large edge sander used for? Any face sanding? Any useful jigs for sanding small parts?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor W:
You've asked the right question. Sanding to a line, e.g. on a template. Going right from a saw cut to the sanding stage when doing only a few pieces, saving a lot of time by skipping the milling stage (jointer, pattern routing or shaping). My most frequently used jig is a right angle fence for sanding doors square, or sanding end grain or small parts. I have also used a v-fence to chamfer small parts precisely, and have used various shaped platens under the belt to sand shallow curves. I have also put short platens of various lengths in there. This allows me to sand most of the edge of a drawer part, leaving only the end that will be joined to the adjacent piece to be sanded after assembly, to keep the height as sawn perfectly consistent. One can also make fixtures for sanding perfect circles. Most machines have one end available for sanding inside curves, which I love to use even though I have a State spindle sander because the long belt has so much more life than a sleeve. If at all possible, be sure to get one that oscillates; you get much better scratch pattern as well as much longer belt life.

From contributor G:
I would be lost without my edgesander. I have a 48" Weaver and I can't imagine living life in a cabinet shop without it.

From contributor D:
Just purchased one last week and have fallen in love with it already. Great for smoothing saw marks from edges of rails and stiles. I do a lot of beaded inset face frames and have found that I can miter them easily with the belt sander and a 45 deg fence. A lot safer than the miter saw and doesn't splinter, either.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the replies. I just picked up a Crouch at an auction for a very good price. I'm building a new shop and it will have 3 phase power, so I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.

From contributor L:
Interesting post. I have an Oakley H-6 edge sander. It must be me, but every time I turn that monster on, I screw up something. Maybe my machine is just too big, but I don't find it very useful. I bought it to sand the edges of 5 piece doors, but it either burns them or makes them out of square really quick. It does look impressive sitting there, though!

From contributor A:
The fastest manicure available.

From contributor E:
Contributor L, if you are sanding your door edges freehand, start using a mitre of a jig that will hold them square to the platen. As to burning, if you use too high of a grit or a used (too much) belt, it will cause burning on hardwoods. Use a fresh belt or a new section of the old belt. If it still burns, then go down a grit. If you need it that smoothness that the burning belt provides, you may need to sand twice - once with the coarse belt to get rid of mill marks and a second time to get rid of sanding marks. The smoothest belt I use is 150 grit. It will burn hardwood end grain, but not edge grain. If I need to do end grain, I use the 120 grit and just bump it with the 150 to smooth it up.

From contributor G:
If you get burns with your edgesander, do this. Mount a stop block on the end of the sander table that is square with the back of the sander. If you are edge sanding long grain, just hold it there, it won't burn. If you are sanding end grain, slide the wood up to the sander using the stop block to start. This will eliminate or else remove burns on the end grain. Use light pressure. The harder you push, the more apt the machine is to throw the piece across the room. Most guys push way too hard. Push very lightly and slide. The end grain will never burn this way. Best grit is 150 to smooth and eliminate scratches in end grain.

From contributor J:
We use a couple of those magnetic feather boards on the deck to accurately sand long lengths. Properly placed, you can let go of the piece and it will stay in place.

From the original questioner:
Now I need a good source for 6 x 108 belts.

From contributor W:
I think Klingspor CS311 belts are by far the best. They have an antistatic coating that helps stave off loading, which in my shop kills belts long before they get dull.

From contributor E:
I get my belts from a link at Ballew Saw, Alliance Abrasives.