What Are Belt Sanders Used For? [A Complete Guide]

Maybe as a woodworker, you are very much familiar with the name of belt sanders. Undoubtedly, it is a beneficial tool for woodworking. The best way to get the most benefit from this tool is first to understand what are belt sanders used for.

Belt sanders are a popular tool in woodworking and are typically used to smooth the edges of wooden pieces. It helps prepare wood for activities such as carving and excellently works while rounding the edges of a wooden piece or flattening a surface.

When I first learned about woodworking, I was unaware of why belt sanders are used or how to use them. So, I took my time and learned from professionals about the uses and working procedures of belt sanders.

However, if you are new to woodworking and are confused about the belt sander, let me help you. Let’s get started.

Belt Sanders Are Used For 7 Reasons: Use Them Perfectly

To get the best out of a belt sander you have to use the most perfect one. As a woodworker, I always used Skil 7510-01 120 Volt 3-Inch X 18-Inch Belt, Sander. In my opinion, this is the most prolific one in the market right now. You should definitely try it.

However, here I point out the most common 7 reasons why belt sanders are used. Read them carefully. 

1. Scribe A Trimming Line

One of the common reasons we rely on belt sanders is that it helps scribe a trimming line on wood. In many cases, slanted or crooked surfaces require scribing of wood. A  belt sander works wonders and enables it to fit the surface properly.

In addition to that, scribing is also required in furniture making. Cabinets, cupboards, and similar furniture require proper sizing and shape to ensure the pieces fit well together.

2. Sanding Wood Impurities

Finding the perfect piece of wood to work on is quite rare. Wooden pieces or planks often come with impurities such as dents, marks, stains, and many more. Most woodworks require a clean and straight piece of wood to match the design or user vision properly.

This is where belt sanders come in handy. These belt sanders work effectively to sand the impurities of wood away. Turn on the sander and move it over the wood impurities to roughly sand them. Make sure that you move the sander toward the wood grain and not oppose it.

3. Leveling Wooden Surfaces

Another widespread use of belt sanders is that it levels the wooden pieces and planks to ensure that it matches the other surfaces correctly. Whether you are preparing a surface for wood carving, furniture making, or flooring, the use of even wood pieces is essential.

Take proper measurements of the piece you are working on and the surface you want to match and ensure appropriate markings. Turn on the belt sander and sand the surface until it reaches the required level. Make sure that you level the wooden piece up to the markings properly.

4. Rounding Sharp Edges

When it comes to furniture making or other woodworking projects, rounding the edges of the wooden pieces or planks is essential. While rounding or smoothing the sharp edges is not easy, the work becomes significantly easier with the help of a belt sander. In addition to that, it also makes the furniture or works beautiful and eye-catching.

Draw a round shape around the edges of the wood and turn on the belt sander. Carefully sand the edges of the wooden piece to reach the round edge of the wood. Clean all the dust and shavings properly and polish the surface to get an eye-catching look.

5. Shaping Wooden Pieces

Properly shaping the wooden pieces is a crucial part of woodworking. Whether working on wood carving or making furniture for your home, you will have to shape the wood properly. Trace out the design or shape on the piece of wood and sand it up to the marking with the help of the belt sander.

6. Polishing Surfaces

You can rely on a belt sander to polish the surface of your wood to ensure an attractive look. Turn on the belt sander and set the wood you want to polish. Start removing or sanding the wooden piece and move the sander along the direction of the grain.

Repeat the process until you reach a perfectly smooth and clean wooden surface. You can easily use this polished wood for flooring, furniture, or other projects. Not only that, but this process will also ensure the wood’s great longevity and look.

7. Final Surface Finish

Last but not least, belt sanders are also used to give the wooden surfaces a good finish at the end of the project. After completing woodwork or any wood-related project, ensuring a good finish is vital to hold the beauty of the art. Belt sanders help to offer a beautiful final finish to the surface properly.

Sand the surface of the wood slightly after the project is complete and ensure a smooth and decent finish. Dry and polish the surface properly to ensure that it lasts for a long time. Do not sand in the opposite direction of the wood grain, and make sure you do not remove too much of the wood.

Related Questions

What Can You Do With A Belt Sander?

A belt sander is a multi-purpose and highly efficient tool in the world of woodworking. It allows you to work with wood easily for all types of projects without facing many struggles. It also allows you to save time and energy on woodworking.

You can use a belt sander for a wide range of reasons. Sand and remove the impurities from wood easily with the help of the sander. On top of that, you can simply polish, shape, and provide a decent wood finishing. However, belt sanders also work on metal.

Is A Belt Sander Better Than An Orbital Sander?

Belt and orbital sanders are both popular and effective tools in woodworking. These tools are used in several projects to ensure a proper finish and an excellent experience. Belt sanders are typically suitable for large pieces or surface areas of wood that require rough sanding.

It is essential to have proper control and experience on the belt sander to ensure the best results. On the other hand, orbital sanders work best on rounded or small surfaces that do not need much work. However, the orbital sander is a better choice in case you are new to woodworking.

What Should You Not Do With A Belt Sander?

When it comes to working with a belt sander, there are quite a few things that you must avoid at all costs. Never operate a belt sander without protective eyewear and mask, as the dust can cause severe damage. Working without a properly functioning exhaust system or a full dust collector can result in a fire.

If the wood or metal you are working with is not set correctly or secured over a surface, do not turn on the sander as it can topple over and cause damage. Not only that but covering the air vents of the sander can also result in a major accident.

What Is The Main Purpose Of The Wide Belt Sander?

Many people prefer using a wide belt sander as it is faster and mainly automated. The main purpose of a wide belt sander is to flatten rough surfaces and level them properly. You do not have to sand or work with the wood manually; it saves a great amount of time. 

All you have to do is set the wooden piece into the machine and adjust the sanding thickness on the wide belt sander. Turn on the sander and allow the machine to do its work. Once done, you will end up with a smoothly sanded wooden piece.

Can You Sand A Floor With A Belt Sander?

The main purpose of using a belt sander is to ensure a smooth and clean surface. The machine uses a roll of sandpaper which works on the surface and sands it to ensure proper leveling. Using a belt sander to sand a floor is an easy way of leveling the floor.

Turn on the sander and manually move it across the floor to sand the uneven edges, dents, sharpness, etc. The belt sander makes the work of sanding a floor easier and faster. Not only that, but it also ensures a smooth flooring finish.

Can You Use A Sander Instead Of A Planer?

The main purpose of a sander and planer is quite similar as both machines work to flatten or smooth out wooden pieces. However, you can use a belt sander instead of a planer to sand the wooden surface. The belt sander is usually used to sand the top layer of the wood to flatten or level the surface.

However, the planer is typically seen in industrial woodworking and is used to remove layers of wood to ensure a flat and smooth surface. But the issue with this use of belt sander as a planer replacement is that the process is time-consuming.


I have now reached the end of our discussion, and you are now aware of what belt sanders are used for in detail. If you are a beginner in woodworking, make sure that you properly understand the use of belt sanders and follow the necessary steps and precautions.

Make sure that you wear protective eyewear and a mask to protect yourself from harm caused by the wood dust. So, take out your belt sanders and start working on your woodwork project.

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