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Belt Sander


aggravated_alien
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Hello this my first post.

I am in the process of buying tools. Eventually I want to build and repair guitars professionally. This is going take my quite a while to learn and I guess this will be more of a labor of love. I don't think there is a great deal of money in this type of work.

I am in the market for a power tools the question is how much power/wattage do I need. I don't want them to be underpowered but I don't want to spend a fortune on overkill.

Things I need so far.

Belt Sander

Jigsaw

Drill Press

Feel free to tell me what other things I may need and how much power/wattage they will need to be.

Thanks.

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what tools do you currently own? If you dont own any.. then a belt sander and a jigsaw are not top of the list items in my opinion. are you planning on electrics or acoustics to start off with? from scratch or kits? What kind of budget are you on? what kind of hand tools do you have and what are you pretty good at as far as woodworking goes? SOrry to answer a question with a bunch of questions... but its not a simple answer without more info. :D

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what tools do you currently own? If you dont own any.. then a belt sander and a jigsaw are not top of the list items in my opinion. are you planning on electrics or acoustics to start off with? from scratch or kits? What kind of budget are you on? what kind of hand tools do you have and what are you pretty good at as far as woodworking goes? SOrry to answer a question with a bunch of questions... but its not a simple answer without more info. :D

At This point I just want to be able to make nut and saddles.

I have bought Dan Erlewine's Nut Making DVD it taught my quite a bit. he used a belt sander to shape the nut to it's correct radius with excellent Results.

I the moment I just want to buy a belt sander with the belt surface on top like Dan had in the DVD. I will worry about other power tools later but it doesn't hurt to know how much power I would be needing just in case a bargain pops up.

Here are the tools I have so far.

-------------------------------------

Claw Hammer

Super Glue

Titebond Wood Glue

String Winder

Jim Dunlop Ultimate Lemon Oil

Jim Dunlop String Conditioner

Jim Dunlop Polish & Cleaner

Jim Dunlop Cleaner & Prep

Jim Dunlop Deep Conditioner

Jim Dunlop Cream of Carnauba

8 Piece Nut File Set

10 Piece Needle File Set

3/16 Nut Seating File

Nut and Saddle Shaping Files

4 Piece Micro Chisel Set

String Lifter

Nut and Saddle Vise

3M Gold Fre-Cut Sandpaper Set

3M Flexible Polishing Papers I love these the work like a charm.

Luthier's Digital Caliper

String Spacing Rule

Feeler Gauge Set

Understring Radius Gauges

Edited by aggravated_alien
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hm i have always done my nuts with files and a radius block that matched the fingerboard radius. Belt sander kinda seems like overkill but maybe someone else can chime in. What exactly do you mean by how much power you will need?

I was referring to the wattage of the belt sander. is 300 watt enough or should I go for something a bit more powerful say 1000 watt.

How long does it take you to with your radius blocks and files.

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Never heard of anyone's first though about a belt-sander being *watts*.

That huge one Dan uses on the nut video is way over-kill. If you watch the StewMac shopstand video, he shows his much smaller belt sander, which is more ideal for making nuts. Somehow I've managed to make nuts from scratch without any belt-sander.

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hm i have always done my nuts with files and a radius block that matched the fingerboard radius. Belt sander kinda seems like overkill but maybe someone else can chime in. What exactly do you mean by how much power you will need?

I use a belt sander here's the one I use http://www.shop.com/Ryobi_3_x_21_Variable_...ml?sourceid=298

I put it upside down and use the slowest speed for nuts and it's good for doing strat contours and I attach it to a table to sand edges of bodies and necks. It's a great tool for $90. check out craigslist too and it would be better to get a bandsaw I have seen them on craigslist around here for under $50.

also I used the rigid for a little bit when doing a strat and it worked great never tried the belt attachment though

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I use files, and sandpaper adhered to large flat surfaces for shaping my nuts. A coping saw or a dremel tool if my blank is quite oversized.

For sanding/shaping small pieces, I will say that I love the little 1" wide, long-belt sanders, like Frank Ford uses as shown at Frets.com frequently. I don't own my own (yet!) but after using one, I think I'd actually get more use out of that than a belt sander, for the work that I do.

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I use files, and sandpaper adhered to large flat surfaces for shaping my nuts. A coping saw or a dremel tool if my blank is quite oversized.

For sanding/shaping small pieces, I will say that I love the little 1" wide, long-belt sanders, like Frank Ford uses as shown at Frets.com frequently. I don't own my own (yet!) but after using one, I think I'd actually get more use out of that than a belt sander, for the work that I do.

Those are awesome they have a couple at school there great fro shaping small parts and stuff like that and grizzly sells them for $54

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One of the most important tools to have is a quality Vernier Caliper for precision measuring. I use mine all the time when building guitars. Ideal for checking thicknesses and measuring hole centres etc.

Im making all my electric guitar nuts from brass now, so a hacksaw, coping saw and 4" mini files are all I need. I recently modified some needle files to cut the nut slots on my bass, as well as the tip cleaners I have always used and they worked well.

I would recommend if you get a belt sander preferably 4", get one with the rigid flat bass. I got an old 4" Hitachi that Ive had for about 25 years that has the flexible sprung base and needs care when using otherwise you can easily sand a hollow in your work. Belt sanders are versatile as you can use them by hand or mount them on their side for edge sanding and shaping guitar braces etc. Get one that will sit perfectly square when on its side.

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I would recommend if you get a belt sander preferably 4", get one with the rigid flat bass. I got an old 4" Hitachi that Ive had for about 25 years that has the flexible sprung base and needs care when using otherwise you can easily sand a hollow in your work.

I'm assuming you mean there's a plate (think this part might be called a platen ? ) between the two outer rollers and it's thickness or rigidity can vary from one machine to another ?

I've never heard descriptions by the makers mention how rigid that part is, so now you got me wondering how I could know what kind of plate is on a sander I might have my eye on.

Thanks for bringing up an important detail like that.

I also think J Pierce is right about those other narrow kind of sanders being very handy for small work like nut work. I have even seen drill bit sharpening jigs that mount to those kind.

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I am also not sure what the watts figure is since most machines are rated amps or HP here in the states. For most nuts and saddles you do not need super powerful equipment. So almost any sander will work even a stand mounted belt sander.

I have been looking at some of the 1 X 42" sanding units for nuts and saddles as I believe the smaller width provides more room to maneuver a small nut without removing skin. Also a 1 X 30" will also work. The only problem it may not be useful for many other tasks in your shop.

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I guess I always cut my nut blanks so close to the proper size that a belt sander would be a little too fast. Plus, I guess I feel more comfortable with the blank held in a vise while I use coarse, medium and fine files to finalize the shape.

I noticed Erlewine used the round end of the belt sander to put the radiused bottom on a Fender nut, but you can use a drum sander on a drill press to do the same thing. And since most nuts have a radiused top, you are going to have to keep the blank moving when knocking down the top on a belt sander. I think with the same amount of attention, you could also knock the top down on a radius using that same drum sander on the drill press.

As for thicknessing a blank; well there's different ways, and one way, would be one of those "luthier's friend" sanding jigs that mounts to a drill press.

I think I've even heard of nut blanks being thicknessed with a Wagner safety planer on a drill press ???

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If you're anything like the rest of us, you'll surely go beyond yout original scope of work very quickly. This hobby is extremely addictive. Once we master one aspect, we eagerly go on to the next.

With that in mind, I'd suggest you get the best tool you can afford to get, regardless of which tool you're looking at. It may be more than you actually need for right now, but when you try something new, you'll be wishing you had spent the extra on the better model.

As for sanders, make sure it has a dust collection bag. Otherwise, you'll be blowing it into the air and coating EVERYTHING in the rool (and about a 5" radius out the doors) with a fine coat of dust. I was looking around my shop one day thinking to myseld "It looks a lot dingier than it used to." At some point, I looked up and saw that a bunch of dust had settled in the light cover. :D

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