The most important part of any painting work is always the preparation, unfortunately, it is also the most labor-intensive part.
Anyone who has spent any time sanding will know it is a hard and slow task, especially when you are sanding by hand.
But we all know that is the only real way to take away the unwanted layers of paint or varnish and do a proper job of it.
The way to reduce the time and effort you spend is to use a belt sander to break the back of the hard paint removal work, for large surface areas a belt sander is used on for items such as sanding doors, sanding door frames, cupboards, skirting boards, window frames, tables, and many different types of wooden flooring.
A common mistake people often do is using the wrong grit sandpaper for the sanding work they need to carry out, you should always use a high grit grade sandpaper for tough and stubborn surfaces like numerous layers of paint or thick varnish on wooden floors.
When you use the wrong grit paper it takes you longer to complete the sanding work and you use more energy on it.
Once you have sanded down the majority of the paint or varnish from the wood then you should switch to a higher grade grit sandpaper so you don’t overdo it and go sanding straight down into the bare wood or misshape the wood where there are curved or patterned parts.
Many people get confused with sandpaper sizes and worry if certain sandpapers will fit their model sander, most of the sandpaper you can buy is universal to your size belt sander. What I mean is if the size is the same it will fit.
You don’t need to get the brand that is recommended by anyone if your base is the same as the sandpaper size given then you are good to go.
Choosing the Best Sander
A good quality belt sander isn’t expensive and will make your sanding life so much quicker and easier but it is important you get one that matches your sanding ambitions
Some great brands are Makita, Bosch, Dewalt, Ryobi and if you are on a tight budget then the Classic 3 x x18 belt sander is a good option at around $40.
Makita lead the race at the moment for belt sanders and they are the professionals choice with their models being the most popular choice amongst contractors and painters and decorators,
They are not the only really good manufacturers of belt sanders though with many brands producing good quality tools.
For hard to reach areas or decorative wooden items a detail sander can be used, these are excellent for getting into those tight corners or for sanding curved areas.
The detail sander won’t cover large areas and is more designed for smaller workpieces.
Disc sanders are really useful for sanding large floors areas that have tough layers of varnish or floor paint on them, they are very powerful machines and the sanding disc is designed to cover a good area so it can quite remove paint or varnish quicker than a belt sander.
But beware it is not suitable for removing thin layers on tables or chairs because it will quickly get through the layers and take away the wood which may leave it misshaped.
For removing dents or scratches it is best to sand by hand once you have got your wood filler in and hardened.
You should use a high grit sandpaper pad and be very careful, checking often to see where you are with it so you don’t go overboard.
Hand Sanding Grooves and Patterns
For those delicate and hard to reach wood features in your life you should use a really high grit sanding foam pad.
These are great at getting into really tight and intricate areas that are important to keep as they are and not change the shape ar pattern whilst sanding.
They are also very useful for sanding grooved wood down to the bone so you can repaint or revarnish them.
Belt Sander Safety
You should always utilize the dust removal systems that come with many belt sanders or disc sanders because of the fine dust that the electric sanders produce is not good for your health.
Fine wood dust or paint dust gets into the lungs and can cause breathing problems or long term damage so always wear a dust mask when you operate them.
Goggles are also a good idea because the dust can irritate or scratch your eyes.