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How to set your widebelt sander.

Every part of the sanding process must work together to accomplish a few simple tasks. Below is a chart that gives the maximum amount of stock a particular grit belt can remove and how much to remove to get to the bottom of the valleys.

This should not be misconstrued as the scratch depth. Every time I tell someone the real scratch depth of a sanding belt they go about removing that much material with the next belt, never thinking about the fact they are removing way too much material and smashing the wood. Everyone measures off the top of the mountain peaks to the bottom of the part, not to the bottom of the valleys. So I never give scratch depth, only give the amount to remove from the mountain peak to touch the bottom of the valley.


60     0.035 inch      0.015 inch
80     0.024 inch      0.008 inch
100    0.017 inch      0.006 inch
120    0.010 inch      0.004 inch
150    0.006 inch      0.002 inch
180    0.004 inch      0.001 inch
220    0.002 inch      0.0005 inch

A quick example grit sequence would be 120,150,180. The 120 grit can remove up to 0.010 inches. The scratch left behind requires the next belt to remove 0.004 inches to get rid of it. The 150 maxes out at 0.006 inches, but it only needs to remove 0.004 inches. The 150 leaves a scratch that requires 0.002 inches to remove. The 180 can remove up to 0.004 inches, but it should only remove the 0.002 inches required. This belt sequence can remove up to 0.016 inches maximum with good results. The final scratch requires 0.001-inch stock removal.

I am not going into how the design of the machine affects the ability of the machine to use these sequences.

Adam West is a technician for Dixon Abrasives and also a bloggist for Woodworking Network. Read more at

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Title Annotation:SANDING & FINISHING
Comment:How to set your widebelt sander.(SANDING & FINISHING)
Author:West, Adam
Publication:Woodworking Network
Date:Apr 1, 2015
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