I’ve made a handful of new friends during the first few months of owning our new home. From ripping out old flooring and demoing stairs, the camaraderie with old and new friends alike has been a welcome breath of fresh air from my 5 month hiatus of no shop or woodworking!
To start with, how ’bout a few shots of this guy?
Anyways, enough with the touchy feely. I’m here today to tell you about the portable belt sander by RIDGID! This little guy packs a punch and is just the tool I needed for prepping sub-floor prior to installing our new hardwoods! Looks right at home there doesn’t it?
Here’s a rundown on the features:
- First and foremost, it’s orange, which automatically gives the tool + 127 cool points
- It has adjustable speed (really comes in handy)
- Quick release belt tensioner
- Automatic belt tracking (can be overridden)
- Dust bag
- Hook up for vacuum hose
- Long power cord!
- And… a trigger lock (thank you RIDGID!)
Now, since y’all know my style, I have to tell you the downside of each tool I review… With this particular sander, you’ve gotta be careful with using 36 grit paper. Sure, the sander has more than enough power to plow through your tasks, but lets say it’s a touch grabby… I’ll paint a picture. Imagine yours truly standing on a 12′ ladder that’s sticking through some joist in the floor something like this. (Yeah this picture was when I locked myself out of the basement…I had to go back to our rental to grab the ladder. I was a bit frustrated that afternoon.)
Now let’s say that one of the joists I installed is a touch higher than it needs to be, and since I’m just a persnickety person, I realize my soul will not rest well unless the joist is level with the others… So! I have a moment of clarity, I’m gonna grab my belt sander and take away a bit of material so that the sub-floor will be “moooth ‘n level.” Problem is, I kinda forgot about how beastly this sander is especially when you slap a 36 grit belt on. No, I didn’t fall off the ladder, but I did probably let out a girlie squeal in the split second I thought I was going to be falling off the ladder.
All kidding aside, this has been an invaluable tool during our flooring project and has lots of shop time in its future.
So the adjustable speed. This came in super handy when cleaning up after removing some engineered hardwoods that had been glued down. Granted, I had a friend actually do the sanding, but being able to slow down the belt speed kept the glue from melting and just smearing across the floor or gumming up the belt. Also, see the black button? That’s the trigger lock so that you can keep the sander turned on without holding the trigger the entire time! Swanky.
The automatic belt tensioning is pretty self explanatory, but in short there’s a lever that you toggle to release tension, which makes changing belts a snap. Couple that with the auto tracking feature on this sander and changing belts and getting back to work is really a 10 second process. Now, lets say you need to sand right up against the wall. There is a tracking knob you can turn to bias the belt toward the right side of the sander that allows you sand almost flush with the edge of the sander.
Here’s how you change the belt. Release the tension and remove belt.
Slide new belt in place (make sure arrows are pointing the correct direction) and lock down the tension lever.
The last bit of awesome I want to point out is the dust collection. Seriously, it’s awesome. Refer back to that shot of the sub-floor sanding and notice the lack of piles of dust! And no, I didn’t vacuum before the shot. Also, you can hook up a shop vac directly to this sander for double awesome sanding fun. Mainly because you’re not being blasted with dust while your workin’!
So really folks, not trying to blow smoke here, but if you need a good belt sander that’s not gonna break the bank try out the RIDGID belt sander. You’ll be glad you gave it a shot. And just
like always, if I wouldn’t buy it, it wouldn’t recommend it!
Questions, comments? Leave a note below and I’ll be glad to help!
Thanks for reading y’all!