Having the right equipment to do woodworking projects can make a difference in the quality of work you produce. Many woodworking enthusiasts can have a difficult time sanding table tops, doors, and other flat surfaces with a small belt sander. Hand-held belt sanders often leave depressions and belt tracks in the wood that are hard to cover up. Use of a stroke sander helps to eliminate these problems. If you are going to be sanding a lot of flat wood surfaces for table tops, cabinets, dressers, or other projects, you may want to consider renting or buying a stroke sander to get the jobs done quickly and proficiently. Here is a quick guide to how a stroke sander works if you decide to get one.
The Stroke Sander
A stoke sander is made up of four main parts: a large table to put the flat pieces of wood on, a long sanding belt that is powered by a small motor around two pulleys, a block with a long handle that you press down on the sanding belt so the abrasive side of the belt sands the wood, and a guide rail that you connect the sanding block to so it stays in alignment with the belt.
How it Works
You turn the sander on to get the belt spinning around two large pulleys. There is one pulley at each end of the table. The abrasive side of the belt faces outward as it spins around the pulleys. There will be a gap of about a foot between the belt when it runs along the lower side of the pulley and when it runs over the top of the pulley. The sanding block and the guide rail both are placed inside the gap between the upper and lower sides of the belt.
Most stroke sanders will come with a vacuum to help collect the dust you will generate while sanding wood. Turn the vacuum on before you start sanding.
Take a flat piece of wood and place it on the sanding table. Raise the table so the surface of the wood is about a quarter of an inch or so away from the bottom of the sanding belt. Move the sanding block up to the edge of the wood and press down on the handle. Slide the handle down the guide rail until the entire length of the wood has been sanded down. Move the sanding table toward you a little bit so you can sand a second row right next to the first row. Keep on moving the table toward you a little bit at a time until the entire width and length of the piece of wood is sanded.
You should always wear a short sleeve shirt or tight fighting clothes when operating a stroke sander. Loose fitting clothes can get caught in the spinning belt and you could get seriously injured. You should also wear eye protection, a breathing mask (even when using a dust vacuum), and ear protection when working.