How to Extend the Life of Sanding Belts

Sanding belts are essential tools in the abrasives industry, especially when working with wood projects. They easily remove old paint, smooth out uneven surfaces, and provide a uniform finish for all types of wood. They are popular and common tools used in the woodworking industry, but they do not last forever. At some point, a craftsman will need to replace his or her sanding belt with a new one. Although they are not very expensive, they are still worth preserving for as long as possible. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to extend the life of sandpaper belts. Continue reading to find out!

Tips for Care

Sandpaper belts are used in conjunction with belt sanders, a powered sanding machine that retains two wheels to hold the sanding belts. The belts travel along these two wheels at a selected speed, and provide sanding for wood, metal, and more. There are three primary types: aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and zirconia alumina. There are also garnet sanding belts that are perfect for fine wood sanding. Aluminum oxide sanding belts are great for wood and metal, while silicon carbide is bets for things like ceramics, rubber, glass, marble, and even stone. For harder metals like stainless steel and cast iron, zirconia alumina is the go-to sanding belt.

Whichever type of sanding belt you have, there are a few ways to increase the lifespan and avoid premature deterioration. One helpful tip to start with: when ordering in bulk, never purchase more than one year’s worth of sandpaper belts. If you have trouble estimating just how many sanding belts you expect to use in a year’s time, simply consult an abrasives professional for free advice. For now, here are some tips you can review:

Never Order in Bulk to Save Money.

Buying a large number of sanding belts in order to get a better deal is not always a “proactive” choice. It can risk having the joints age out and break within the next year or two. Buy a year’s worth and no more for the best results.

Avoid “Close-Out” Sales and Unknown Manufacture Dates

Generally, purchasing sanding belts at a close-out or clearance sale is not a good gamble. This is because they have a shelf life, and those trying to be sold in desperation are probable close to their shelf life date. Also, don’t purchase sandpaper belts if you cannot confirm the date of manufacture. If you do not know how old they are, you can’t know if they still retain any value or quality. Just always be sure you are buying NEW product.

Always Store in a Safe and Dry Location

You want to keep your sander belts in a place that will not be disturbed or damaged. This area should ideally be temperature-controlled, or at least dry at all times. Low humidity levels are the best environment for such tools. Consider an air-conditioned room or garage.

New Belts that Break May Be Defective

If your new belt breaks right at the seam within 90 days of owning it, it is most likely due to a manufacture error or defect. In this case, the manufacturer should replace the belt for you. Just be sure to keep your broken item in case you must show it to them first. For this reason, it is also important to locate the contact information of the manufacturer before purchasing new belts.