Questions about spindle sander

Roxy13

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Hello, hopefully the good people here can guide me before I purchase one.

1. How important is a beveling top to you?

2. For those who have one that also has the oscillating belt sander, what do you use that for?

3. Best grits of sandpaper sleeves?

Thank you very much for your assistance. I went to see the Rigid oscillating belt/spindle sander yesterday as one popped up nearby, barely used, for $100. But, when I got there it wasn't running! It would be nice if people actually tested their tools before putting them for sale. He called me this morning and then offered it to me for $80. It could be the switch, but it could be the motor so I'm going to pass on that one.
 

larryguitar

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Having one of those RIDGID's, I wouldn't buy anything else. Easy to change configurations, powerful and fairly accurate. It's one of my most-used tools, and if it broke I'd be in the car to get another within an hour.

1. I never (or at least almost never) slant the bed
2. Neck shaping
3. Everything from 80 to 400, if you can get them.

Larry
 

Roxy13

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I was thinking the belt sander might be good to have for necks. I have regular belt/disc sander, but it doesn't oscillate obviously. I use it most often for shaping nuts actually.
 

Kennoyce

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Hello, hopefully the good people here can guide me before I purchase one.

1. How important is a beveling top to you?

2. For those who have one that also has the oscillating belt sander, what do you use that for?

3. Best grits of sandpaper sleeves?

Thank you very much for your assistance. I went to see the Rigid oscillating belt/spindle sander yesterday as one popped up nearby, barely used, for $100. But, when I got there it wasn't running! It would be nice if people actually tested their tools before putting them for sale. He called me this morning and then offered it to me for $80. It could be the switch, but it could be the motor so I'm going to pass on that one.
1. I've never even thought about using the beveling top, I just keep it flat at all times and have never had a reason to need to bevel it (though I can think of other non guitar building reasons for using it).

2. I use the belt sander for pretty much everything, the belt portion is perfect for convex curves and I use it for that all the time, the spindle sander is perfect for concave curves, but in general, I just leave the belt attached and use the two ends of it as spindle sanders for the concave curves.

3. I use everything from 80 to 400, not sure how you could say what is best as obviously it depends on what you are doing with it.
 

DaveR

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I have the Ridgid, bought it new, use it for LOTS of operations both in furniture and guitars. It's one of my best tool purchases ever.

1. I do slant the bed at times, but not a whole lot on guitars. I did find it to be a great way to rough carve in a PRS style horn bevel with the guitar upside down on the table top, but the main plane of the top would need to still be in a flat state to work.

2. I use the belt sander for EVERYTHING and leave it attached most of the time. The only time I use a smaller spindle is when I HAVE to because of the size of an inside curve or inside hole. The belt sander takes the place of the largest spindle you would have on a dedicated spindle sander (the big roller on the left side of the sander is a large diameter.

For the curves of a body, you want the biggest diameter spindle you can get, makes it a lot easier to not get divots. On outside curves, I'll switch over to the platen of the belt sander and work against that flat spot which gives me more control. I've worked against the smaller diameter roller at the tail end of the belt sander as well, but it's less stable and tends to wobble a little.

I also use the entirety of the belt sander for removing band saw marks on the back of a rough cut neck, and to get it close to final thickness. I do this by attaching it to a wooden fence I built that will hold the neck square. I still do all the final shaping by hand. I also made a jig to taper headstocks.

Before I had a disc sander I tried to do a lot of dumb stuff (like shaping inlays and nuts) on the oscillating belt sander and would wind up flinging them across my shop. So this tool doesn't really take the place of one of those.

3. I got some spindle packs with 80 and 150 grits. I use 80 the most. My belts are also 80. Any sanding beyond 150, I do by hand with sandpaper wrapped over a big eraser as a flexible sanding block.

If I had more floor space and more money, I would purchase a large floor standing spindle sander and a medium sized oscillating edge sander. BUT, bang for the buck as an amateur luthier, you cannot go wrong with the Ridgid.
 

nuance97

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The Ridgid belt/spindle sander is a must for me! I use it constantly. The belt gets most of the use. I have all kinds of grit belts from 40 to 320. A 40 grit belt takes material off quick for fast shaping when you’re roughing something in. I like the tilting table even though I rarely use it...there are occasions when it is useful, but they’re rare. It’s good when you do need it however. If/when it dies I will immediately buy another
 

Roxy13

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I think you guys have sold me on the Rigid. I was looking at the Wen one as well since it's less money but I'm not sure how important the slot for a miter gauge might be and the Wen doesn't have one.


1596555978375.png
 

nuance97

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I actually like the miter slot, and use it periodically when I want to get a perfectly square angle. I’d go with the Ridgid seriously. You cannot go wrong with it

Plus the table in the Wen looks kinda small. The Ridgid is as small a table i’d want.
 

Roxy13

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I actually like the miter slot, and use it periodically when I want to get a perfectly square angle. I’d go with the Ridgid seriously. You cannot go wrong with it

Plus the table in the Wen looks kinda small. The Ridgid is as small a table i’d want.
It is smaller and it's plastic I think instead of aluminum.
 

DaveR

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I've never used the miter slot, but I can see the usefulness for certain things. It wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.

One of the reasons I want a real spindle sander with a cast iron table is the ability to better clamp jigs in place. They make all kind of magnetic hold downs, but they're useless on an aluminum table. And the Ridgid table has so much corrugation that clamping can be difficult. That being said, aluminum table is a million times better than plastic and I agree that I wouldn't want the table to be any smaller than the Ridgid. The Wen also appears to turn the opposite direction. Not sure if that would be better or worse for a right handed person. Would definitely be weird for me, just because I'm used to the other way.

I'd go Ridgid over Wen any day of the week, don't care what the price difference is.
 

Roxy13

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DaveR

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You really want that largest spindle too. Bigger units have a 3" and sometimes a 4". Ridgid compromises with the belt sander by having one end of it being a 3" (I think) roller. I use that larger diameter a lot. At this price point, I'd say go with the Ridgid, but this one looks like it has decent features.

Also, dust collection on the Ridgid is pretty decent hooked to a 2-1/4" shop vac hose. And get one of those crepe rubber sanding belt cleaning sticks. Makes a huge difference on life of the sanding sleeves and belts.

One problem I had with the Ridgid, the main mechanism for holding the sleeves and belt sander on is a reverse threaded 5 point star knob covered in rubber. It's meant to be hand operated. I have found that it torques down in use, and I had a hard time getting it loose with my hands. For a while I used pliers but that was starting to tear it up. So I made a little wooden tool at the drill press that works like a charm.

7A692EFA-ECEC-4F12-B9D0-6ECD6DEEB82C.jpeg
 

Roxy13

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Yes, for whatever reason the smallest Wen one comes with a 3" drum as well and yet the larger one does not. I was wondering if I could buy that 3" drum and throat plate and use them on the one with the larger table.
 

DaveR

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Yes, for whatever reason the smallest Wen one comes with a 3" drum as well and yet the larger one does not. I was wondering if I could buy that 3" drum and throat plate and use them on the one with the larger table.
Don't hold your breath on it being compatible.

Also, I wouldn't expect that cast iron table to be high quality at that price. Wen is a very budget tool maker. Not that Ridgid is high end, but in my experience it's up a rung or two on the ladder of tool makers compared to Wen. Hell, for all I know, they might all come out of the same Chinese factory.
 

Stephmon

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One problem I had with the Ridgid, the main mechanism for holding the sleeves and belt sander on is a reverse threaded 5 point star knob covered in rubber. It's meant to be hand operated. I have found that it torques down in use, and I had a hard time getting it loose with my hands. For a while I used pliers but that was starting to tear it up. So I made a little wooden tool at the drill press that works like a charm.
That would be my biggest complaint as well.

The more that I think about it though... I actually use the ROSS less and less, as time goes by. The one procedure that I find it really indispensable for is the headstock to fretboard transition on Fender-style necks (and I currently have none planned).


In large part, I guess, because I have a long-belt sander and a drum sanding accessory for my drill press.
 

SlingBlader

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You really want that largest spindle too. Bigger units have a 3" and sometimes a 4". Ridgid compromises with the belt sander by having one end of it being a 3" (I think) roller. I use that larger diameter a lot. At this price point, I'd say go with the Ridgid, but this one looks like it has decent features.

Also, dust collection on the Ridgid is pretty decent hooked to a 2-1/4" shop vac hose. And get one of those crepe rubber sanding belt cleaning sticks. Makes a huge difference on life of the sanding sleeves and belts.

One problem I had with the Ridgid, the main mechanism for holding the sleeves and belt sander on is a reverse threaded 5 point star knob covered in rubber. It's meant to be hand operated. I have found that it torques down in use, and I had a hard time getting it loose with my hands. For a while I used pliers but that was starting to tear it up. So I made a little wooden tool at the drill press that works like a charm.

View attachment 480371
That's brilliant! I have to make one. Same problem here. :)


That would be my biggest complaint as well.

The more that I think about it though... I actually use the ROSS less and less, as time goes by. The one procedure that I find it really indispensable for is the headstock to fretboard transition on Fender-style necks (and I currently have none planned).


In large part, I guess, because I have a long-belt sander and a drum sanding accessory for my drill press.
I agree with this. I use mine less and less, but certainly for Fender headstock transitions. For me there are two main flaws.

1. The amount of "stroke" is way too small. You still wear out just one small section of the belt or sleeve.
2. The platten on the belt sander is too short. I'd love to be able to true up the face of a neck, or even a headstock for that matter, but there are very wide gaps between the short platten and the outside drums which makes for an uneven surface.

Don't get me wrong, I like mine; but if I had to do it over again, I'd save up for a dedicated large belt sander and floor standing spindle sander.
 

DaveR

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Don't get me wrong, I like mine; but if I had to do it over again, I'd save up for a dedicated large belt sander and floor standing spindle sander.
Exactly where I'm at. Great tool for the price, no question about it. I would argue that a spindle sander is 100% essential for every level of scratch building. If I had it to do over, I'd pony up the cash for big tools. But maaaaan, I just looked at spindle sanders today and those are like $1500 for something decent. Ouch. Now that I'm getting older and have some extra money to throw at my hobbies, I tend to buy decent equipment. Just bought a SawStop table saw, but that is the cornerstone of any woodshop. A spindle sander is more a one trick pony, albeit a very necessary pony for what we do.
 

dcomiskey

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I got the full-size Jet spindle sander for a steal on CL a few years back. I love it. Only issue was the seller had lost some of the spindles, but had 3 that worked perfectly.

Anyway, I use it all the time for Fender-like headstocks and also pre-routing for bodies and necks, so I don't try to take too much wood off and run into tear-out issues. I'm sure the tabletop ones work great, but I really prefer having the large iron top. It just makes my life so much easier, especially when working on bodies.
 


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