As a technician for Dixon Abrasives. Adam West analyzes each step in the sanding process. He checks wood for surface texture, appearance and its ability to accept a desired finish. "Each step of the process must compliment and improve the process before it," Adam says. "But each step of the process has impact on the later processes." In his blog series, Adam covers sanding processes with wide-belt sanders.
The 5" random orbital sander is an essential part of most woodworking facilities. The tool allows rapid removal of material to create a flat surface that is ready to accept stain or coatings. But their shortcomings are well known.
There seems to be a huge amount of voodoo involved in setting up segmented platen sanding machines. Techs and the folks running them just don’t understand the concepts, so they just play with the settings until something looks okay.
His rebuilt wide belt sanding machine might have taken the belt usage down to $800 a month, but it could not produce the quality of scratch over time that the new machine could. This “X” factor isn't easily calculated but represents far more savings than mere sandpaper.