If you’re an especially keen DIYer or carpenter, then you might well want to add a belt sander to your arsenal. This heavy-duty piece of kit can be used to sand very rough surfaces, for trimming, and for rounding and shaping.
Belt sanders safety
As belt sanders are quite powerful and can cause a fair bit of damage if not handled properly, it’s important that you take measures to ensure you’re working as safely as possible.
- Make sure you buy your belt sander from a reputable dealer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- It’s important to register a new belt sander with the manufacturer so that you can be contacted if a safety notice or recall is required. It also makes it easier for you to return a faulty product or order a repair. To register any of your appliances, regardless of age, visit Register My Appliance.
- Use our free online checker to see if you have any recalled electrical items.
- Check that your appliance has a UK plug; if it doesn’t, don’t try to use a UK travel adaptor. Get in touch with the retailer and ask them to fit a UK plug.
- Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling) or if it feels too hot to touch. If you have fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping then contact a registered electrician to investigate.
- Any socket you plan to use to plug in a belt sander should have RCD (residual current device) Protection. An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. If you don’t have RCD protection in your fuse box for your sockets, consider using an RCD plug to protect you and your property from serious appliance faults.
- Before you start work, ensure that the cord is long enough to easily reach the area you’re working in – if it isn’t, plug the belt sander into a fully-unwound extension lead to extend your reach.
Using your belt sander safely
- Belt sanders can be very loud, so be sure to wear hearing protection as well as goggles and a dust mask when using yours.
- The item you’re sanding should be properly secured before you begin.
- Don’t push down while working – the weight of the sander should do the hard work for you.
- Always switch off – or even better unplug – the sander when replacing or adjusting the belt, and ensure that the plate underneath is clean and free from dust.
- Using a belt sander on metal creates sparks; to prevent fire, you should ensure that the sander is free of all sawdust and empty the dust bag before using it on a metal surface.
- Work slowly in the same direction, overlapping passes and allowing the sander to go past the end without dipping.
- Keep the cord well out of the path of the sander as you work – draping it over your shoulder is safest.
- Always unplug your sander when it’s not in use, and store it somewhere dry and frost-free.