Woodworking Techniques and Advice
Table A allows you to compare abrasive belt mineral sizes based on several different grading systems. Please note that the P-designated belts (European grades) are a different mineral size than the X-designated belts (U.S. grades] except for 180 grit.
My first two articles provided depth of scratch and material removal information. Based on the depth of scratch, material removal data and the machine that you have, you can now determine what grit sequence should be used.
The biggest operating problem that I witnessed during countless plant visits was the use of excessive feed speeds. This resulted in abrasive belt loading, burning, streaking and shortened belt life, along with poor sanding quality. There were no guidelines provided by abrasive belt or machinery manufacturers.
During the last decade, I have analyzed the sanding systems of more than 400 different companies that involved more than 1,000 wide belt sanders. I soon became aware of a distinct pattern of operating problems irrespective of the product being manufactured or the size of the company. The following are universal problems that you should endeavor to avoid.
I can still remember as a child, whining to my parents about my big brother and simply being told to “shape up or ship out.” I hated those words. Being the youngest, it always felt like I was the one being picked on. I was only acting up out of self-defense. Why was I always the one who had to get his act together? Shouldn’t it be the one who knew better and was inflicting the pain? Since I was the underling, I didn’t hold the power. I was just looking for a way to coexist with those that did. And, decades later, I find myself in the same boat. Aside from being an adult, the only thing that has changed is the cast of characters.
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