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The Wet Belt Sander

Although it is sometimes used in other ways, the wet belt sander is primarily an edge grinding tool.  It consists of a motor that drives a belt; the glass is held so that the edge comes into contact with the belt.  The normal process is to start with a belt with a coarse grit and finish with a belt with a finer grit. 

Aside from making your own wet belt sander by converting a unit made for woodworking, there are two major options for purchasing a wet belt sanders:

1.  Table top models -- costing around $500 US to $800, these smaller units use a belt that's around 3" wide and from 24" to 41" in length.  For glass working, the 41" length with a 13" back plate is far preferable and will allow you to edge polish pieces up to 13" in length.  The major manufacturer is Covington.  Both diamond belts and silicon carbide belts can be used, but the silicon carbide tend to wear out fairly quickly.

2.  Floor models -- these larger units are more expensive (around $1500 US), but they have a larger belt (around 104" by 4" wide) and can be used to work larger pieces. There are a number of manufacturers, including CRLaurence, Bee, and Somaca.  These units will last a lifetime, and are sometimes available used from glass companies, etc.

Click here for information on wet belt sander safety.


Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

This tip adapted from posts on the Warm Glass board.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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