How to Operate a Stroke Sander
Stroke sanders are used to sand large pieces of wood like table tops and doors. The stroke sander uses a large sand belt that rotates across a flat table. The belt sizes range from 6 inches wide to 200 inches long or more. The stroke sander helps to keep the sanded surface of the wood flat and even, and avoid the dips and grooves that can easily happen when one sands a large surface with a belt sander. If you are preparing to use a stroke sander for the first time, here are some things you should know so you can operate it effectively.
The piece of wood you will be sanding is placed onto a table that slides back and forth under the sanding belt. The piece of wood should be at least as wide and long as the belt (in this case, if the belt is six inches wide, the piece of wood has to be at least six inches wide and long). This helps you maintain control of the wood to prevent the sanding belt from grabbing hold of it and send it flying across the room.
The piece of wood must fit just under the belt so you can properly sand it. There are controls on top of most stroke sanders that allow you to adjust the height of the sanding table. You should be careful not to touch the handles on the side of the stroke sander – those handles are used to tighten and adjust the belt when you replace an old belt with a new one.
Place the piece of wood you want to sand on the sanding table. The wood piece should be pushed up against the head of the table to help keep it securely in place while you are sanding. Turn the stroke sander on and carefully slide the wood under the sanding belt. The sanding side of the belt is face down so you'll need to press down on the top of the rotating belt to force the sanding side down onto the piece of wood.
Do not use your hand to press down on the belt.
Instead, use a wooden trowel that is as wide as the sanding belt on the stroke sander. You have to push the table back and forth under the belt while pressing the trowel down on the belt. You should run the trowel up and down the length of the wood (while continually pressing down on the belt) until the entire surface has been sanded to your specifications.