In setting up a woodshop, I always thought I’d end up with the standard Norm setup — a belt/disk sander combo and a separate oscillating spindle sander — but I’ve read that the motors on the lower-end spindle units can stall out when sanding, and I can’t afford the $1,000+ high-end shop sanders. I read the reviews of this Ridgid oscillating edge belt/spindle sander and I had doubts about the belt sander part, but I figured at worst I’d end up with an affordable oscillating spindle sander.
The unit assembled easily. The sanders are square to the base at the 90 and 45 degree stops. A hand nut with a left-handed thread holds the spindle sander and the belt sander on — both units oscillate when running. Once I adjusted it, the tracking of the belt was true.
In operation I sanded some 3/4 and 12/4 oak. On the smaller stock I used both sanding units, and the performance was great, but you’ll need to hook up a shop vacuum or a dust collection system to keep the unit free of sawdust.
With the larger stock I was sanding down four identical 3/4″ pieces to the same dimensions; I taped the parts together with double-sided tape to get the 12/4 part. The sander would stall with very firm pressure, but these were pieces with a large contact area on the sander. The sanding job for the larger piece ran about 30 minutes with no problems that a belt cleaner couldn’t take care of.
I hear that it’s hard to find the sanding material. I found the spindle refills at Home Depot, but I didn’t see the belts there. I did find a 4×24 belt, but the joint feels like a speed bump when sanding. All parts fit neatly on the tool.
The sander sells for $200 at Home Depot.