Skil Belt Sander
Friday 12 November 2010
Anthony Bailey finds out if the new belt sander from Skil is a smooth operator
The budget end of the tool market is often a place to avoid; the old adage you get what you pay for is more often than not, true. The Skil belt sander 7650 may well be a glorious exception to that rule.
It has all the features you would expect from today's belt sander: easy change belt, adjustable front handle, a speed control and extraction fitting. It also comes with the usual dust bag. The trigger is lock-on, essential when using it in inverted mode with the inversion clamps. The casing is a tough plastic, with rubber overmould grips on the front and rear handles
Intriguingly, this fellow comes with something called the Equalizer: no, not your very own enforcer, but a plate that fits to the bottom of the sander and under the belt, providing the role of a sanding frame to prevent dig-in. It's easy as pie to fit: just release the belt and slide under and it locks into place. Not only that, it works very well. It's not a true sanding frame, but does help with stability, and will prevent the worst of dig-ins. The belt tracking works well on the front wheel via an easy to turn knob, and the speed control is with easy reach of your thumb (for right-handers only).
What can I say, except that I really liked it. It feels comfortable to use, is a little noisy, but does the job very well, and actually feels quite robust. The pro in his workshop may want to spend more, but for the DIYer and amateur in his woodshop, it's ideal!