No more tedious saddle-sanding by hand? (belt sander)

kissing

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I recently acquired this inexpensive belt sander, and have found it super convenient for making saddles!

The belt sander (top) can shave down height and do some shaping (rounding corners, etc), while the disc sander is great for shortening to length!

Of course, some care had to be taken as saddles are quite small (I had to wear some rubber gloves in case I sand my fingers) and materials get shaven off very fast (I messed up my first one by removing too much material). But once familiar, it sure beats sanding for ages and ages getting a saddle blank to shape.

Once I get it roughly within the dimensions I want, can hand-sand to finish.

Is using this sort of tool somewhat common in luthiery? Are there better/other ways?
 
Save your fingers... Get a little piece of wood about 3x3 and about 1/2 thick and square it up on the disk sander. Then use double sided carpet tape on the edge of this wood piece to hold the saddle blank to disk sand it. Works good for nuts too.
 
I recently acquired this inexpensive belt sander, and have found it super convenient for making saddles!

The belt sander (top) can shave down height and do some shaping (rounding corners, etc), while the disc sander is great for shortening to length!

Of course, some care had to be taken as saddles are quite small (I had to wear some rubber gloves in case I sand my fingers) and materials get shaven off very fast (I messed up my first one by removing too much material). But once familiar, it sure beats sanding for ages and ages getting a saddle blank to shape.

Once I get it roughly within the dimensions I want, can hand-sand to finish.

Is using this sort of tool somewhat common in luthiery? Are there better/other ways?

Yes, that is a super handy tool. I was trying to picture you holding the saddle over the speeding belt. I wonder if you could use hot glue or CA to attach it to a larger piece of wood. The sandpaper could zip through your gloves and your skin before you know what's happening.
 
Yes, that is a super handy tool. I was trying to picture you holding the saddle over the speeding belt. I wonder if you could use hot glue or CA or double-sided tape to attach it to a larger piece of wood. The sandpaper could zip through your gloves and your skin before you know what's happening.
 
Thanks for the suggestions!
Finding a way to hold the small saddle is going to be a challenge.
Not impossible with a bit of holding, but as you can see I've already worn a hole through my glove 😅

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First off remove the belt part's sanding table from its storage position on top of the belt. It can come useful if you stand the belt vertical there is a single bolt at the back you undo to flip it up. The table can then be bolted with the wide part 90 degrees to the vertical belt.
The open belt without the table on it is great for flattening necks and fretboards, and jointing.

I can not remember using the belt sander part's table. I may have tried it out when I first got the machine. The disk part of the machine easily takes care of most tasks that a table is useful for and I use that table a lot. Your mileage may vary.

Another useful thing I did was draw commonly used angles on the top of the table for the disk part 90, 75, 60 and 45 degrees. 75 complements my typical 15 degree headstock angle.
 
I’ve had a 6x48 for a long time, never use it for nuts or saddles. Hogging down necks? Yup.
But if you continue, try a Vise Grip sheet metal clamp (which I use for removing saddles from builders who have no clue how to fit saddles), save your fingers. And be careful wearing gloves when woodworking - had to be said.

The StewMac Nut and Saddle vise is THE most used tool for Tusq, for me. Also use it for soldering instrument/mic cables.
 
But if you continue, try a Vise Grip sheet metal clamp (which I use for removing saddles from builders who have no clue how to fit saddles), save your fingers. And be careful wearing gloves when woodworking - had to be said.
Thanks I'll explore this avenue :)
 
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