I have always wanted a bench-top sander. Too many time I have used a variety of scrap blocks and clamps to clamp my belt sander to my work bench to use as a bench-top sander. I wanted to make some cleats for the catboat I was building and trying to hand sand all of that cherry would be tiresome work. It was time for a new tool.
I did my research and read all the tool reviews. I wanted the best possible tool for the least possible money. I set my ceiling at about $200. As usual, I started my hunt at Craftsman. My search landed me on a 3/4 HP belt/disc model for $246. That was too much for my needs. I hopped over to Amazon and found a Powertec model with all of the same specs. And the same setup. And the same……wait a minute. This is the exact same thing as the craftsman! I suspect Powertec makes this tool for Craftsman. The Powertec BD6900 was $200 on Amazon and with my Prime Membership was free shipping. Done deal!
Amazon shipped out lighting fast as always. I got the sander and it was mostly assembled. I set it up in it spot in my shop and flipped the switch. The motor buzzed, but no movement on the belt or disc. It sounded like it wanted to, but just would not budge. I shut the power off and tried to move the belt by hand. It would move, but was clearly binding in the rotation. I spent the next 15 minutes looking through the instruction manual (I suppose I should pay attention to those things) and taking off a couple of covers on the machine. I found nothing in the book and nothing in the machine that would cause it to bind. If it wasn’t resolved pretty quickly, it was going back in the box and this review would have had a VERY different tone.
I powered the unit back on and used a piece of scrap would to help the belt along a bit. It got past its binding spot and spun to life. It made a rubbing sound as the belt spun for the first 30 seconds, but then that sound stopped and the belt and disc seemed to be turning freely. I shrugged my shoulders and laid into the belt with a big hunk of mahogany I was working on. The sander performed flawlessly. I have since put at least a couple hours of use into it and it has been outstanding. The rubbing issue has not come back. I suspect it was something left behind during the manufacturing that just shook loose or got sanded down. I will update this review if anything changes.
I highly recommend this sander. If you must have the name brand, I completely understand that. I appreciate Craftsman and their backing of their products. The Craftsman model is 22500. If you don’t care about the Craftsman name, go for the Powertec BD6900. You will not be disappointed.