Here’s my review of the Central Machinery 1 x 30″ bench-top belt sander from Harbor Freight tools.
I got this tool in 2002 when it was on sale for $19.99. I used a 20% off coupon and got it for $15.99. As I recall, the retail price at the time was $34.99. At the time of this writing, it’s $54.99, but they still go on sale for $19.99 and 20% off coupons are still around.
I run a small fabrication shop in Sacramento, CA, and this is arguably the handiest tool in the shop. I use it every day! I sharpen knives, chisels and pencils with it. I sand off the ends of cut threads and deburr cut metal with it. I even use it to sharpen drill bits and chamfer cut wood. When a grinder or a saw is just too much, this is just right. This is the first belt sander I ever owned, and while I’ve since bought a Ridgid oscillating belt sander, this has not outlived it’s usefulness. It even has a place to plug in a vacuum for dust collection.
I originally bought this when I was doing a lot of wood carving and needed an easy way smooth off my knife marks. It quickly became the way I sharpen my carving knives too. Recently it quit working on me and I noticed the power switch was quite warm. Upon further investigation, I discovered that after 14 years, the power switch went bad. I could have taken my 20% off coupon to Harbor Freight and got a new one, but fixing it was well within my capabilities and gave me subject matter for a YouTube video. You can see the repair video below.
This thing is really handy and if it ever dies in some way I can’t repair, I’m definitely buying another! Of course I’ll wait till it’s on sale and use a 20% off coupon.