Benchtop Belt Sander for Sanding Stakes & Hammers

I am planning to purchase a Benchtop Belt Sander for my Studio, which will primarily be used for Sanding/Shaping Stakes and Hammers - I have and buy a lot of old, worn and antique Stakes and Hammers and many of them will need quite a bit of work done on them, before they will be usable.

So, after having searched through Ganoksin’s Archive and not really finding an answer to my question, do any of you have experience with or advice on which Width of Belt (1" or 2") would be most useful in Sanding and Shaping Stakes & Hammers?

I know that a 1" Belt would be much easier to use on Curved Surfaces and in Tighter Areas, whereas a 2" Belt would be better on Flatter Surfaces and for Sanding Wider Areas much quicker, but am I mistaken about 2" Belts, could they also be used on Curved Surfaces, do they have enough “play” in the Belt to conform to the Curved Surface? I’m leaning more toward a 1" Belt since I know that they are good for use on Curved Surfaces, but if a 2" Belt will also do them, then I would be able to Sand/Shape the Stakes and Hammers much quicker. Any thoughts or advice?

I also like the 42" Belts when compared to the 30" Belts, as once the Back Plate and Table are removed, there will be a lot more Open Area to maneuver the Stake around in to Sand and Shape it…

Here are the (2) Benchtop Belt Sanders with Disc Sanders that I’m looking at:

Jet 6-Amp Benchtop 1" x 42" Belt & 8" Disc Sander

Jet 6.2-Amp Benchtop 2" x 42" Belt & 8" Disc Sander

Thank you for taking the time to read this question and for responding if you choose to do so…

Hi Jonathan,
I’ve refinished a lot of stakes in my lifetime, so I’m going to throw another path out to you.

But first, how bad of condition the stakes are will determine the best path forward in refinishing them. If they just have surface rust/discoloration that’s one scenario. Light hammer dings that’s another scenario. Deep gouges is another one. The other thing is the shape. A thin mandrel shape on a blow horn stake might be finished differently from a heavy 6" 1/2 round mushroom stake.

I’ve found the biggest challenge is to not over grind. That’s why I’d personally would stay away from either of those belt sanders. (That doesn’t mean that I don’t love 42" belt sanders. I do! I just wouldn’t use them for stake refinishing, because I’d grind away too much, put in gouges and mess the stakes up.)

For curved surfaces, because it’s very challenging to retain the same curve as what stake originally had when it was brand new, I generally prefer to shape them with a large mill file. Moving forward slowly and carefully. Then I’ll sand with a random orbital sander, in successively finer grits. I’ll often just leave the stake with a fine sanded finish, but if I want to polish it, then I’ll use a 6" buff with bobbing compound.

5" Dewalt Random Orbital Sander

At the school that I teach at all of the anvils are polished. When I first got the job, I was stumped by how my predecessor was able to accomplish that in a school situation. Then I found the stash of 6" diamond hones and learned that was how our anvils remained shiny and flat. These progressively finer 6" diamond hones rubbed over and over again on a flat steel surface with liberal amounts of water as a lubricant, will polish an anvil and keep it flat. (make sure that you dry the anvil afterwards so you don’t get any rust)

DMT (Diamond Machining Technology) 6-inch Diamond Whetstone Sharpening Stone with Plastic Case

The way that I refinish/polish flat or slightly rounded hammer heads (like a planishing hammer) is I grind/polish the heads with progressively finer cloth/rubber backed diamond lapidary wheels. That works like magic! Any lapidary grinder/polisher will do. I show the Cab King as a reference.

Refinishing stakes is a messy, labor intensive job. I don’t envy you! I hope that’s a bit of help!


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Thank you so much! Yes, you have been a great deal of help, though now I’m going to have to re-think about how I should proceed… Hmmmmmm…

The condition of my Stakes and Hammers runs the full gambit of possibilities, as some are near prefect and need very little to no work; some are only very slightly rusty and just need a very light sanding & buffing; some are compleatly rusty (though don’t appear to be pitted) and need to be cleaned, filed, sanded & buffed; some are lightly to moderately dinged and will need some filing, sanding & buffing; some are heavily dinged and will need a lot of filing, sanding & buffing (a few of these are Duplicates and I was thinking of Modifying them into a slightly Different Stake Form); and a few are Rough Castings and need to be ground down, filed, sanded and buffed.

I already have a Random Orbital Sander and never even thought of using it on my Stakes, I’ve used it on Flat Steel Blocks before and it works pretty well on them, so I’ll buy some more Fine Grit Papers and give it a try, thank you!

I will definitely get some of the Diamond Whetstones, they’ve been on one of my many Tool “Want Lists”, but I never had enough of a need for them before now. Thank you for sharing the anecdote about your school’s Anvils, that gives me some hope!

I have wanted to buy a Cabbing Machine for several years now, but something else always seems to step to the front of the line whenever I have to money to do it. So maybe now I will be more motivated to save up specifically for purchasing one, thank you!

I agree, it is definitely a labour intensive job, I’ve Polished some of mine from time to time and it is very messy, as well as being quite hot as well! Thank you once again for responding, I will take all of your suggestions and recommendations under consideration and will follow your advice too!

I don’t think I’d buy a lapidary grinder just to refinish hammers, but they are handy for grinding things other than rock and stone. I don’t have a bench grinder right now, so I use my lapidary grinder like a bench grinder for fine tuning various steel tools in my shop. The best part is that by water cooling the steel it never gets too hot.

There’s no one path with refinishing stakes, so whatever works for you Jonathan is the best way to go.

When I first got my current job and before I found those diamond hones, I had a student assistant take out some hammer dings with a hand held belt sander. We took an anvil outside. I showed him what to do and I went back inside to the rest of my students. When I checked up on him later, I discovered that he had ground a huge divet into the anvil. I was in shock. I said (name omitted), “You’re a Presidential Scholar, a genius by any definition. What were you thinking? The only way to do this is to just hold the belt sander in one spot and not move it.” He said, “Well, I’m not really a hands on kind of genius.” That has remained to be my favorite student quote of all time.

You must be quite a shopper! Old stakes are hard to find! Best of luck!!


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I have a diamond and resin lapidary lath that goes from 100 grit to 3000 grit on the same shaft. They do a good job of grinding, sanding and prepolishing and then I finish on cerium oxide. I also use the resin wheels to pre-polish metal, especially my polished steel tools. It works great. To buy this equipment just to polish steel would probably be a bit much, like about $1,800. You can buy various compounds made for steel and a hard spiral sewn buff or even felt that will do a good job of keeping things polished. You can find them in many places, I usually just drive to DICO in Utica and buy direct from them. You do have to spend $100. Be sure to only use one kind of compound on each buff.

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Y’all all have a bigger budget than I have. I can only tell you my experiences. For hammer heads, I have used emery paper and hand sanded up to ~400 or 600 grit and then used crocus cloth and maybe then buffed on my standard jewelry buffer. I might have used a very light touch on a standard grinding wheel used for steel lathe tools first on those hammers, then some hand sanding and then the buffer. You can use a dedicated wheel, but I might have used bobbing compound, then tripoli and rouge. Probably not ideal, but it worked. I got a very rusty foot long piece of railroad track for an anvil for $8 and I spent a lot of time using an old, very heavy chrome-colored, metal-housing belt sander. I think I used silicon carbide belts, 80>220>400>1000, on that. Just turned the sander over on a table and held the piece of track up to it. Sometimes I put the track down and hand held the sander. If you tighten up the belt, you get less curve and you can get a little more by loosening it or pushing harder, up to the point where the belt starts to slip. My anvil ended up with a gentle curve at right angles to the long axis, but because the long axis of a piece of track is flat, there wasn’t any curve there, because you just keep moving the sander back and forth and it basically stays flat. Trust me, if you use one, you will see how it works, and you can stop and check and stay pretty flat or develop the curve you want. Use a steel ruler if you need to. Tolerances for forging metal aren’t that close in my experience. When you’re charging $1000/piece, you will have the money to buy a nearly optically flat surface. It isn’t fast work, even with the 80 grit belt on a rusty piece of track. I could smell metal for several hours and my mucus ran black. I didn’t suffer any ill effects, I was in an open garage, but today I would wear a mask. I used what I had, and that sander was purchased for some wood working task. That one finally died, but I have another that’s a little newer that I used on a railroad spike to make a spoon anvil and if I run into another possible stake, I might haul it out again. Sanding isn’t rocket science and there are so many tools I want to buy that I wouldn’t, Jonathan, pay $600+ for something I wouldn’t use as much as stakes, anvils, hammers, etc. An 80 grit belt on any used sander you could buy would sand any steel fine. I just did three clicks, two to get the prices of your two proposed sanders and one on FB Marketplace, where I scrolled down to see that the low range prices for various kinds of belt sanders, from a Wen 1 inch to the 3 and 4 inch belt sanders I’m talking about was $50 to $150, maybe some are plus shipping ($20-40?). I would say enlarge your search. Yes, the used ones might break or you might even get cheated out of your cash, but this has happened to me about 2% of the time and the rest of the time I save a lot of money. Even if I were using it to sand jewelry, too, I’d get the used and upgrade later if needed, after the cheap one paid for itself. Just sayin’…

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I too have been coveting a belt sander…i am wanting to find a good variable speed one…


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I tend to use a piece of leather left over from making guitar straps. I charged up the leather with bobbing compound and rub the hammer face, peen, dome into the leather. Since I am not looking for hard edges this works fine for me.


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Thank you, I agree, I wouldn’t buy one for just Refinishing Hammers, as I have some Rough that I’d like to make Cabochons of one day too, though it will most likely be quite a while before I do…

LOL! That quote is hilarious! I have known a great many people who would measure up to that quote, truly brilliant people, but most of them wouldn’t be able to put together an unfolded cardboard box without help… :wink: I have never really understood how some people can go through life not knowing how to work with their hands, even on a basic level, but I have seen it time and again. One young man that I had helping me with my current job in the HVAC Service Industry, didn’t even know how to use a Phillips Screwdriver (No, unfortunately I am not exaggerating), all his father ever did with him was play Baseball, he was determined that his son was going to be a Pro Baseball Player and that was it, so he never did anything else with him, just Baseball and only Baseball. (Shaking My Head) I handed him the screwdriver and asked him to unscrew the screws in a door and open it and he stared at it for a while and then tried to pry the door open with the screwdriver, so I pointed to the screws and the screwdriver and said “no, use the screwdriver to unscrew the screws first” - I received a blank stare and after several feeble attempts, I eventually had to show him how to do it and then he did, though it was clearly very awkward for him - a few months later after working with me and he was Tool Proficient! :slight_smile:

I tend to be my friends go-to guy for almost any do-it-yourself projects that they may have started and cannot figure out how to finish. I have helped them with everything from Re-Roofing their house, installing sheet-metal Plenums in place of Raccoon torn flexible Plenums in a very tight crawl space in a Victorian House, Plumbing work, Electrical work, Landscaping, Tree-Trimming, etc, etc, etc… Sometimes it’s not best idea in the world to let people know what you know how to do… :wink:

Yeah, I’m “quite a shopper” alright… I spend way too much money on my Tools!!! :wink: Anyway, as far as my Stakes and Hammers go, I have been searching for and collecting them for close to (18-20) years now, so it’s taken quite a while to put together my collection. I have around (18-20+) of the larger Dixon Stakes (Mostly T-Stakes) and around (30+) of their small Heads and Stake Holders, a few Craftool Stakes, a few small Augustus Rose Stakes and several unmarked Stakes. My Hammers are along similar lines to my Stakes. I have around (20+) Dixon Hammers, several Gesswein and Craftool Hammers, probably (8-10+) Peddinghaus Hammers, several different German Hammers, a few Pexto Hammers and several unmarked antique/vintage Hammers. Totals are (85) larger Stakes with (29) being T-Stakes, (4) small to large Sinusoidal, (4) Snarling Irons and (11) various Stake Holders; (72) small Head Stakes; (120+) Hammers, including a few Horn, Rawhide, Wood and Delrin Hammers - I have a real love for Arts & Crafts Copperwork, and dabble in making some of it myself, as well as repairing some of the pieces that I find that are damaged, which is why I’ve been putting together this collection of tools…

Thanks again for your comments and advice!

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Thank you so much! I will definitely look into some of the Steel Polishing Compounds that you mentioned, it’s always a good idea to have some Metal-Specific Compounds around the Studio, especially for keeping your Tools in good order and I am in dire need of that! Thanks again!

Thank you for your comments! I agree, I would rather not spend $600.00+ on a Belt Sander, though from all of the reviews that I’ve read, the smaller inexpensive Sanders don’t last very long and have various issues and I would rather not have to keep buying another one to replace a broken one, though as you states, buying several less expensive ones over time is still cheaper than buying an expensive one now… I will definitely look into it, as I could use that $600.00 for other more important purchase… Thank you once again!

Thank you! A Variable Speed Belt Sander, now that would definitely come in handy, though I imagine at a pretty expensive cost too! Please do post any info on it, if you find one! Thank you once again!

Thank you so much! I will give this a try, as I have quite a bit of Leather scrap in boxes from other pursuits and Bobbing Compound is always in my Studio! Thank you once again!


My lapidary saw/grinder/polisher looks like a piece of $%#!, but it is my most treasured tool, at least my most sentimental one. I started making jewelry as a teenager. When I was 16 years old I got a job as a dishwasher. I saved up until I could buy a '63 VW Convertible Bug for $300 and a lapidary saw/grinder/polisher. Now 50-something years later the Bug is long gone (a huge regret!!), but my lapidary grinder is still with me. About 15 years ago I gave it a refresh. I took it apart and replaced all of the old grinding wheels with diamond wheels. I even was able to change the wheel spacing to squeeze in another grit wheel. Like I said doesn’t look very good, but it works great and still has the original belt drive electric motor.

Jonathan, I’ll bet like RoyJohn says, that there are some great deals on used tools out there to be had. We know that you’re a good shopper.

One thing to add about the 42" belt sanders that you showed. I work next door to our school’s Woodshop. Those folks explained to me that with those style of sanders, belt drive lasts longer than direct drive. I bought a direct drive 42" belt sander from Grizzly Tools that looks very similar to what you showed. It’s super noisy and I’ve had to replace the bearings on it twice. It’s hard to find belt drive 42" sanders these days. Most of them are direct drive like what you showed. There’s probably not much that you can do about it, but it’s good to know before you make a purchase.

Have a great day and best of luck in your tool shopping!!


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Nor for stakes - but for hammers, I find a split lap to be the best tool. I keep a lap charged with either white diamond tripoli or Le-a.
Judy h


Jonathan and Jeff,
Thanks for your kind comments. Turning 76 has made me embrace some of my foibles a little more and become a little more open about my skinflinty nature. Joanathan, like you, I have had a ball collecting various tools, many used and from various tool sales, etc. I have bought some things new, too. I have some hammers, many files and a lot of various specialty pliers and a lot of setting burs which came cheap from an estate sale. Because I’m a collector on a fixed income, I’ve had to be somewhat strict about spending money, esp. since my wife and I are both now retired and want to travel in the USA and abroad two or three times annually going forward. That’s new since she retired this past year…I’ve been retired for 14 years.

As far as jewelry tools are concerned, sometimes IDK why they have to be so expensive. I can watch those RIO videos of the expensive hammers and sinusoidal stakes and see how easy it makes things, but then I get to thinking how else I could do it. I also recall that the vibro tumblers from jewelry suppliers are the SAME machines as the ones that reloaders use, but on the gun websites, they are a good bit cheaper. So I’m kind of suspicious of those markups. I bought a set of bezel setting tools and spend a lot of time polishing them…I think they were $20, about a year ago…Rob bought the $85 set about the same time and it didn’t need polishing. I had fun, but then it got tedious and Rob had a little more money than time and had jewelry to make, whereas mine are as yet just an exhibit. I’ll bezel set some small round stones, but I haven’t yet gotten a “round tuit” yet. So, yes, sometimes there are two sides to the coin, diff’rnt strokes and so on.

 As far as the belt sander, they can be very useful for production work. There's a thread on that here somewhere that you might want to read. Amazon and other reviews are your friends, as everything eventually breaks, but is it in three weeks or two years or ten years? I like to do a time value of money calculation. If I buy the cheap sander for $100 and leave the other $519 in the IRA, and the cheap sander breaks in one to two does this all work out if the $619 sander breaks in ten years? And so on...If you just like the security of knowing it's a beautiful tool and won't break for a while, I understand that, too. Another issue about the sanders is where you are going to be able to source the belts and how long they are going to last. I'd probably want to get one in a size that is mass produced, so that the belts would be easily and cheaply available as well as the parts.I'm not a Rio hater, but there are lots of their things or even Contenti's or Gesswein's which I am not going to buy if I can figure a way not to. Maybe tomorrow I'll hit the lottery and fly out there and buy one of everything Rio has got. Here endeth the too long rant which I am too tired to edit tonight. -royjohn

Congrats on your retirement royjohn! Have fun seeing the world! It’s a big place.

I’m 67 and I can’t wait to retire. A good buddy called his retirement, his rewirement. It’s not that I’m going to quit working, but I’ll be working differently and on other things. That’s what you’re saying too!

As far as jewelry tools go, yes, you are right royjohn. Many tools are taken from other industries and rebranded as a jewelry tools and are sold for a higher price.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how jewelry tools come to the market. Quite often new tools that Rio Grande, Gesswein, Pepe, etc. sell, come from folks who use the tools and figure out a way to make things easier or differently.

If anyone in the forum ever comes up with an idea for a new jewelry tool that you think the world needs and that you’re the person to make it, feel free to reach out to me individually. I’m happy to talk more about the process about bringing a new jewelry tool to market.


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