Whether you're removing a large amount of stock or just making the finest changes, this Jet belt/disc sander is definitely up to the task. A 3/4-horsepower motor supplies all the power you need for serious stock removal, and the platen has a graphite sheet that helps keep things cool, so you get more life out of both the sander and the belts.
The 9-inch disc sander's table is a generous 7-1/2-by-12-inch cast iron surface, with preset stops at 45 and 90 degrees for reliable angles and nice miter gauge T-slots parallel and perpendicular to the disc. But even better, we think, is the belt sander that operates both horizontally and vertically -- and everywhere in between. The table isn't as large as that of the disc sander, but it's really not necessary, and it functions nicely as a work stop in the horizontal position. The only thing we don't like -- and it's a matter of preference, really -- is that we found the power switch awkward to reach when using the belt sander in the flat position, as it's on the other side of the tool.
Adjustments are all quick and easy, especially changing out the belt. All it takes is a flip of the quick-release belt tension lever, and you'll be back to work in a minute. Tracking is an easy task as well, one we appreciate that Jet made so simple. First, pull up the handle of the tracking lock, then just turn the adjusting knob until the belt is centered on the platen. Lock the handle again, but watch carefully: You may need to fine-tune with the knob again, as the belt tends to shift slightly to the left when the tracking lock is engaged again. Once centered, though, the belt will stay put, thanks to the rubber-coated drive drum that keeps a good grip on the sanding belt.
One of the things we liked best about this sander is its clean dust-collection setup. One 4-inch port on the base directs the lion's share of sawdust into your system, whether you're using the belt or the disc. There's even an integrated blast gate to direct the suction to whichever sander you're working.
This is a hefty machine, and though it's possible to bolt it to a workbench or buy a separate stand for it, it feels very stable when simply placed on a flat surface like a workbench, and in a smaller shop, that's a great advantage.
Fit and finish are, of course, excellent, as with any Jet tool, and any woodworker will find a thousand uses for this versatile, hardworking machine in the shop. --Kris Jensen-Van Heste