Top positive review
66 people found this helpful
on December 29, 2009
I'm impressed. First, let me qualify my evaluation of this machine by saying that I am a (very) long-time veteran professional woodworker and I have a shop full of really good tools. I never buy junk to "save money."
That said, I'm impressed with this tool. For a lot of years I've been using my drill press with drum sanders to do what I bought this tool for. For years, I've been looking for drum sanders that are at least round, if not even (way too much to ask for) concentric to their arbor shafts. For the last few years that more and more spindle sanders have been showing up in the tool catalogs, I've been reading the reviews. I was not impressed, although I was ready to try one just because a lot of my work involved standing at that drill press being irritated by the drum sanders I could find.
Along came the Ridgid EB 4424. My favorite (by far) contractor's table saw is my Ridgid TS 3650, which is an amazing tool that brought Ridgid tools to my attention a few years ago. So when I saw the EB 4424 in one of my woodworker's magazines. I then went on to read the reviews on the machine and they were about 90% positive. Very positive. So when our local H-D here in Hawai`i had the tool for sale at the Mainland price of $199, I went for it. Have I said that I'm impressed?
Yesterday I started in on a new project, a case for another of my stained-glass-and-fine-woods lamps. Many of these cases include lots of compound curves. I set up the sander (took about 3 minutes) and tried if for a few basic operations. Within a few hours, I found myself using this thing more than any other single tool in my well-endowed shop.
When I bought it, I felt, yeah, it was also a belt sander, but hey, I had a big stationary belt sander so why would I ever need this one? A gimmick, right?
I can't express how cool it is to have this small belt sander available with it's tilt table and almost instant belt-changes (for different grits, in my case) available while leaving my stationary sander intact and not having to constantly change settings.
OK, back to the spindle sander. It takes about one minute to change the machine from belt to spindle mode, and about the same amount of time to change drum sizes. Before, I would have to set up my drill press with a special table clamp-on jig and then suffer through the wobbly, imprecise sanding drums available for this purpose. Those days are over! What a pleasure to have this precision machine for sanding curves at exactly 90 degrees to the work surface, or any angle I would want by adjusting the nice, flat, generous-size table.
I could go on and on, but just look through the existing reviews and see for yourself. Take heed that the few people who give any product one star because they just felt it was a "piece of junk," you have to consider the source. Yes, there are lemons. So take it back to H-D and get a replacement. No sweat. But many of the negative reviews on any product need to be considered along with the positive ones. Consider the source for the reviews. Was the writer a weekend tool user who had no experience with power tools? Was it a professional who had some valid comparisons with which to author a review?
Oh, one more thing, when I used my drill press with drum sanders, the sanding operation made a huge mess of sawdust flying in every direction. The Ridgid has a 2-1/2" dust-collection port that fits any standard shop vac, and connects into any shop dust-collection system with a standard adapter. While not a perfect solution, this dust collector picks up like 90% of the dust. There is no dust in the air, and only a small amount accumulates on the worktable. As dust collection systems go, I love it!
Bottom line: Ridgid has come up with another winner. If you have a use for this substantial and flexible machine, go for it!