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A lot power
Jet Benchtop 6" x 48" Belt / 9" Disc Sander, 3/4HP, 1Ph, 115V, Model JSG-96
When it was time for a proper bench sander I opted to spend more in order to avoid the issues others have had with lesser brands. It bears noting that Jet's JSG-96 is at the bottom of their line, but even so it has spared me all of the problems cited by others with their Delta, Craftsman, Rikon, etc. Underpowered tools that won't adjust to square are common, but I've not experienced any difficulties of this nature with the JSG-96. Results meet expectations, and if they do not the problem is unfailing one of obvious operator error and is easily corrected. Warning, even at only 3/4 horse this tool will eat everything when outfitted with low-grit belts or discs; a nice touch for shaping and when rounding edges, but not so nice for knuckles and finger tips.
Negatives associated with this tool are not overwhelming, but you'll want to take them into consideration. First, there's price. For the money you could almost buy two of the lesser brands and then just muddle through with their aggravating limitations and, honestly, if money had been more of an issue I might have done just that. Belt tracking with this tool is good but short of perfect. Despite my close attention I inadvertently trim one of every few belts down from 6 to 5 inches. All's well that ends well, but it's not fun to watch ten dollars of belt inexplicably jump to the side and then vaporize. Finally, the base of this tool is plastic. Maybe this really is a benefit, especially for those who must rotate tools from storage to stand, but I'm nervous enough about the long-term prospects that I've mounted my tool to a plywood base and then do my lifting from there.
Whether or not one should select the JSG-96 depends upon a couple of factors. No question that this is a very good and stout tool (from the base up, at least; that plastic base still causes me to wince a little). I'm a busy and ambitious hobbyist and after the hours I've logged it's clear that this little monster will outlive me. On the other hand there's the matter of having 'too much' sander and then paying for it. I'll bet that even the amateur with a steady stream of overlapping projects could make do with something less, but then this tool is a pleasure to use and to own.
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