Out of flat and unaware

Ever have a serious problem pop up with a power tool, only to realize that its not a new condition, but something youve been cluelessly working with for a long time?

My combo sander has served me well for years, or so I thought. Its not the biggest around its a 6 x 48 belt paired with a 10 disc but it suits my needs. I use it a lot, but just discovered that the belts table isnt coplanar; for lack of a better description, theres a twist in it.

Ive used this belt hundreds of times over the years without ever noticing the issue until a couple days ago. I dont normally need or use it for truing-up projects, but a box I made last weekend had some rough rabbets on the bottom. I finish up all my boxes with hand sanding, but Id made these rabbets a bit too big and thought Id level them on the belt first. The task took only a few seconds, but when I set the box on my worktable it wobbled. I assumed Id accidentally put too much pressure on one corner while sanding and went back to the belt to flatten it, more carefully this time. No change.

Perplexed, I grabbed a block of 2-thick oak, about 4 wide and 6 or 7 long, from my scrap bin. I checked it carefully for square then set it on the flattest surface in the shop my table saw to double-check. Flat and rock-solid as could be. But after a few seconds on that belt sander that previously flat block of oak wobbled like a rocking chair.

Ive used this belt for countless projects without once noticing this before. As such, I have no idea when the defect formed or how it occurred. I checked the machine over and all seems in order, so I have no idea how to correct it without doing a bit of research.

Im sure I can fix this thing so its flat again, but whats really bugging me is that its apparently been this way for a long, long time and I never noticed.

Till next time,

A.J.

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