Sanding is not my favorite job, but I learned a long time ago that if you want a good finished product your have to put the time in on sanding ... sad but true. Like any true woodworker, in order to lessen the amount of time I need to invest in a chore I hate, I went out and purchased a power tool to make the job quicker, easier, faster and even less dusty (I think). To be honest, I have been looking at this tool for a few years and for one reason or another have always found an excuse to pass it up. I know when I first started looking at them the price was much higher that the price I finally paid so that will have had some bearing on it. I finally saw this sander on a sale for a price I could not pass up, now I am sad I didn't purchase this years ago when I first stated looking at them.
I haven't used a spindle sander in many years and had forgotten how handy they can be, and I happen to have a couple of belt sanders and hand unit and another that is permanently attached to a board that works ok, but with the Ridgid, I now have the added affect of oscillating, which speeds up sanding creates less wear on the belt in on specific area.
The sander is very well designed with the front even able to drop down to various angles which means sanding at critical degrees is not only possible, but easy. I liked the dust port in the back too, anything that will help pull the dust away is useful, and the port is out of the way. By coincidence, ....
... below the port is the on-board storage for either the belt sanding unit (which obviously is removable), or you can store the throat plate for the spindles, depending on what sanding unit you are using, either the belt or a spindle.
And speaking of on-board storage, all the spindles, as well as the various sizes of throat plate insert, all the washers and even a couple of allen wrenches ALL store in convenient places on the machine. The real advantage of this is that changing from different size spindles and or to the belt sander, really take about a minute, it's that quick and easy.
In terms of replacement sanding materials, the belt is pretty standard 4" x 24" which can be purchased in a variety of brands and grits. The replacement spindle sanding sleeves are much less common so you may need to look a bit harder for them. They are available at Home Depot and I have seen them online at Amazon but after that, you may have to look a bit harder for them. I have only found the grit sizes for the spindle sanding sleeves in 150 and 80 grit, which is not a big hardship as most of what I would do would easily be handled by those 2 grits. If I need finer than 150 I may have to resort to a wee bit of hand sanding but at least the bulk of the sanding will have been done by then. The sanding sleeves are in 1/2", 3/4", 1", 1=1/2" & 2" if you are looking for sizes.
All in all, I can only comment that I love this tool and can't imagine being without it now, which is why I opted for the lifetime warranty. It was a bit extra work, but worth the effort. This Ridgid EB44241/EB44242 Oscillating Belt/Spindle Sander is a great little tool. It works well, is quick and easy to change sanding mediums and sizes and does a great job. Certainly a tool we would recommend.
Copyright - Colin Knecht