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Belt sanders are not considered to be "instruments of fine woodworking" ... but maybe this is a mistake. There are plenty of times that an aggressive tool is required to make light work of otherwise tedious jobs. I discovered the real trick to using any tool, particularly a belt sander is to KNOW THE TOOL. When you realize this, you begin to understand it's capabilities, limits and drawbacks.
What I discovered is that a heavy grit on a belt sander is probably best avoided, unless you are actually planning to dig the garden with it or fell trees. 40, 60 and sometimes even 80 grit sanding belts will make mincemeat of wood very quickly. The can also leave scratches and heavy gouges in the wood that are very difficult to remove. Lesson #1 - when using a belt sander, start off with a finer grade belt that what you think you will need. If you do this you will get a much better "feel" for what the sander and the type of grit will do for you. If you are removing a finish, this rule is particularly useful.