JET 708599K BELT SANDER REVIEW
- The 708599K basically has two components: a belt sander and a disc sander. For all intents and purposes, consider it two tools mounted to one table top. Both sanders run off the same motor, but can be run separately or at the same time.
- At every turn, the 708599K displays superb engineering and design. There are expertly placed grooves all across the machine that funnel sawdust back towards the four-inch dust collection port. The port allows the user to hook up any standard industrial dust collection system to collect over 95% of all dust. Even without a vacuum system, the grooves shuck most of the dust back off the tool anyway.
- The motor casing, legs and supports, and sander housings are all made of steel and covered in durable powder-coated paint.
- The 708599K has a beefy 1 ½ horsepower motor. This means the disc sander is running about 1,800 rpm, and the belt sander is running around 2,400 square feet per minute. Translate that into one word: powerful. There’s no need for patience with this sander.
- Despite the oversized motor, it’s a surprisingly quiet tool. Any vacuum or dust-collection system used with it will overpower the quiet humming of the 708599K’s motor. Solid steel construction means that even running both powerful sanders at once produces very little vibration, if any at all.
- This thing is a heavy-duty sander, make no mistake. Weighing in at almost 250 pounds, it’s heavy enough to require (at least) two people to get it out of the box. It comes with leg framework, which has to be assembled by the end user. It’s a simple matter of working in about twenty bolts. The machine comes with quite a bit of packing grease that needs to be removed before use.
The belt sander is huge. Most handheld belt sanders are something like three or four inches wide. Most woodworking or table-mounted belt sanders are only an inch wide. This tool has a whopping six inch wide belt that is forty-eight inches long. That’s a square foot of sanding surface. That means the belt will last much longer for small projects and it can sand larger pieces like cabinet doors or picture frames much faster than the tiny one-inch belt sanders.
The belt sander has a uniquely designed housing that allows the user to sand across the entire six inch surface. The housing is slightly recessed from the surface of the belt, so work pieces won’t bump against as they move across the sanding surface. Also, this tool has a proprietary dual thumbscrew belt tracking adjustment system. It takes a little getting used to but provides superior tracking. The belt sander has a graphite covered steel plate. The graphite keeps the belt sander at a lower temperature when it’s running, meaning the belt doesn’t degrade as quickly. And the belt is rubber coated for maximum grip, reducing slippage and allowing users to tear through wood.
This Awesome belt sander can actually be run in one of two positions. From the factory, it comes in the vertical position (perpendicular to the bottom of the sander). It can easily be laid back to sand in the horizontal position. The movement is controlled with a very sturdy locking lever so there are no worries about it wiggling around.
Even more, the housing on the back of the belt sander can be partially removed. In the vertical position, the user can bring work pieces against the rounded end of the belt sander. So the 708599K can be used for contour shaping in a pinch. Run the end of the belt sander back and forth on inside cuts to achieve a smooth rounded circular cutout.
One nice surprise is the “Made in Germany” belt that comes with the machine, already installed on the belt sander. There is a quick-release belt tension lever for taking belts on and off and adjusting tension.
The disc sander is industrial-sized as well—twelve inches wide. Again, this makes it great for larger pieces like axes and hatchets or end grain work. Having that much surface area means the sanding disc won’t get clogged near as quickly as a smaller disc would. The disc sander has a cover that comes down over it with the switch of a lever. Great for keeping dust out.
The housing on the disc sander cannot be removed. Only the face of the disc is accessible for sanding.
An extremely useful feature is the little work bench that Jet has engineered right in front of each sanding surface. This flat surface, perfectly squared against the sanding surface, allows the construction of perfectly right angles on finished pieces without ever resorting to a jointer or planer. Simply hold a factory edge of the piece down against the table then bring the rough edge slowly into the sander. After only a few seconds, the sander will have removed any slight imperfection in the cut edge, leaving a perfectly right angle.
The tables can do other angles, too. Both tables can tilt away from the sanding face. The table in front of the belt sander can tilt up to 20 degrees and tilt down to 45 degrees. It measures 7 ½” x 12”. The disc’s table can tilt up to 25 degrees and out to 45 degrees. It measures 16 ½” x 10”. Both tables have very solid stops at 90 and 45 degrees to hold the table in place precisely.
The tables are solid cast-iron construction, unlikely to chip or scratch even with years of use. Both have slots for a miter gauge, and the tool comes with one miter gauge.
Jet has obviously put lots of time and effort into designing the 708599K. It boasts expert design everywhere you look. The construction is absolutely solid as a tank and the machine runs hard but purrs like a kitten. After a few hours using the machine, the price tag ends up looking like a bargain.