Coldworking Glass – Covington Wet Belt Sander

covington wet belt sanderMy new Covington wet belt sander arrived a few months ago. Yesterday I finally got around to taking it out for a spin. Any thoughts I had of coldworking my glass pieces in lickety split time quickly evaporated. It is definitely way faster and easier on the arm than coldworking by hand, but it still takes some time. Of course I suspect it will take less time as I get some more practice.

The most difficult part was finding the on/off switch. No, not really, but it did take me a minute. I looked all over the machine and on the motor and couldn’t find it. The instructions that came with the sander are pretty useless. There is no diagram with the parts labeled. I felt rather silly standing there staring at the sander knowing there must be an on/off switch somewhere. I finally saw it on the electrical cord; not exactly where I am used to seeing a switch for equipment.

Once I passed this hurdle, I was on my way. I started out with inexpensive silicon carbide belts but have already placed an order for diamond belts in three different grits. Silicon carbide belts cost just a few dollars, but they don’t last long. Diamond belts start at about $60 and go way up into the hundreds. I also bought a cork belt which puts a nice polished finish on the edge and a felt belt to use with cerium oxide for when I want a super high gloss finish.

It took a little getting used to but I think I’ve got the hang of it. I did, however, make a rookie mistake. I placed the glass flat on the metal base as I moved it across the belt. Of course it scratched the bottom of the glass! If I had thought about it for even one second I would have figured that out. I’ll post some pictures of the process as I work on some pieces in the next few weeks.

Scratches

 

6 thoughts on “Coldworking Glass – Covington Wet Belt Sander

  1. Chris says:

    I’ve been looking at that sander for awhile and was interested to hear what you had to say about it. I’m wondering if a piece of duct tape on the metal plate might protect the glass from scratching?

    • Margot says:

      A piece of cork or felt glued down would probably work too. But the grit from the belt ends up on the plate so you still have to be careful. Maybe when the belts are broken in it won’t be an issue.

  2. Mary says:

    I bought one last spring. I had a similar experience in terms of thinking it would be much quicker. I thought with the highest grit Silicon Carbide belts I would take off glass in no time. I still end up using the grinder more. Do the diamond belts make a big difference? I might invest in one or two but they are so expensive. Where did you end up purchasing yours from, directly from Covington?

    • Margot says:

      The diamond belts definitely last longer and I think in the long run they are worth the investment. I use the welt belt sander when I am working on larger pieces and need to finish edges. But if I have a small piece that I am straightening edges on and doing a refire I will use the grinder with successively finer bits. I bought my belts from His Glassworks.

  3. herb fellows says:

    Just bought one used. No problem with the silicon carbide belts, but I can’t get the diamond belts enough to the left, they keep coming off. If I tighten the tracking knob to the max, I am still left with about a half inch of belt that isn’t supported by the rollers, I just can’t seem to adjust it far enough left.
    I’ve tried tightening and loosening the tensioner, but it only seems to make the top roller go at an angle, it doesn’t really seem to lift it?

    Any ideas?

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