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Thread: Edge sander comparison? (Very long.)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Charleston, WV

    Edge sander comparison? (Very long.)

    Seeing Norm's new toy got me to thinking about trying to shove yet one more power tool into my shop. I can't afford or fit anything like the bad boy he now has, but I've been thinking about one of these two. Price is almost the same-the Bridgewood is roughly $590 delivered, the Grizzly, $610. I've got lots o' green in the shop already-I suppose it's partly a question of whether I want to try another shade.

    I've read Terry Hatfield's review of the Grizzly-he appears to be quite happy with his. The Grizzly sure looks more substantial, but that might just be the photography. Any other folks with experience with either of these machines, thoughts about which you'd get if you had to chose? Oh yeah-what do you think about one of these on a mobile base, which would be a necessity. None of the Shop Fox models, which I have on my other big machines, would appear to fit without some modifications. Any other possibilities? Thanks, Tony

    <img src=""> The Bridgewood® model BW-80A horizontal/vertical edge sander incorporates a tilting head assembly allowing the sanding belt to be positioned at any angle from vertical to horizontal. Sanding extra long workpieces is easy too, thanks to the 34” long platen. And because the platen is made of heavy reinforced steel plate ground to a perfectly flat surface, your workpiece will be sanded absolutely straight and flat. Results you just can’t attain on a sander with a flimsy, un-ground sheet steel platen.

    • Easily adjustable or removable mitering head mounts on work table
    • Easy, precise adjustments for sanding belt tension and tracking
    • 4” diameter dust hookup
    • Wrap around table for contour sanding included at no extra cost

    New Base Design!

    BELT SIZE 6” x 89”
    BELT SPEED 3900 S.F.P.M.
    TABLE SIZE 10” x 27”
    FENCE SIZE 4-1/2” X 23-1/2”
    PLATEN SIZE 7” x 34”
    MOTOR 2 H.P. 1 PH 110/220 VAC
    OVERALL SIZE 48”W x 20”D x 48”H
    PACKING SIZE 50”W x 17”D x 22”H

    <img src="">
    This Sander was developed for those projects that require a large support area and need the workpiece to be moved around the roller. Specially designed small 2-1/8" diameter roller allows you to get into tighter radius projects like guitar bodies, curved chair legs etc... Table is supported in 4 positions to eliminate sagging and to provide a stable base while working. Quick belt release mechanism allows fast belt changes.


    * Extended sanding surface
    * Work stop
    * 4" dust port
    * Quick belt release
    * Belt tracking and tension adjustment
    * Handwheel table height adjustment
    * Powder coated stand


    * TEFC capacitor start induction, 1-1/2 HP, single-phase, 110V/220V; prewired 220V
    * Amps: 20/10
    * Cycle and RPM: 60 Hertz/1720 RPM
    * Toggle safety switch with safety lock tab
    * Power transfer: direct drive
    * Shielded and lubricated ball bearings
    * Welded steel powder coated base
    * Composite with Formica® surface table
    * Rubber idler roller: Shielded ball bearing, 2-1/8"
    * Drive roller: Cast aluminum, 4-1/2"
    * Table size: 24" x 42-1/4"
    * Overall height (with handle up): 48-3/4"
    * Table height: 33"-39"
    * Length: 52-1/2"
    * Width: 24"
    * Platen size: 6-1/4" x 31-1/2", graphic coated
    * Belt size: 6" x 80"
    * Belt speed: 1800 FPM
    * Approximate shipping weight: 250 lbs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Collin County Texas

    I see your dilemma

    Tony, after reading the specs you posted, I have a couple comments.
    1) The B/W sander belt is moving at more than twice the speed of the Grizzly. Unless that is a misprint, a spot on the belt is making almost 9 revolutions per second. That is moving on. IMO.
    2) The Grizzly is a mere 1800 FPM, or about 4.5 revolutions per second. The one piece table I think would be an advantage, less fussing around with adjustments.... I like the appearance of the base better on the Grizzly.
    3) How common is the belt sizes 80" and/or 89". One or the other might be hard to find except at the original seller. That needs to be checked, IMO.

    I have never heard a bad word about a B/W product, a big plus in my book. However, I would be more comfortable with the belt speed on the Grizzly. How important is the belt speed, I don't know, but I will bet someone here on the creek has a reasoned opinion.

    If I were buying today, I would go with the Grizzly.

    Remember what you paid for this opinion.
    Last edited by Ken Garlock; 03-22-2004 at 9:00 PM.
    Best Regards, Ken

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I don't have one (yet), but I would like one. Can't afford one for a while, either. I would want one where I can tilt the main table to allow me to use more of the belt at one time. On the Grizzly one piece table that would preclude using the pulley end until you squared it up. It doesn't look like the Bridgewood would tilt. Of course, you could build an auxiliary wedge shaped table. I like the longer belt of the Bridgewood. The larger table of the Grizzly is deceptive... I thought wow, what a difference... but when you look at the pictures the Grizzly table goes around the roller. The belt speed is puzzling, 3900 FPM for the B and 1800 FPM for the G. Not much help, I guess, but some more questions.

    Keith Z.

  4. #4

    I picked up the Bridgewood you are looking at for my Dad and was not that impressed with the machine or Wilke - we ended up selling it. I have a Powermatic Model 13, basically the same machine, but much better everything. I don't know if the Bridgewood was made by scab workers during a strike or what - but not impressive. Wilke was not as I had heard and would rate them average to less then average for the customer service.

    As for the Grizzly, many know I'm not a big fan, the biggest knock on the Grizzly sanders is odd size belt. You'll need to order plenty of extras because no stores I know of locally carry 80" belts. Hopefully not a problem if you plan ahead. You can order 80" from a couple on-line sources.

    If I were you I would go for the General International 6"x89" sander. I looked at one in person last month at Wood Werks in Columbus. Improved dust collection, nice new base, good fit and finish, cast iron miter guage, graphite platen, and I think Columbus is within driving distance for you. Cost was a bit over $600.

    I love my edge sander and would buy again, although I will always long for a big Crouch sander.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Charleston, WV

    Talking Now I remember, John

    I tried to buy the BW from you-advertised on Woodnet right? Maybe it's a good thing I was too late. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll take a good look at the General. You're right-Columbus is only about 3 hours from me. Closer than Dayton!

  6. #6

    Same sander, different guy, I actually bought it from the guy in Dayton. In all fairness it would likely work fine, but I when I compared it to my PM 13, there were lots of little short cuts. The machining was rougher, the motor seemed cheaper, and while they looked almost the same, the Bridgewood was not as nice as the Powermatic. The biggest problem was the miter slot was not machined correctly, after I email Bridgewood a couple times they stopped repsonding. I ended up grinding all the t-nuts a fair bit so they would fit the poorly gounded slot. The General at Wood Werks is a beaut. Very nice base and machining. The cast miter guage is a plus as is the improved dust hood. I think they had it for $629 or $659 (I can't remember). Anyway, I would easily pay the difference.


  7. #7

    I looked at all these machines before I bought the Griz. These are the differences that made the difference to me.

    The Griz has a 1720 rpm motor. I assume the others have a 3450 because the belt speed is about double the Griz. 3150 for the General and 3900 for the Bridgewood vs 1820 for the Griz.

    The Griz has a much smaller idler drum. 21/8" dia vs 4 3/4" on the Bridgewood. The General is not listed but it looks the same as the Bridgewood. The smaller idler drum makes sanding tight curves much easier.

    The larger one piece table on the Griz also makes sanding a larger curved pieces much easier.

    The table is moved up and down by a large hand wheel attached to the bottom of the table. The Bridgewood and the General don't have the wheel. I'm not sure how they move the tables, but the Griz is a breeze to adjust.

    I really do like the Griz and use it all the time. Which ever way you go you will really enjoy having the edge sander.

    Ridiculously fast golf carts. Yes, I have those.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    Tony, I have been waffling between a bandsaw upgrade and a new edge sander for months. I have been looking at the new Delta 18” BS but I have a 14” that does get the job done. A big plus for the BS is that I would not loose any precious floor space once I sold the 14”. BUT, I would love to have a new edge sander! Ramble, ramble….

    I have sent WMH/Powermatic an email inquiring on the release date for the new PM Model 80 oscillating edge sander, it looks like it could be a great deal at $900. Amazon is the only source that I found for this machine and the details are sketchy. Amazon shows a 3 to 5 week delivery but doesn’t have any reviews and is asking for “Manufacturers, merchants, and enthusiasts: Submit a product manual for this item”. Powermatic does not even show it on their website – smells fishy to me. Anyway, I think the oscillating feature would be worth waiting for.

  9. #9
    A couple other points. On the General type sanders the table can be tilted so you sand across the belt, thus not using only a small area. I rarely do it, but it might be helpful. The table is harder to rise/lower then the Grizz, but doable. Since I have a OSS I never use the idler pulley, plus dust collection is better with the idler pulley belt cover installed. The General types also have a 36" ground table platen - I'm not sure how big the Grizz is, but 36" is nice, 40" would be even nicer, but I would look into this depending on the type of work you do. I've not had a problem with the faster motor, I would say that both have subtle pros/cons, but neither a show stopper.


  10. #10
    I have a machine which looks the same and has very similar specs to the bridgewood (Axminster - Own brand here in the UK).

    I am happy with it. Dust collection is always tough because of the open nature of the working edge but it does a job when I need it to.

    Its pretty robust, after nearly three years the graphite platten backing the belt need to be replaced but I do work it pretty hard.

    $64K question is would I buy it again - answer is yes.

    Hope this helps.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Philadelphia, Pa
    I have the WookTEk 6 x 89, which looks alot like the BW, except for the left table. I made my own. The nice thing about an edge sander, and the reason I got it, was that you can hold a dead on 90 while sanding. Now I use mine very little as I have become more profficient in the use of handplanes, but once in a while it is the very handy. Esp. for an outside radius. It does kick up the dust, even with DC, which I am increasingly hating.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Charleston, WV

    Thumbs up Thanks everyone.

    I appreciate all the responses and recommendations. Decisions, decisions.

  13. #13
    I have the Bridgewood and it's a decent machine for the money and uses standard size belts. The 6x80 belt size of the Grizzly isn't standard and not available locally which is why I chose the Bridgewood. Anyhow, the General International is probably the best of the 6x89" bunch. Beware that 3900 fpm of the belt makes this a very aggressive machine, maybe too aggressive for what you want, if so then look at the Grizzly. Everything on my machine works as advertised and it didn't take long to have things cleaned up and ready to go. As for the Idler, I use the large Grizzly OSS which is a great machine.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    Addendum to my earlier post in this thread.

    I received an email from Rebecca Voorhies of the WMH Tool Group today, the Powermatic Model 80 oscillating edge sanders should start arriving in June.

    Of course, no affiliation with the manufacturer, yada, yada.
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