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It’s handy to use the front drum of a belt sander on inside curves. But the body on many sanders limits the front drum’s usefulness by limiting its accessibility. The new Dragster belt sander from Black & Decker, $70, has a narrow nose that can poke in almost anywhere. The “hood” on the Dragster can be flipped up and locked out of the way. The small front drum fits into tiny inside curves. The multiposition top handle can be fine-tuned for comfort in whatever job you’re doing. The small front drum also gives the Dragster a larger-than-usual platen. According to Black & Decker, the Dragster platen is 25 percent larger than those on other 3-in. x 21-in. machines. The larger the platen, the easier it is to hold the machine flat when you’re sanding panels. The Dragster has a 6-amp, single-speed motor, which is comparable to motors on other belt sanders in its price range, although I prefer the finer control that comes with variable-speed belt sanders. The Dragster will do the same work as comparably priced machines, for instance, flattening panels, with the added benefit of its long nose. The dust bag works well, but the sander can’t connect directly to a shop vacuum. The machine is lightweight and very easy to handle, a benefit for freehand work. It’s a handy machine with good features for its price.

Black & Decker, (800) 544-6986,, Dragster 3-in. x 21-in. belt sander, #DS321, $70.

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