I bought an old Delta wood lathe that has a variable speed feature. The variable speed works by varying the spacing between two sheaves that changes the net diameter of the pulley and thus the speed ratio from the motor. Typically two sheave type pulleys are used in conjunction so that the effective diameter of one increases while the other one will decrease keeping the net belt length constant.

My question is whether this type of drive can be used with the link type V-Belts?

These link type belts do run much smoother on fixed size pulleys I have on my jointer. Here is a picture comparison of a conventional V-belt and a Link type belt. They are also length adjustable in increments of approximately 3/4 inch (20 mm) by adding or removing links.

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  • Feels an experiment coming on... ;)
    – FreeMan
    Oct 9, 2020 at 16:43
  • 1
    I know. I ordered a length of the link belt material to try out. I cut the old belt out of the variable speed sheaves on the lathe in anticipation to give it a try. Oct 9, 2020 at 16:51
  • Was cutting the only way to remove the old v-belt? Because if it was, then a link type belt may be your only option. I have a variable-speed drill press that uses the same v-belt system. It was mentioned in the manual to only ever replace the belt with the OEM replacement v-belt. I don't usually listen to stuff like that but I remember reading the exploded parts view and hoping the stock belt would last forever. It looked like a nightmare to split the pulleys and get a new belt in there. I thought the shoulders of the v-belt were integral to the proper tracking of the belt between the pulleys.
    – Jim
    Oct 19, 2020 at 8:26
  • I cut out the old existing belt as a quick means of being able to measure its overall length. I could have done a 75% disassembly of the motor and variable speed mechanism of the lathe to get the belt out without cutting but decided to cut knowing that I would try to replace with a link type belt. Oct 20, 2020 at 3:24

1 Answer 1


I had ordered a length of the red link type VBelt via Amazon. The order was cancelled and refunded for some strange reason whilst I was on vacation. So I reordered it again and it arrived the other day.

Assembly of the link belt was very convenient in the lathe because I was able to avoid having to dismount the motor and take apart the whole variable speed pully sheave mechanism.

I must say that the link type belt works very nicely in the lathe's variable speed adjuster. Overall the lathe drive system is smoother and operates with about half to one third of the noise and vibration of the original V-Belt.

  • How much of the smoothness is due to the new vs the old worn belt as opposed to the link-belt vs standard belt construction? Inquiring minds want to know... :)
    – FreeMan
    Oct 28, 2020 at 10:33
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    The old belt was in good shape and not worn at all. The difference is all in the flexibility of the link belt. I've now also made up a link belt for .my jointer as well and it is also running smoother and quieter than ever. Oct 28, 2020 at 15:19
  • Very good to know.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 28, 2020 at 19:55
  • Excellent self-Answer. Nothing like trying something out and seeing firsthand whether it works or not! If you could add the additional detail from your Comment above into your Answer here I think that would be v. useful for future searchers.
    – Graphus
    Oct 30, 2020 at 7:38

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