All Replies on Low speed router-like tool for drum sanding

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View altendky's profile

Low speed router-like tool for drum sanding

by altendky
posted 05-08-2012 03:58 AM

19 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10390 posts in 3646 days

#1 posted 05-08-2012 04:39 AM

Don’t run a sanding drum in a router collet. Not safe.

Get a curved microplane or Iwasaki file and use it to
shape the hole. Then hand sanding starting at 60
grit or so goes pretty quick.

A standard curved rasp leaves quite a rough cut but
can be followed by a curved file and then sanding.

The microplane tools don’t stay sharp all that long
but they do cut very cleanly with a lot of control.
The curved Iwasaki file won’t do as fast a job
rounding the hole edges, but they stay sharp and
are great tools to have on hand for wood shaping.

View mveach's profile


56 posts in 2381 days

#2 posted 05-08-2012 05:15 AM

I think it was Delta or Porter Cable that made something like what you are talking about. I don’t recall what it was called but it was a hand held drum sander with a base like a router or jig saw. I just found one. here is the link.

View mveach's profile


56 posts in 2381 days

#3 posted 05-08-2012 05:23 AM

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2770 days

#4 posted 05-08-2012 06:11 AM

Just get yourself a harbor freight drill + and use your sanding drums in that. If the drill dies, you’re out $20-$30 or whatever.

If you really want to get crazy, build a base around the drill to make a permanent enclosure thing for 400$


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 2208 days

#5 posted 05-08-2012 11:08 AM

Not sure how quoting works here…

First off, wow. I’ve been poking around here for awhile when I’ve had other questions and have appreciated the knowledge. Still, compared to various other forums that I would consider fairly active I have to say that this is an impressive response. :] Thanks.

@Loren: By microplane do you mean I was initially thinking of something more like a standard plane (small, micro even) but in a curved body. The options do look interesting.

@mveach: I’m embarassed that I didn’t find that. I searched and even looked specifically on the PC site and it is located right where I should have been looking. For $200 I might have ordered one this morning before heading out to work, but $400 makes me think a bit more. I suppose the price is driven by the dual action (rotary and linear) combined with the apparently low demand (since nobody else makes one that I have seen).

@Jeremy: If HF were closer, that’d be a good option. For now I might just settle for using the already-wobbly Craftsman. I did a little side cutting in sheetmetal with it years ago so wood shouldn’t make it too much worse. :]

I also just found the Grizzly H2881:

Opinions? Very simple and just reduces loading into the drill by reducing the moment (assuming you are careful).

Anyways, given the price of the PC I am tending towards sticking with the drill and cheapo drums I’ve already got for right now, but I do need to consider the microplane stuff. It seems like it could be quite nice to have around. Thanks again to everyone.


P.S. I suppose mentioning that the wood is ash could be relevant to what tool should be used to work it.

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2691 days

#6 posted 05-08-2012 12:11 PM

This is why they make corded heavy duty drills. Buy one it’s worth the money to have unlimited power in your hands and you can use all kinds of accessories. Milwaukee makes the best IMO.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#7 posted 05-08-2012 12:25 PM

Hey, I have a novel idea; why not just use a router bit in a router?
Some pretty nice wood products were built way before sandpaper was invented.

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3394 days

#8 posted 05-08-2012 12:33 PM

Porter cable makes a portable hand held oscillating spindle sander that works great.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2248 days

#9 posted 05-08-2012 12:56 PM

Michael’s comment sparked my interest, so I did some research. According to the wiki, sandpaper’s first recorded use was in the 13th century. By the early 1800’s it was being manufactured in its current form. Compare that to the router which came about during the 20th century…

Not really relevant, but interesting.

-- Rex

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3289 days

#10 posted 05-08-2012 02:00 PM

I don’t think those Grizzly two-hand sanding drums will work for this. You’d have to have one hand inside the tube. It may work near the ends, but not in the middle.

I second the router recommendation. Concentrate on making one good hole in a piece of plywood or MDF, then use it as a template with a bearing-guided bit to finish off the others.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2933 days

#11 posted 05-08-2012 02:35 PM

You could make a slightly over-sized template with thin stock, double-side tape it to the tube, and use a flush trim/template bit on a router to clean it up? Then maybe a round over to soften the edges.

View mveach's profile


56 posts in 2381 days

#12 posted 05-08-2012 03:11 PM

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 2208 days

#13 posted 05-08-2012 10:02 PM

@mtenterprises Actually, I have a $10 giant Milwaukee from a garage sale, though it may be a hammer drill… hmm, I’ll have to pull that out, thanks for reminding me.

@crank49@chuckc I didn’t describe it in complete detail. The holes actually span two of the twelve faces so it would be a bit more complicated than just a basic template. I may still end up doing this, but I’m still tending towards something more manually controllable than a router bit (sanding drums or the rotary microplanes).

@Rex Bair Relevant or not, thanks :]

@jjohnston the holes are comfortably large enough for a cat so i think I could fit my hand through alright, but a good consideration. Next time, I think I’ll post a picture straight away to help you guys with your answers. They’re good and all, but it would be more worth your time if I had provided that extra ‘info’. See below.

@mveach Again, thanks for the reminder. I wanted one of those awhile back but didn’t end up getting it. Actually, I bought the Sears one online but when I went to pick it up they ended up being out of stock. That and none of them actually looked like decent quality. All were either plastic or pot metal as far as I could tell from the pictures and reviews. Still may have to get one though.

Again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Now I just have to decide.


View Loren's profile


10390 posts in 3646 days

#14 posted 05-09-2012 12:07 AM

Microplane has found their big market is in the kitchen, but
it started out as a woodworking product.

“Fairing” inside edges and curves with rasps and files is often
a faster way to do it than any other method in my
experience. Files aren’t written about much in the
woodworking magazines as a tool to cut wood with,
but I use them all the time for shaping. They are
quick to use and it’s much easier not to screw the
work up with them compared to edge tools.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2840 days

#15 posted 05-09-2012 01:58 AM

Hey, I have a very interesting story for you guys.
Early on in my woodworking journeys, I done something really stupid that relates to this thread.
I had these drum sanding doo hickeys that were meant for the drill press.
One of them had a quarter inch shaft.
I had a quarter inch router in a router table.
The drill press at top speed done a pretty good job but I wanted to sand faster.
So I decided what could I hurt by putting the quarter inch drum sanding accessory into the router?

Let me stop right there and explain that somehow it did not occur to me that these drum sanding things were not exactly balanced and that this cheap router had on one speed, 30,000 RPMs.

It ran great for maybe half a second.
Then the top part of the unbalanced drum sanding thing started swinging further and further away from center.
By this time, the whole table and all was bucking too bad for me to catch the power switch.
I headed for the cord.
It was too late.
Parts of sandpaper had started flying off at shrappnel speed.
At this point all I could do was dive under a nearby table for safety and wait for the events to unfold.
The table (this was a HEAVY weighted table) started doing more than bucking. It was more like a jackhammer at this point.
Then it started whirling around about two inches off the floor like it was caught up in a tornado.
It would slam the floor every few seconds.
Th whole drum sander assembly broke off (later I learned it broke even with the chuck that holds the bit)
The router table was still violently dancing though.
Then something else broke off and flew the opposite direction (I later found out this was all of the router shaft that sticks out of the router housing)
The router then sounded like it sped up to about 100,000 RPMs.
Then the lights when out (later found out this was because the router motor housing had cracked open and shorted something out.)

So, ummmmmm, NO.
Never put a drum sanding attachment into a router.
I tested that theory and it doesn’t work out very well.
I ruined the router, the router table, the drum sanding attachment, the door that the drum sanding attachment flew through, and I swear I took at least two years off of my projected life span from the fear.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2688 days

#16 posted 05-09-2012 02:43 AM

William- Great story. I laughed til I had tears. I once chucked a Cratex wheel into an electric die grinder. When I turned it on the wheel exploded and blew a chunk completely through my cheek! I am very careful about not exceeding recommended RPMs now.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2840 days

#17 posted 05-09-2012 02:56 AM

It’s funny now gfadvm.
It wasn’t so funny when it was happening though.
What makes that story more funny to me is when I think how far I’ve come now in woodworking. I do have enough knowledge now that there is no way you could even pay me to try something like that.
If a tool is not meant for what one is about to do with it, STOP, just don’t.

I forgot to even address the original question though.
I would go low teck for what you’re trying to do with the cat holes. I would make me a rounded piece of wood to use as a sanding block and sand it by hand. I don’t think I’d bother making or buying something for that one project fix. I have never had the need for a drum sander that I couldn’t do on my table top sander (I now have a Ridgid spincle/belt sander combo).
If you are looking for a cheap table top spindle sander though, I used to have a set in my drill press that worked well.

Now, if you often do work like what you are describing on these cat holes, my suggestion goes completely the opposite direction from where one might expect.
I’ve had good luck with these type things with a dremil tool. They make little spindle sanders for them. Turn that sucker on high speed and it’ll move a lot of material fast.
For the amount of material you’re talking about though, keep a sander cleaner (I call them my giant erasers) handy and hit the spindle sander in the dremil on it every minute or so. If you don’t they will clog up quickly and tear themselves apart.


View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2673 days

#18 posted 05-09-2012 03:46 AM

William, I laughed because I wanted to cry for you and it just didn’t work. Side story here. I know of a situation where a company bought one kind of grinding wheel for air powered side grinders in a welding shop. I am sure that in years gone past they bought one for the highest speed and stocked only one. It was cheaper buying dozens of cases at a time. Well, some buyer in an office years later decided it was cheaper to buy this other disc and he started getting those. Skip to the end of the story and my friend was working there. He had a disc explode and cut through his welding hood and into his cheek. Disc broke, face cut and big investigation about how this could happen. I don’t know how many discs they buy now but there is a plan to this now and you get the correct disc.

I can just picture you jumping under a nearby table waiting for things to stop flying. Not a safe situation. read the instructions and FOLLOW THEM!!

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2840 days

#19 posted 05-09-2012 03:56 AM

Yep, those tools can be dangerous.

I alway teach my kids to not stand behind me when I’m working. They know that when I say power on, to get back.
I had a grown man recently in my shop though that I had told three times already to not stand behind me. I was cutting small pieces on the table saw. I know from experience how far to the left of my blade to stand in case a piece gets past my push stick, which does happen sometimes.
I decided I was not telling him again and the next piece I made a pont to not even use the push stick. I just held the piece on the left of the blade and pushed it through, knowing what was fixing to happen.

That piece missed him by about an inch at high speed and he’s been in my shop several times since, but never behind my table saw when I’m cutting.


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