LumberJocks

Flatmaster 24" Drum Sander

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Review by retfr8flyr posted 01-13-2014 02:30 PM 10042 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Flatmaster 24" Drum Sander No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I know there are a couple of reviews on the Flatmaster Sander but I thought I would give my impressions of my new 24 inch Flatmaster. I have had this sander for about 4 months now and have run many different projects and wood types on it and it does a great job. Unlike most drum sanders, it is a hand feed sander so some will be turned off immediately but they would be missing a great sander.

I purchased the ready made metal cabinet version. There are other various forms of the sander in kit form. The sander came almost completely assembled, you need to add your own motor and control switch. I used a Grizzly 1/2 HP motor and switch. This sander uses hook and loop on the drum and when it is set up correctly does not create any heat in the paper, so no resin buildup. I made several end grain cutting boards for Christmas presents and the Flatmaster was a life saver, sanding these smooth and flat.

The great thing about this sander is it will make things flat, thus the name. Everything registers off the flat metal table top, so it will actually work to make something flat. As you know when you have a thinner piece of wood, that is cupped or warped, it will flex when you work with it and it’s almost impossible to make it flat again. This sander can actually make it flat again, without vastly changing the piece, if it’s not to badly out of shape.

I did a photo transfer to a piece of 3/8 in Birch and after the procedure it had a slight cup to it. I was able to use light pressure, so the piece wouldn’t flex and brought it back to flat with my sander. The sander also doesn’t leave any dust in the grain of the wood, so a quick wipe and you can go right to the finish process. Dust collection is also very good. Everything falls into the V shaped bottom and is easily pulled out with your DC. I highly recommend giving this sander a try, if you are looking for sanding help in your shop.

-- Earl




View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

325 posts in 968 days



16 comments so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

7541 posts in 2728 days


#1 posted 01-13-2014 02:35 PM

Great review, Earl. Mine is from their kit, and I echo everything you said. It’s a great tool.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Ottacat's profile

Ottacat

416 posts in 1151 days


#2 posted 01-13-2014 08:01 PM

Good information in this review. I’ve been looking to a practical solution for end-grain cutting boards without breaking the bank. Approximately how long does it take to sand one on this? Using a ROS takes me about an hour to an hour and half of mind numbing boredom.

View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

325 posts in 968 days


#3 posted 01-14-2014 12:42 AM

I used 120 grit paper and then switched to 180 grit. I did 2 boards in about 45 minutes but 1 of my boards had some shift on a couple of rows during glue up and that board took me about 40 minutes by itself to make it all flat. I could have gone to 80 grit paper for that one board but I knew the 120 would get the job done. I then final sanded with my ROS using 220 grit. The boards came out great and as I said I was very impressed with the job this sander does.

I received the wings I ordered but haven’t tried them out yet. They are very easy to set up and I think they will be a nice addition to the sander.

-- Earl

View Rob Vicelli's profile

Rob Vicelli

104 posts in 1991 days


#4 posted 01-14-2014 01:46 AM

Thanks for your review, i Have the kit and it has its uses, not for everything but what it does it does well. I use it mostly for picture frames (4×6) .

-- Rob V

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

16655 posts in 2488 days


#5 posted 01-18-2014 10:11 PM

Great review, I have had the 18 inch model for years now. I then bought a delta 18/36 drum sander to go along with stockrooms sander. This is when I realized how much I liked my Stockroom sander compared to my delta… I soon got over the manual portion when comparing results.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

325 posts in 968 days


#6 posted 01-19-2014 12:26 AM

Just an update. I have used the wings several times now and I like them. It makes getting the piece from the other side a little harder but they really work well for holding an even pressure while moving the piece through, especially with wide and longer pieces. I would say they are well worth getting

-- Earl

View Surfside's profile

Surfside

3389 posts in 1473 days


#7 posted 01-20-2014 08:16 PM

This a great review. Thanks for posting. Good luck.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

284 posts in 1564 days


#8 posted 01-21-2014 01:19 AM

I made a 24” from a kit offered by the same company. Works great. The only thing I wish I had done was bought their top. I make my own and I’m not sure if it’s exactly flat. It’s made from a piece of baltic birch with a formica top. In spite of the top I really like it.

Charlie

-- Charlie75, Alto

View RichInSoMD's profile

RichInSoMD

14 posts in 1621 days


#9 posted 12-27-2015 02:10 PM

Earl;

Do you have anything to add to your review, after almost two years? I am considering getting a Flatmaster drum sander. I was leaning towards the kit but, I haven’t made up my mind yet.

Rich

-- RichInSoMD

View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

325 posts in 968 days


#10 posted 12-27-2015 05:25 PM


Earl;

Do you have anything to add to your review, after almost two years? I am considering getting a Flatmaster drum sander. I was leaning towards the kit but, I haven t made up my mind yet.

Rich

- RichInSoMD


I am still very happy with my purchase. The Flatmaster has it’s good points and it’s bad points but I think, for me, the good ones far outweigh the bad ones. It works very well for doing flat surfaces and keeping them flat. It’s not like a belt sander and you have to physically run everything through, you can’t just start it and let it run like a belt sander. It’s also not very good at taking a lot of material off, just because of the time involved, it doesn’t remove very much material each pass, regardless of the grit, so you have to run it through many times. I do this for fun so time is not a problem for me. It’s extremely easy to change the paper and the paper also lasts forever because it isn’t getting hot a burning. I have found that making small adjustments, for the lower number paper, works the best. Due to the thickness difference between say 1200 and 60 paper, it really doesn’t work as well if you don’t make a little adjustment.

I opted for the full metal unit, instead of making my own. I don’t think it would make any difference when you use the machine. I added the extra wings to mine and they really help with longer pieces, to keep them flat across the drum. It’s very important to keep the piece moving at a steady pace. If you stop it for something, the roller will make a small spot, across the piece, where the piece stopped moving and you will have to work to get it out. I think it’s a very good unit for what it does. Just recognize it’s drawback and don’t expect it to do everything and you will be very happy with it, I know I am.

-- Earl

View RichInSoMD's profile

RichInSoMD

14 posts in 1621 days


#11 posted 12-27-2015 06:37 PM

Earl;

Thanks for the advice. I plan to go to a Woodworking show near Baltimore very soon, where STOCKROOM Supply will have a booth. So, I expect to see a demonstration and talk to a rep.

Rich

-- RichInSoMD

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

284 posts in 1564 days


#12 posted 12-27-2015 09:38 PM

Hey Rich, I bought a 24” kit about 2 1/2 years ago. I made the box and top following the video that came with it. Very easy to follow. I have used it a lot and am very satisfied with my purchase. Sure, I would love to have a better one but this is what I could afford. I would certainly do it again and would recommend it to friends unless they can afford a bigger sander.
I make a lot of end grain cutting boards and a few butcher block top kitchen carts and used my flat sander to make it smooth a powdered babies butt.
Hope this helps.

Charlie

-- Charlie75, Alto

View RichInSoMD's profile

RichInSoMD

14 posts in 1621 days


#13 posted 12-28-2015 03:43 AM

Charlie,

Thanks for the information.
When I made some end grain cutting boards, at first I would take them to a cabinet/furniture maker I knew, and paid him to run them through his beautiful drum sander. Later, someone on Lumberjocks told me to get a big router bit and make a jig to flatten the cutting board surfaces. I found videos on that, and I did that before I used my ROS to finish up. If I get the Flatmaster, it will be easier to make a lot of things, although I will still dream about that big drum sander.

Thanks
Rich

-- RichInSoMD

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

284 posts in 1564 days


#14 posted 12-28-2015 10:47 AM

Rich, your very welcome. Before I got my Flatmasster I took my flat work to Woodcraft and had their guy run it through their drum sander. It cost me, if memory serves, about $25. Cost me nothing now.

Charlie

-- Charlie75, Alto

View Charlie75's profile

Charlie75

284 posts in 1564 days


#15 posted 12-28-2015 10:58 AM

What are the “wings” some of you guys are talking about? Just curious.

Charlie

-- Charlie75, Alto

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