Which sander should I buy?

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Forum topic by Jesse Friesen posted 10-11-2009 06:48 AM 4269 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jesse Friesen

178 posts in 3597 days

10-11-2009 06:48 AM

I am going to buy a sander during the up coming tool show in my city in november but I can’t decide which one to buy. It will be used mainly for sanding cabinet doors for the kitchens that I build. The first option is a sander made by stockroom supply named the flatmaster I saw it in action last year at the tool show and it seemed to do a nice job. Second is the general international 15-250m1 double drum sander I know the general is an excellent sander and will do a great job. The flatmaster is less than half the cost of the general and I am told that the sandpaper will last a really long time on it so the costs for the paper will be less. Also the flatmaster is virtually dustless because all the sanding dust when it comes off the drum falls to the bottom of the machine. The general I can sand 2 grits at once, it has a conveyor belt where as the flatmaster I have to push the door through and the it seems I am getting more for my money with the general. How long does sandpaper seem to last on a double drum? I would probably use 100 or 120 on the first drum and 150 on the second. I have never used one before and do all my current sanding with a 5” orbital. Either of these will be a nice step up from a little orbital sander but in your opinion which one should I buy? Money is a little tight now but I want something that will last a long time because sanding is not one of my favorite things, haha.

6 replies so far

View Lenny's profile


1612 posts in 3703 days

#1 posted 10-11-2009 11:00 AM


Machines of this size are well out of my league and therefore I don’t know much, if anything, about them. That said, you commented: “The flatmaster is less than half the cost of the general…” but I noticed at their site that you have to buy a motor. Seems to me you will definitely have to take into consideration the cost of the motor, the time to connect it, etc. Good luck with your decision. You sure do some beautiful cabinetry.

A woodworker who doesn’t like sanding? Wow, that’s rare! LOL

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3998 days

#2 posted 10-11-2009 02:19 PM

I have a wide belt sander on my list and am going to go with a dual drum sander. It is more expensive but the ability to run two grits at the same time is worth the extra expense in my opinion.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4394 days

#3 posted 10-11-2009 03:35 PM

I think you are right about getting more for your money with the big machine.

I can’t believe small drum sanders are so expensive. I see posts where guys have built their own for under $100, so it seems like some manufacturer could turn one out in the $200 – $300 range. I look at machines like the Sand Flee, and I just can’t figure out what makes it worth $750!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Whitey's profile


13 posts in 3330 days

#4 posted 10-11-2009 04:08 PM

I use a performax 16-32 which is a single drum and where I use it for abrasive planing also its better than the double . I use perormax or sandbox brand paper at about$85 a box which will make 16 changes on the 16-32. I use 60, 80 and 120 grit anything finer plugs to fast. Just remember you need a very powerful dust collecter to use it ,when planing I can fill a garbage can with dust in 3 hrs.

-- You don't have to be crazy to work with juniper, but it sure helps.

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3864 days

#5 posted 10-11-2009 04:58 PM

A lot of the guys here have made their own and saved a lot of money by doing so. If I hadn’t already bought my drum sander , that is the route that I would take.
The flatmaster really doesn’t appear to be any bargain if you consider having to buy everything that doesn’t come with it.
I didn’t see any price listed on the General link that you provided , but it appears to be a professional shop grade machine versus a homeowners / hobbiest unit. Do you have 220V available and a really good dust collector ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jesse Friesen's profile

Jesse Friesen

178 posts in 3597 days

#6 posted 10-11-2009 05:09 PM

Hi guys,

the only reason I am considering the flatmaster is because they offer a pretty good discount on it at the tool show. I would have to buy a motor for it and it would probably come to around $950 cnd. The flatmaster I would buy would be the 30” model vs the 24” which the general is. The general I think I could get for around the $1900-$2000 cnd mark since I just bought a 20” general helical planer and a general spray booth from the guys I would be buying it from. Hopefully they would give me deal, lol. I have a 3hp dual bag dust collector that should get the job done but need to upgrade it down the road and I do have 220 in the shop.

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