Sanding end grain cutting boards

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Forum topic by indychip posted 07-27-2015 09:43 PM 2344 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View indychip's profile


79 posts in 2118 days

07-27-2015 09:43 PM

After several years making and sanding hundreds of cutting boards with ROS, I finally have the wife’s approval to buy a drum sander. I found a Performax 16-32 on Craigslist for $450 that I will be picking up Wednesday.

Now the question for others that use a drum sander; what grit do you normally start off with? What do you finish with? After the drum sander do you typically have to hit it lightly with a ROS just to get the fine scratches out? Thanks for any tips. Hopefully this drum sander will save time for me.

7 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2253 days

#1 posted 07-27-2015 10:51 PM

Indy, I have a Delta 18-38 and usually leave 100G in it all the time. It is course enough to get the job done, but not so fine that I get too much burning. I still do a fair amount of sanding with the ROS starting with 100G to get the scratches and any burning the 100G on the drum sander leaves. Some woods are much more prone to burning than others, purpleheart and bubinga come to mind so take very shallow cuts and let the wood cool off somewhat before running it through the sander again. HTH

-- Art

View gwilki's profile


200 posts in 1470 days

#2 posted 07-27-2015 11:52 PM

I keep 120 on my General and then, like Art, use my ROS to finish up.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2853 days

#3 posted 07-28-2015 01:51 AM

Art has some good points, take your time and don’t try to hog off material on an end grain board.

I usually keep 100 on my Jet 16-32 but have no problems switching grits. With the end grain boards I’ve made, I went to 80 for the first few passes, then 100, then 120. Believe me, changing the paper on the drum is a lot less time consuming than sanding that hard end grain with a ROS through the grits. I have even used card scrapers to knock down the sand marks prior to going to a ROS for final sanding up to 220.

NOW… if you are getting a drum sander, then you MUST invest in some sort of dust collection no matter what. You will need it, believe me! This site is full of ideas and expertise. A cyclone is also a good investment, look at the Dust Deputy.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View indychip's profile


79 posts in 2118 days

#4 posted 07-28-2015 11:39 AM

Thanks for the input. I realize I will still have to use the ROS for final sanding, I was just curious to see what grit others use before the final sanding.

I already have a good dust collection system that I use for other tools.
Thanks again

View ScottKaye's profile


643 posts in 1949 days

#5 posted 07-28-2015 01:52 PM

Two thumbs up on what Art and Tech said. Don’t even try to run a little lumber through your sander without dust collection. it will go everywhere.. Trust me.. I know this from experience! My harbor freight D/C does a adequate job with the dust my machine produces. Though I really need to replace the top filter with a Wynn 35a as the dust from the sander is very fine and powder like. Too fine for the stock Harbor Freight filter to collect efficiently.

I have a 19-38 Supermax drum sander and for me it takes literally less than 5 mins to change the paper on my drum. I use 80 grit paper when I need to bring something down to just about final thickness quickly ( a relative term as the drum sander is no planer) and change to 120 grit to smooth the boards out further. Believe me, you will love you drum sander and wish you had bought one sooner! I have never tried anything higher than 120 as you can really start to burn your lumber if you try to take too much off or drive it through to quickly. I wouldn’t necessarily oppose a higher grit though. Just adjust the belt speed down and take a very light pass.

By the way, here is a great place to buy sanding rolls that you cut to size. Industrial Abrasives I buy almost all of my sanding products from them as they have great customer service and good prices. If you need a custom size roll, give them a call they will cut a roll to whatever dimension you need to avoid waste at no extra charge. They will only charge you for what you actually buy.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View RRBOU's profile


176 posts in 2289 days

#6 posted 07-28-2015 02:06 PM

I have the Grizzly G1066Z – 24” Drum Sander, I keep 80 grit on the front drum and 120 on the back drum. My big time saver is the Festool 571810 RO 150 FEQ Rotex Sander. I can finish sand 10 boards to 1 with the rotex.

-- If guns cause crime all of mine are defective Randy

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3062 days

#7 posted 07-28-2015 02:14 PM

I sand with 80 grit on my Woodmaster drum sander, then spray with water to soften the grain a bit, let sit for a couple mins, then sand with 80 then 120 with the ROS. I spend 3-4 minutes per side, including hand sanding with 180, and it’s ready for finish. In addition to spraying the board with water, another trick that helps to minimize the hand sanding is to run the board through the drum sander a couple more times after the final height adjustment, rotating the board in different directions. This will perform a very light sanding and remove a lot of the streaks left from the previous passes. Even with 80 grit this leaves a very nice surface.

-- PaulMayer,

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