Sanding door panels, which sander is best?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Fireguy1957 posted 12-21-2009 02:25 AM 12283 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Fireguy1957's profile


9 posts in 3079 days

12-21-2009 02:25 AM

When sanding a cabinet door with a drum sander, doesn’t that mess up the top and bottom rails that have the grain running in opposite directions as the rails? The reason I am asking this is because I am in the process of deciding which sander to purchase. I like the jet oscillating drum sander that I can see would be good for opposite grain directions in a panel door, but it cost nearly 2000 as opposed to a Grizzly 24” drum sander for 1400.
I have worked with wood my whole life framing houses and building log houses, but in retirement, am now starting to get into finish carpentry…so I am going to have a lot of questions!
This is a great site, thanks all for all your blogs thus far.


13 replies so far

View Fireguy1957's profile


9 posts in 3079 days

#1 posted 12-21-2009 03:04 AM

Thanks Pilot, that helps a lot. I read some sanding forums in here where they talk about running a finished door panel through drum sanders and I couldn’t imagine a good result…

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 3771 days

#2 posted 12-21-2009 05:03 PM

I went to a recent woodworking shop with the intention of buying the Jet 22-44 Oscillating drum sander. While at the show I spoke with a couple of Jet representatives. We were in the process of writing out the purchase order, when I asked if the oscillating sander was actually worth the several hundred dollars over the regular 22-44 sander. The rep said in his opinion “not really.” He explained that the company was have some problems with the oscillating sander. On his advice I bought the 22-44 sander without the oscillating feature. pk

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3768 days

#3 posted 12-21-2009 05:23 PM

it will mess it up but mostly in lower grits not so much or a problem in the higher ones. if you really have trouble with a door and need to run it through a sander then run it through like a diamond so its not running across any grain.

but like was said above if you run it through a sander the panel will be level with the sides which is a mark of a box store or other production run place. having the panel set slightly higher than the rails and stiles is the mark of a craftsmans door because it shows they took care to get everything right and didnt run it through a drum sander.

View Fireguy1957's profile


9 posts in 3079 days

#4 posted 12-23-2009 03:47 PM

Thanks all. It has been very educational.

View dkg's profile


30 posts in 3085 days

#5 posted 12-27-2009 09:09 PM

Hi fireguy,

I have built a large amount of doors, windows, and cabinet doors. I have had good results with the 6” festool sanders. They are very agressive and it does not take long to smooth out the rail to style area of a door or window and they leave no hatch marks because they are oscillating sanders. I start with 80 grit, 120, 180, and finish with 220.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3893 days

#6 posted 12-27-2009 10:11 PM

I must also be a “wanna be” factory, home depot guy. I almost always put my doors through a thickness sander and yes it leaves sanding marks (albeit most folks would be hardpressed to see them) but they are easily removed with an orbital sander. Even easier if you change the grit to 180 on the last pass. A thickness sander, be it belt or drum, will do in one hour, what takes me a week by hand. If you have “forever” to complete a job, by all means…............knock yerself out !

The day I give away all my machines, my electric orbitals, my battery operated drills, my table saw….........Just shoot me….lol

As for which tool. I’ld get the best you can afford.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3547 days

#7 posted 12-27-2009 10:53 PM

We use our drum sander, our doors turn out great and we get a lot of compliments from them. Most local shops don’t even build their own doors. We build several doors per year and take a lot of pride in what we do. I am in no way in the same class as Home Depot or any other big box center, there is no comparison. We provide a far superior product over the production companies that support foriegn countries. The wood we use comes off of our land and in every way possible we support our economy unlike the big box. The big box only looks to have a nice looking cabinet, we look to have high quality nice looking cabinet. There are so many differences between us and the big box stores I will not waste time telling of them all. Certainly us using a drum sander for our doors does not merit us or anyone else using a drum sander being compared to a big box store.

-- .

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4006 days

#8 posted 12-28-2009 02:59 PM

I don’t see how anybody makes money off cabinet doors. So many places dedicated to doors only and cutting each others throats in pricing…I’m just sayin…

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Fireguy1957's profile


9 posts in 3079 days

#9 posted 12-29-2009 04:46 AM

Again thank you all for your input..
i am very pleased I found this great site. I love the discussion and the information provided. Happy New year everyone.
Carpe Diem

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3286 days

#10 posted 12-30-2009 01:04 AM

Miles, you are right. It is extremely difficult to make money on doors. Being very productive is the only way to do it, and thats even hard when everyone demands cheap and fast. But—-”Factories can build a quality door if they refuse to compromise. This is what we use to sand our doors—A Timesaver Model 237—-2 heads—belt size—37” x 75”

And yes we get cross-grain scratches, so we use this—

It is a DMC Finesand, which is a feed through orbital. We don’t send our doors out with cross-grain scratches, but I have to compete price-wise with doors that are poorly sanded.

bentlyj, I’m glad you outsource 80% of you doors—-you guys keep guys like us in business

Sorry guys, but production shops (Factories) are helping to keep housing somewhat affordable


View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4314 days

#11 posted 12-30-2009 01:30 AM

My sander is a 3X21 PortaCable beltsander and a 5” orbital. My point being a $2000.00 or even a $40,000.00 dollar sander would be great, but I’ve built many kitchens without them.

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3667 days

#12 posted 12-30-2009 01:32 AM

I love my drumsander. I run 150 on both drums, take light passes and start the orbital with 120. Scratches are no problem.
Kent, I mean this in the most respectful way, you suck :)
I worked in a shop with that exact DMC machine, it worked well, but talk about a PITA to change the paper on.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4314 days

#13 posted 12-30-2009 01:34 AM

...ya I’m a little jealous of Kents set up too!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics