Is a benchtop drum sander good for final sanding wood panels?

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Forum topic by golden478 posted 01-06-2016 11:38 PM 385 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 291 days

01-06-2016 11:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drum sander finishing sander sanding

I am considering a benchtop drum sander for finish-sanding some wood panels.

I have a tremendous quantity of pre-sanded solid radiata pine wood panels. Off the shelf, they are supposed to be “stain ready” and sanded up to 150 grit.

However, off the shelf, they are NOT sanded perfectly. They often have some rough areas. They also typically have some damage from handling/shipping.

My back is bad, and years of many hours a week using an orbital sander has taken its toll. I would rather push it through a machine and call it a day.

My question is this:

Is a bench top drum sander (such as JET Drum Sander 16-32) capable of final finishing, so that I can avoid using an orbital sander altogether?

Many thanks for any comments.

4 replies so far

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 596 days

#1 posted 01-06-2016 11:57 PM

Most finishing books will tell you to do the final sanding by hand.

I have used a fine grit (220+) using a fine touch on a drum sander. Just sand with the grain.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Rob's profile


225 posts in 2406 days

#2 posted 01-07-2016 12:01 AM

I use a Supermax 19-38 drum sander all the time and yes you can sand up to 220 grit and be very close to finish ready but like WoodNSawdust said, sand with the grain and very light passes. If it were me, I would still follow that up with the RAS with 220 grit paper. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to really get your panels ready. If you aren’t experienced using a drum sander, there is a small learning curve. At first, it’s very easy to burn the wood from taking passes that are too intrusive so be very careful!

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2110 days

#3 posted 01-07-2016 01:11 AM

You will always have very fine parallel lines/scratches after drum sanding. These can be removed very quickly with a ROS and some 220 grit. The new oscillating drum sanders may not leave these fine striations but I have never used one as they are out of my price range.

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

View realcowtown_eric's profile


554 posts in 1356 days

#4 posted 01-07-2016 01:26 AM

I’ve got a performax and all it takes is a knot or a hard spot to slow it down and suddenly you’ve got a nice little line across the whole panel . Even with a light touch

To me, it’s used primarily to rough sand stuff like maple, where there may be a tad of tear out.and you can only run stff through the planer so many times before panel is too thin,

So it’s sand to thickness with the performax, and then finish sand with ROS

A thickness sander doesn’t seem to be a panacea, but it does help

Pragmatically, if you measure sanded surface temp vs underside, there’s a healthy difference, and that just has to distort the wood somewhat if you believe in the law of physiks!

eric in Calgary

-- Real_cowtown_eric

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