Jointer vs. Drum Sander

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Forum topic by Padre posted 03-02-2010 10:41 PM 3779 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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930 posts in 2906 days

03-02-2010 10:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer drum sander joining sanding

I am in the market for either a nice drum sander or a nice 8” jointer. I am looking at the Grizzly G0593 with the spiral cutterhead.

Can a drum sander be used as a jointer? Or do you still need to establish a flat edge for the sander to work effectively?


-- Chip ----------- 6:8

11 replies so far

View dbhost's profile


5589 posts in 2649 days

#1 posted 03-02-2010 10:54 PM

Depends on the drum sander design. They thickness in a manner similar to a planer, I would imagine that a drum sander could face joint in a manner similar to using a planer and a sled…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2491 days

#2 posted 03-02-2010 10:57 PM

A drum sander would be a very poor substitute for a jointer. A drum sander might be an reasonably acceptable substitute for a planer, but I would not even advise that.

If you are going to work with rough lumber you are going to need a good jointer – period. The G0593 is a good one.

You can postpone the drum sander and compensate in 2 ways. On smaller pieces you can get by with a ROS. On larger pieces you can go to a local cabinet shop and run it through their drum sander for a modest fee. The normal charge where I go is $80/hour with a $20 minimum. I’ve never paid more than the minimum. I believe cabinet shops that do this kind of work are quite common all over the country.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View grub32's profile


212 posts in 2465 days

#3 posted 03-02-2010 11:03 PM

the joonter will take a lor of material off quickly…the other would be slow going if that’s yor intent…. I agree with the previous reply…if you put he wood through w/o a sled, the sender would press the would flat and not really remove cups and probably burn it in the process.

I would buy the jointer first…more usef I think in general.


-- Science Teacher by Day, Wood Butcher by Night!!

View rustfever's profile


716 posts in 2727 days

#4 posted 03-02-2010 11:14 PM

My experiences with drum sanders.

First, If you wish to use it as a planer, then you need mega horse power and multile drums. Production units have upwards of 50 HP (or more) on the first drum and 25-35 hp (or more) on the second and subsequent drums. (You would dim the light in the whole neighborhood every time you turned it on!)
If you do not have the above, you will work for hours and hours, to do what could be accomplished in just a couple of minutes with a planer/joiner. My performax will only take a couple of thousanths of an inch on each pass. And the single drum sander will pass the wood thru at a significantly slower speed.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2577 days

#5 posted 03-02-2010 11:38 PM


To fully answer your question, tell us what you plan on building and if you already have a planer. Disregarding the use of plywood, how large of pieces of real lumber do you need flattened?

I would more compare a drum sander to a planer. If you can’t afford both a jointer and a planer, then I suggest getting a planer first. Working with the face of a board, you can make compensations on a planer to do jointer work but not vice verse. And then afterwards, you can make compensations on a table saw to do the work of edge jointing.

You CAN flatten the faces of twisted boards using a planer(or drum sander), but you don’t use them like you normally would. As was mentioned, you’d use a sled or some other method to keep the work from changing orientation as it passed through the machine. If you’re working with rough lumber, then get a planer. If you already have a planer, then you need to tell us what you plan on spending most of your time building. HTH.

Also, are you WW’ing full time or just as a hobby?

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 2906 days

#6 posted 03-03-2010 12:06 AM

Thank you for your answers! Rich, Rance, yes, for working with rough lumber, and I will heed your advice and get the jointer.

Again, thank you!

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View grub32's profile


212 posts in 2465 days

#7 posted 03-03-2010 12:38 AM

Chip…I have an 8 inch Jointer and I use it as much as my planer…getting the stock flat is very easy and then run it through the planer to dimension. Very quick and easy…

Show some pics when you get it set up please : )


-- Science Teacher by Day, Wood Butcher by Night!!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3405 days

#8 posted 03-03-2010 01:25 AM

Remember that you can also use a planer as a jointer with a planer sled.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View mikeinmissouri's profile


12 posts in 2424 days

#9 posted 03-03-2010 06:27 AM

I have a grizzly 8 inch jointer , its one of my favorite tools. I just added the spiral cutterhead, 100 % improvement! very quiet and the lumber feels like you sanded it with 220. If you buy one dont get the one with the spiral cutterhead in it, buy it later that way you will have both heads for the same price. Good luck.

-- Mike, Peculiar Missouri

View Jim's profile


38 posts in 2467 days

#10 posted 03-03-2010 06:57 AM

Looks like you got the answers you need but since I recently bought both a drum sander and a planer and already have an 8” jointer I’ll chime in anyway. I’ve only had my drum sander (Jet 22-44) for a few weeks. I got it and my 20” spiral head planer at about the same time. I have used both quite a bit building a chest of drawers. The planer leaves a very smooth finish but still needs a little sanding. I use 180 grit on the drum sander and run the pieces thru the sander, usually just one pass on each side. A litle slow but faster and more accurate than I could do it with my hand held belt sander. A few swipes with 220 grit on my ROS and I’m done. I like the drum sander because it gives a good flat finish and takes out any marks the planer may have left.

I know your question was about a jointer or drum sander but, as others have said, I think the relationship between the planer and sander is much closer. I use my jointer to get a flat edge for glue ups and for flattening a board before planing.

-- JimT

View a1Jim's profile


115166 posts in 2994 days

#11 posted 03-03-2010 07:33 AM

There are alternatives to joints but in my opinion nothing works as well as a good jointer. I have a 12” Grizzly
spiral head jointer and it’s great.

-- Custom furniture

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