How useful is a small drum sander?

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Forum topic by bigarm posted 03-31-2016 06:34 PM 554 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 519 days

03-31-2016 06:34 PM

I have been on a buying springe lately, but am coming to an end. I have been making cabinet doors and other things that have flat boards usually glued together for boxes, etc. How useful would a small drum sander be for this use. I don’t have room for a large drum sander but I see that Grizzly and others make smaller 12” drum sanders and Grizzly makes an 18” open end sander (not sure whether it can be made mobile). Do any of you have these and if so, how do you like them. Do you use them regularly or not? I can sell my last Colt SAA and be able to buy such a thing. Just don’t know if I want to part with the Colt.

9 replies so far

View AZWoody's profile


680 posts in 641 days

#1 posted 03-31-2016 06:38 PM

I actually have the 18” open end and the baby drum sander. The 18” is ok but if I have the chance, I will upgrade to a Supermax open end. Either the 18 or 25”. That said, it does work, but the lack of outfeed tables is my biggest problem. I work with slabs that are just too heavy to use as is and the table moves up and down, not the drum.
As for mobility, I use the Shop Fox base and it’s easy to move around.
It is a dust making machine and I modified the hood to 2×4” ports. The baby drum I changed to a single 6” and it runs clean in my shop.

The baby drum is great. I use it for getting pieces down to final thicknesses if I need things to be precise for fitting into dadoes, etc.

I also use it for sanding down inlays, whether it be stone or brass.

Would definitely recommend it.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3839 posts in 1911 days

#2 posted 03-31-2016 06:58 PM

I bought a second hand but unused Delta drum sander from a freind who needed to sell it. I had no idea what i would do it, but then it became the 4th or 5th most used tool in my shop. Foolishly I sold it last year since I hadn’t used in some time….now I find I’m prepping to buy a replacement. Like Woody said, you need a DC but they are worthwhile tools; just don’t think of them as a finishing sander. Even so, I’m not sure I’d give up a Colt SAA for one (if I had the Colt to give up).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View mahdee's profile


3454 posts in 1185 days

#3 posted 03-31-2016 07:19 PM

The Griz you are looking at has a lot of bad reviews. I have a Spuermax 19-38. It weigh about 220 pounds with the stand. With long/heavy stuff the additional infeed and outfeed options are a good idea. Also, you need a very strong vacuum as they produce a tone of dust.


View pmayer's profile


845 posts in 2483 days

#4 posted 03-31-2016 07:23 PM

I don’t use mine very much. I have a variable speed planer with a spiral cutterhead, and I find that 99% of the time I can get a better surface finish with that than I can with a drum sander. My planer also converts to a drum sander, but I find that I only actually do that when I am running end grain through it. If I had a standard cutterhead, or was not able to dial my planer down to feed super slow for “finish planing”, I would use the drum sander more frequently.

The one thing that I would probably run through a drum sander more regularly if I had a dedicated unit would be frame and panel cabinet doors, as I can’t run those through my planer.

-- PaulMayer,

View Todd's profile


379 posts in 1094 days

#5 posted 03-31-2016 10:20 PM

I have the Jet 16-32 and love it.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2339 days

#6 posted 03-31-2016 11:46 PM

I had Grizzly’s “Baby drum sander” and it sanded well. Slow but worked for about a year. The motor that feeds the wood died so I replaced it. The second one lasted about a year and also died. Both were out of warranty…. I tossed the sander.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Julian's profile


1009 posts in 2108 days

#7 posted 04-01-2016 02:57 PM

I have a Supermax 27” dual drum sander. It comes in very handy when I have boards wider than my 12” planer.
Also does a great job if you have boards with wild grain that tear out easily on a planer. If you have the space and money a drum sander is a nice tool to have but you can manage without one.

-- Julian

View shipwright's profile


7080 posts in 2215 days

#8 posted 04-01-2016 02:57 PM

Do you have a lathe? You can make this one quickly and cheaply. I use it frequently and it works really well. It is portable and stores in a small space when not in use.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View splintergroup's profile


719 posts in 640 days

#9 posted 04-01-2016 03:54 PM

Now that is cool!

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