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Do I need a drum sander or not?

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Forum topic by skogie1 posted 07-28-2016 09:52 PM 645 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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skogie1

95 posts in 825 days


07-28-2016 09:52 PM

I have most of the big items purchased already (jointer, planer, bandsaw, TS…). I want to do about a dozen end grain cutting boards for Christmas gifts. Is it time for a drum sander? I have a tiny shop (120 sq ft) and all I can handle is a 12” drum sander. (If you’re wondering how I manage big tools in a small space I use the TS and miter saw in my carport and everything else is in the shop on mobile stands) So….the question is, how much time am I really going to save and how much better will my results be using a drum sander vs an ROS and/or belt sander? I can do a flat glue up and I’m confident I can get a flat surface without a drum sander, but would it be a lot quicker and would the result be significantly better with a drum sander? And, is it even worth purchasing buying a 12” sander? Should I wait until I can handle a larger drums sander? Opinions? Thanks guys.


15 replies so far

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

3392 posts in 1666 days


#1 posted 07-29-2016 12:05 AM

Go find a LJ nearby who has one and see it in operation for yourself then I think you may be able to answer your own question.

-- Regards Robert

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2633 posts in 2571 days


#2 posted 07-29-2016 02:43 AM

I have a Jet 10-20 that I bought many years ago and didn’t use much until recently, now that I’m retired. It saves a ton of time. HOWEVER, you have to make sure that the paper on the drum stays lined up. If I replace a strip of sandpaper, I can make maybe three passes before the heat expands the sandpaper, and I have to re-tension it. This will happen several times before I can trust it to just run a part through. If I don’t, the wood will get burn marks. You have to be really careful with snipe, as well. Infeed and outfeed support are very important.

And, what Robert said!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View RogR's profile

RogR

53 posts in 327 days


#3 posted 07-29-2016 05:09 AM



I have a Jet 10-20 that I bought many years ago and didn t use much until recently, now that I m retired. It saves a ton of time. HOWEVER, you have to make sure that the paper on the drum stays lined up. If I replace a strip of sandpaper, I can make maybe three passes before the heat expands the sandpaper, and I have to re-tension it. This will happen several times before I can trust it to just run a part through. If I don t, the wood will get burn marks. You have to be really careful with snipe, as well. Infeed and outfeed support are very important.

Perhaps wandering a little from the OP – but I don’t have those issues with my Jet as long as I take the time to get the paper correctly tensioned the first time. And as long as I don’t try to make too big a cut, I get no burn. BUT, as you point out infeed and outfeed are absolutely critical, so a machine that varies the bed height (instead of the head height) would be a nightmare for long stock.

As always, it comes down to what your uses are. The better all your other woodworking skills are, the less need you will have for the sander!

View RogR's profile

RogR

53 posts in 327 days


#4 posted 07-29-2016 05:21 AM


I have a Jet 10-20 that I bought many years ago and didn t use much until recently, now that I m retired. It saves a ton of time. HOWEVER, you have to make sure that the paper on the drum stays lined up. If I replace a strip of sandpaper, I can make maybe three passes before the heat expands the sandpaper, and I have to re-tension it. This will happen several times before I can trust it to just run a part through. If I don t, the wood will get burn marks. You have to be really careful with snipe, as well. Infeed and outfeed support are very important.

View GFactor's profile

GFactor

79 posts in 1061 days


#5 posted 07-29-2016 07:58 AM

I would check out stockroomsupply.ca and look at their Flat Master Sanders. You could go much larger than 12”, for less money, and less space used. I built a table saw cart that has my table saw, with router extension, miter saw station, and their 30” V Drum sander. The Flat Master is an already built unit, and the V Drum is basically all the parts so you could build your own enclosure.

One benefit of their sanders is the paper does not get loaded AT ALL, no paper burn, and they will flatten ANY board.

One thing it can not do is remove exactly 1/32” of an inch or something to that effect.

Check out their site, watch a couple of their way out dated old videos (out dated as in the quality of the video), and give them a call. It is a small Company, but everyone knows their stuff. I am VERY happy I installed a 30” unit into my set up.

Cheers!

-- To Steal Ideas From One Person is Plagiarism; to Steal From Many is Research…

View becikeja's profile

becikeja

643 posts in 2275 days


#6 posted 07-29-2016 10:26 AM

I found an old Ryobi 16-32 drum sander for $75 a few years ago. It needed to be re-wired and had a slight lean to it across arm that holds the sanding belt. I was able to repair both easily. I usually like to buy tools new and wear them out myself, but I like you wanted to try it out to see if I would actually use it, before dropping +$1K. I got a steal, but I can tell you I use it all the time. If mine ever crashes and I can’t repair it, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a new one.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1944 posts in 1450 days


#7 posted 07-29-2016 10:54 AM

Do not forget that the drum sanders make lots of dust…you will need a dust collector.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3932 posts in 1955 days


#8 posted 07-29-2016 11:39 AM



Do not forget that the drum sanders make lots of dust…you will need a dust collector.

- Redoak49

Bears repeating…these things can generate mountains of fine dust.

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

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

2227 posts in 1908 days


#9 posted 07-29-2016 01:08 PM

Will it earn its keep? could you use the space for something more useful? in a small shop every tool that occupies a space has to be essential to what you do or else you’ll end up getting rid of it .

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1464 posts in 2705 days


#10 posted 07-29-2016 01:41 PM


Do not forget that the drum sanders make lots of dust…you will need a dust collector.

- Redoak49

++++1
Big understatement. Plan for dust collection before you get a drum sander. Drum Sanders are very useful for a lot of things but having used a 16/32 and a 19/38 often, you must, must, must have good dust collection. I would buy one in a heartbeat if I had the $$.

Bears repeating…these things can generate mountains of fine dust.

- Fred Hargis


-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

827 posts in 684 days


#11 posted 07-29-2016 08:43 PM

Can’t do without the dust collection!

A drum sander is a commitment in $$$. It will make flattening your cutting boards easy. You can also flatten your boards with several other methods, a hand held belt sander works well as does a router sled. Use one of these alternate methods and you can delay a drum sander purchase, leaving time to nail down the specs of what you need.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2190 posts in 942 days


#12 posted 07-29-2016 09:10 PM

1. Glue sacrifical strips on two ends, then 2 more on the other two sides that extend beyond the blank about 4” The short ones limit tear out and the long ones snipe.

Run the the blank thru the planer tear out will be minimal and taken care of when you treat the edges.

Obviously you’ll get better results with a helical head. If straight knives you can make the outer strips a bit wider and cut to final size to eliminate any tear out.

And obviously you’ll be limited by the size of your planer.

2. Low angle jack plane + Extremely sharp blade + Sharpening stones close by + Eat your Wheaties.

3. Pay a commercial shop to do them.

Google “mtm cutting boards” he does some amazing work and uses the planer technique.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View GFactor's profile

GFactor

79 posts in 1061 days


#13 posted 08-03-2016 08:08 AM

Check out Stockroomsupply.ca

A very minimal investment results in a simple to use sander, with excellent results.

Cheers

-- To Steal Ideas From One Person is Plagiarism; to Steal From Many is Research…

View skogie1's profile

skogie1

95 posts in 825 days


#14 posted 08-03-2016 01:19 PM

I think I will look into the flatmaster sander on stockroomsupply. Like GFactor says, minimal investment and good results. It seems that users are happy with the performance and the price is right. It looks like it will handle my end grain cutting board project just fine. Thanks everyone.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

132 posts in 278 days


#15 posted 08-04-2016 06:56 PM

I have a 24 inch drum sander like the Flatmaster that I built from a kit I bought directly from them at a woodworking show. It works well for flattening one side of a board, although it is extremely slow compared to my jointer. If you run the workpiece through a lot of times and remove a lot of wood, it will produce a workpiece that is not of uniform thickness even if it didn’t start out that way. It is good for medium sanding large pieces. However, it is not a substitute for a real drum sander with a moving conveyor and an overhead drum. I use both regularly.


I think I will look into the flatmaster sander on stockroomsupply. Like GFactor says, minimal investment and good results. It seems that users are happy with the performance and the price is right. It looks like it will handle my end grain cutting board project just fine. Thanks everyone.

- skogie1


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