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Need drum sander advice

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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 08-26-2016 11:22 AM 397 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SweetTea

71 posts in 119 days


08-26-2016 11:22 AM

I picked up a slightly used Delta 31-250 16” open ended drum sander yesterday off Craigslist, and would like to get some advice from you guys on several things as I have never owned a drum sander.

I want to use it on a couple of cabinet door projects that I am working on. It needs a new conveyer belt, which shouldn’t be hard to find. What I don’t know, is what grits of sand paper would be optimal for sanding cabinet doors. I have some that will be painted and some that will be stained.

Normally on painted stuff I sand to 320grit but on stain projects I stop at 150grit. With both I start at 80grit. Should I get some 80 grit and 150 grit rolls for this unit? I know that it won’t completely eliminate sanding, but it should knock some time off. Also, what size sand paper rolls should I get? Any advice on a good supplier?


8 replies so far

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Fred Hargis

3925 posts in 1952 days


#1 posted 08-26-2016 12:01 PM

I always bought the bulk rolls and cut my own strips from them, this is easier if you have one pre cut strip to use as a pattern. The strips for the Delta have to be 2” wide to get them to wrap correctly. 150 Grit is about as coarse as I would go on mine, after finding out it wasn’t a finishing sander. Anything more fine would clog too quickly, even 150 was a little more fine than I liked…so I started using 120 for most everything and kept a 150 strip on hand just in case. One caution on replacing the feed belt, tuning it (getting it to track straight) takes a whole lot of patience…follow the manual carefully and you’ll get there. One last thing: you NEED a DC for this thing, it generates literally mountains of fine dust; so be sure to have tight filtration on the DC as well.

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

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splintergroup

813 posts in 681 days


#2 posted 08-26-2016 02:52 PM

For a painted surface, I can’t imagine sanding the bare wood finer than 120. Typically a primer is applied to the bare wood, sanded smooth (maybe up to 220 here), then top coated. Your recipe for a stained surface seems fine.

One thing to remember however is the drum sander will leave linear scratches on the wood. I find that I need to go back one ‘step’ in grit when I begin the finish sanding with a ROS (180 grin on the drum sander means I start with 120 on the ROS).

Even with a final sanding with 220 on the drum sander, I still follow up with the ROS. Staining without the ROS would really highlight the linear scratches.

Personally I’d get some 80, 120, and 180 grits. The 80 is great for the initial leveling and the 120/180 get the surface ready for the ROS.

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SweetTea

71 posts in 119 days


#3 posted 08-26-2016 03:37 PM

Ok guys, so do you think that it would be ok to use some 80 grit on my drum sander, or is that too course? I have a big dust collector so I am good there. (Note, I do small cabinet jobs for a living). I would like to use 80 grit to get the bulk of the initial sanding done, then I can go back with the ROS and finish 80 grit sanding the cabinet doors. Then change out the sandpaper and do a 150 grit run through the drum sander, then follow up with the ROS and do the final 150 grit sanding on it?

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splintergroup

813 posts in 681 days


#4 posted 08-26-2016 03:52 PM

I use 80 grit on glued up panels and rough sawn lumber. Basically it is good for quick leveling but it will leave some nice scratches that have to be dealt with. There should be no need to hit the surface with your ROS between drum sander grits, just move on.

I’d do it like this:

Scrape away any excess glue on the cabinet part (door panel?). Make passes through the DS with the 80g until the panel is flat and true. It helps to examine the part in angled light or make a number of pencil marks on the surface. Look for complete coverage of sanding marks. I would advance the drum maybe 1/32” for each pass with the 80G (this is 1/2 turn on my Performax).
Switch to the 150 (or 120), same process except I only advance 1/64” (1/4 turn) at this point. It probably will take 2-4 passes (up to 1/16”) to fully erase the mayhem from the 80G.
Once finished with the 150 or 180, I’d hit it with the ROS equipped with 120 until viewing with raking light shows the linear scratches have disappeared. This is important for stained pieces since the eye can detect linear scratches easier than swirl marks from the ROS.

Anyway, you’ll need to see what works best for you and your machine. I truly adore my DS! but it can get finicky. My biggest challenge was getting rid of the snipe at the beginning of each board (through adjustments and technique).

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Fred Hargis

3925 posts in 1952 days


#5 posted 08-26-2016 04:23 PM

I agree, 80 grit is going to leave some deep scratches…and you’ll be forever trying to get those out. I’ve used it, but only for the roughest of work. Mostly I just use 120 grit with very light cuts and several passes, then switch to the ROS for 150/180…where I usually stop; except for a final hand sanding with the grain using 180 and a sanding block.

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

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SweetTea

71 posts in 119 days


#6 posted 08-27-2016 09:09 AM

Thank you guys so much for all the advice! I ordered some 80 grit, 120 grit and 150 grit Delta sand paper rolls yesterday, in addition to a new feed belt.

Right now the build that I am working on has Shaker Style doors with a flat panel (1/4” maple ply) and no profile on the outside edges, (typical shaker style). I plan to feed the assembled doors through the different sanding grits that I have ordered, and clean them up with a ROS as necessary.

I will probably need some advice on replacing the feed belt, which should be here by the 1st. Thus giving me time to thoroughly read the manual so hopefully I can get the feed belt put on without too much hassle. Thanks so much for all the help guys! Any tips or tricks I should know with regards to replacing the feed belt?

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Fred Hargis

3925 posts in 1952 days


#7 posted 08-27-2016 01:27 PM

Several things can go wrong when replacing the feed belt if you don’t follow the instructions. If you throw the table out of level, it can be a pain to get it calibrated, ditto the tracking on the belt…which you will have to do. Download the manual (available from several places on the web) if you don’t have it and just follow what it says. Replacing the belt isn’t hard, but the tracking adjustment can be tedious.

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

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SweetTea

71 posts in 119 days


#8 posted 08-28-2016 09:30 AM



Several things can go wrong when replacing the feed belt if you don t follow the instructions. If you throw the table out of level, it can be a pain to get it calibrated, ditto the tracking on the belt…which you will have to do. Download the manual (available from several places on the web) if you don t have it and just follow what it says. Replacing the belt isn t hard, but the tracking adjustment can be tedious.

- Fred Hargis

Thanks for all of your help Fred! I will download the manual tomorrow and give it a thorough reading, paying particular attention to the details on replacing the feed belt. Thanks.

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