Recommended ROS for Butch Blocks?

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Forum topic by TheLastDeadMouse posted 09-26-2016 06:08 PM 911 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 1577 days

09-26-2016 06:08 PM

I’ve been making a number of butch block cutting boards recently. I have a cantilever drum sander that does a decent job getting everything level but since its sanding end grain it takes a long time to get rid of the drum sanding stripes with my poor little Ridgid 5” ROS, even starting back at 60 grit discs. Does anyone have recommendations for ROS with enough power to make relatively quick work of end grain, but still budget conscious? I’d love to go with a Festool Rotax, but I just don’t get enough work to justify $500 for a ROS.

8 replies so far

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2311 days

#1 posted 09-26-2016 06:31 PM

You could move up to a 6” ROS, but what grit are you stopping at with the drum?

Maybe going a grit or two higher on the drum might help. Since you’re sanding end grain, rotating the work 90 degrees from pass to pass might also help. I’ve sanded across face grain during heavy grits with my drum sander, and it can help things get where I want faster without creating as deep scratches. With end grain it would probably work even better.

You could also use a handheld belt sander, with a frame if you need one, as an intermediate step.

View TheLastDeadMouse's profile


38 posts in 1577 days

#2 posted 09-26-2016 08:18 PM

I believe only 80 grit. I was hoping to avoid changing the paper, since the few times I’ve done it have been a major pain, but at the rate that my ROS takes away material, it’d probably be worth changing out the paper for even 1 or 2 boards.

View Bill7255's profile


427 posts in 2486 days

#3 posted 09-26-2016 08:30 PM

One suggestion is to alternate direction you send the board through the sander. By that I mean don’t send the board through the same way each time. Angle it. Abranet pads work well, but you will need to have a pad protector. I have the Ceros sander, but that is $$$.

-- Bill R

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1103 days

#4 posted 09-26-2016 08:33 PM

the 6 inch makita is a good value for money.

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3266 days

#5 posted 09-26-2016 08:43 PM

I like this one a lot for sanding end grain cutting boards: Bosch ROS65VC-6. It is powerful, smooth, and the 6” pad leaves a nice flat surface. At $200 it is not dirt cheap, but a lot cheaper than FT.

-- PaulMayer,

View Kazooman's profile


1237 posts in 2153 days

#6 posted 09-26-2016 08:55 PM

I just finished three more end grain boards and I have a Jet 16/32 drum sander and a 5” Bosch ROS. The method I have settled on echos the advice given above. I start by being careful with the final glue up and use cauls to keep the board as flat as possible. I do most of the sanding on the drum with 80 grit. It is important to alternate the feed direction. I usually do the final drum sanding with 120 grit. Changing the abrasive on my sander takes just a few minutes. One thing I have learned is to pass the board through the sander many times without lowering the drum (alternating direction during the process). You will hear the sander doing its job on every pass even though you did not lower the drum. This technique really minimizes the residual scratches. I have switched to Abranet discs on my ROS and that made all the difference in the world. You do need to get a pad protector as was mentioned and you might need to add a few new holes in it to get the holes in your existing pad to align with those on the protector. This is simply for optimal dust collection.The Abrenet works MUCH faster than standard abrasive disks. The individual Abranet discs do cost more than regular abrasive discs, but they work better and last a whole lot longer. I did three maple/purpleheart boards as a group and only used one pad of each grit (80, 150, 180 if I recall correctly) and I still have the discs for future work.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2311 days

#7 posted 09-27-2016 04:41 PM

I have a 22/44… Like band saw blades, changing sandpaper gets a lot faster with practice.

View splintergroup's profile


2429 posts in 1423 days

#8 posted 09-27-2016 06:49 PM

I have a similar setup to Kazooman, except for a P/C ROS.

I’ll start with 36 grit to get things flat and remove the glue (I’m lazy), then go through the grits through 180.

Best advice is to take very small bites, maybe only 1/8 turn at the most with the finer grits. If you start to get a burn mark, correct the problem before continuing, burns are nearly impossible to remove with a ROS.

Let the board cool if it feels very warm after a drum sander pass. I’ve found that the board warping from uneven heating is a big cause of the DS taking too big of a bite and burning.

After the last pass with 180 (even 120 should be ok), I use the ROS with 100 to get rid of the linear scratches. Normal progression of grits after that.

As to a better ROS, I’ve read that the Rotex can be much more aggressive than other ROSs, but at a huge cost.
It seems the non-festoon sanders are all more or less similar in performance.

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