spindle sander or drill press????

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Kathy posted 10-06-2010 12:36 PM 8912 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kathy's profile


210 posts in 2920 days

10-06-2010 12:36 PM

I am OBSESSED with band saw boxes!!!

My next purchase in the shop was going to be a drill press but now I am considering a spindle sander instead. Would it be a good choice to get the drill press and use it for a spindle sander also? I understand that I can get sanding attachments for a drill press but does it work?


-- curious woodworker

21 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10479 posts in 3427 days

#1 posted 10-06-2010 02:02 PM

It will work, Kathy. HOWEVER….An oscillating spindle sander will be quicker, will not burn the wood as readily and does not put undue stress on the drill press spindle.
Check out the Rigid spindle and belt sander combo at Home depot.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2982 days

#2 posted 10-06-2010 02:19 PM

Drill Press is good to have and there are many attachments that can be attached to them, but as Gene stated some attachments can put undue stress on the spindle and quill. If you need the Drill Press then by all means get one. If your looking for just sanding alone I would suggest the oscillating spindle sander instead. You can purchase a comparable sander for around $100 and would be happier with its results.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

508 posts in 3889 days

#3 posted 10-06-2010 02:47 PM

I’ve never tried the drill press sander, although one advantage would be the ability to get sanding drums with a bearing that allows flush-sanding to a pre-made template. Spindle sanders are more specialized because they oscillate, which is very nice…when it works. Mine is a Wilton oscillating spindle sander, and it recently started making a jerky up/down motion instead of a smooth motion; it spins fine, but the oscillation is not working right. I’ve only run it for about 15 or 20 hours, if that much, in the 5+ years I’ve owned it. I’m going to try to fix it myself…we’ll see what happens. It was a really nice high school graduation gift, so I’m not out of the money it cost to purchase…

I’d suggest a heavier duty sander like a Delta B.O.S.S. or something with a cast iron table. At least I’d assume that cast iron sanders should last longer than one with a melamine table like mine. But I guess what really counts is the durability of what’s under the table. Maybe someone else here on LJ can share what they know about the durability of these tools. I think Triton also makes one if you’re looking for a bench top tool. But remember that a dedicated spindle sander is a specialty tool that does only ONE function. ...Okay maybe two functions…I’ve got a little shop-made jig for mine that makes it a mini edge jointer.

A drill press is more versatile but less specialized for sanding.

Now if you don’t have a drill press to begin with, it might be a good choice to get that first.
Then you’ll be able to use it for more than just sanding. You can continue doing more than bandsaw boxes…not that there’s anything wrong with them—I love them. Just look at my projects. Anyway, a drill press can enable you to drill (duh), mortise, sand, and even plane (with the right accessory). But you give up oscillation in most drill presses. If I remember correctly, Grizzly made a drill press that had an oscillation function that could be switched on/off as needed. And I apologize to everyone who is against foreign-made tools like Griz. I’d prefer to support US made stuff too, but if something else is the only one that has the feature I want, I might go for it. Not to open a can o’ worms here…LOL.

There are also very specialized sanders called Oscillating Edge Sanders. They’re basically a huge belt sander laying on its side, made to sand long straight surfaces/edges, and they’re also very heavy and take up a larger space in the shop. But from what I’ve read, the non-motorized drum that the sanding belt wraps around can be used to sand curved surfaces. So it’s slightly more versatile than a regular spindle sander, but it may be too much for most woodworkers, especially ones like us who make smaller projects.

I hope this helps.

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View woodcrafter47's profile


352 posts in 3104 days

#4 posted 10-06-2010 02:51 PM

Yes it does work ,as i was using my Grizzly yesterday on some curved lock pieces and sure was glad to have it on the drill press ,which I use quit often . Would be a good buy.

-- In His service ,Richard

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2934 days

#5 posted 10-06-2010 03:12 PM

I used to use my DP to sand too and I was never happy with the results. The bearings aren’t designed for that kind of abuse either. I’ve since picked up the Rigid oscillating sander and it is so much better.

View Thomas Keefe's profile

Thomas Keefe

131 posts in 3408 days

#6 posted 10-06-2010 09:05 PM

I have a sanding kit for my drill press. It works for a small amount of shaping. The problem is the
sanding wheel doesn’t oscillate (up and down) so the paper gets loaded very quickly. There is a
cheap Ryobi benchtop drill press that has the oscillation feature so that that the sanding head moves
up and down past the wood. If you do go that way, you may want to consider such a feature.


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3114 days

#7 posted 10-06-2010 09:24 PM

I will vote for a drillpress you can do 150 different things with a good drillpress
the sander can only one thing beside collecting dust and thats making it


View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3049 days

#8 posted 10-07-2010 10:29 AM

I have both, have had the drill press for what seems like forever and only just bought the oscilating sander. They are both very different and if you buy both you will get a lot of use from both. My main reason that I didn’t use the drill press as a sander was that as it is a few years old and still working just fine I really didn’t want to overload it at all. I managed to buy a sander that wasn’t all that expensive and always find a use for it. But I couldn’t live without the drill press (can’t drill straight if you paid me! ), as I do a fair bit of scrollsawing it is so easy to just use, as it is always set up.
Good luck with your descision.

-- Theresa,

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2934 days

#9 posted 10-07-2010 03:22 PM

An alternative is to use this support system from Lee Valley. It still wont oscillate but you won’t damage your DP either.

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2829 days

#10 posted 10-07-2010 03:28 PM

I’ll put in another plug for the Rigid OS sander. Many reviews rated this as “best value” so I went this route. A world of difference using this vs. a drum on the DP. Paper last much longer and easy to get 3×21 belts for the belt sander (which I use the most). Always had clogging and burning issues with the drum on a DP.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3073 days

#11 posted 10-07-2010 04:05 PM

95% of what I do on my big drill press I could also do on a small bench top model. If money is tight, I would get an OSL and a small (cheap) bench top drill.

I’m always leery of sanding drums on drill presses because the Jacobs chuck is not designed to take much lateral force.

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

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3525 days

#12 posted 10-07-2010 10:38 PM

I love my spindle sander. I do have some sanding drums for the drill press that I used before I got the spindle sander, and the spindle sander is so much better. I do have a flap mop sanding thing for the drill press that I use frequently. I think that if you have a love for bandsaw boxes that a spindle sander would be a good purchase. I purchased my sander from lowes for about $170, and it has been running great.

View Kathy's profile


210 posts in 2920 days

#13 posted 10-08-2010 01:51 AM

Thank you for all your replies. I spent my Oct. budget on a dust collector so I have until Nov. to decide which to get. I am thinking that I need the sander more than the DP at this point and then it can come next. I am spending soooooooooo much time sanding the insides of my boxes with a dowel wrapped in sandpaper!. I must be building muscle though!!!!!!


-- curious woodworker

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2826 days

#14 posted 10-08-2010 02:31 AM

What about something like this:

It says you can use it in your drill too.. As long as the chuck is larger than 1/4in…. so I guess you can’t use your brace… lol…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Rick's profile


9600 posts in 3032 days

#15 posted 10-08-2010 05:03 AM


I would go with the Drill Press also. I bought mine at Lowes for about $149.00. I also have the Exact Sanding drum kit mentioned by “newbie” above. Its also works very well if you want to cut Larger Holes with Hole Saws. I just bought a set of those also.

You can view my “DP Table Project” to see the Press & Drums here:

“Clogging Up” has been mentioned above. A Crepe Block does a great job of cleaning up the Sanding Drums while they are still on the DP. Also good for Belt Sanders or Orbital Sanders.

However I also like the Ridgid Oscilating & Belt Sander
Ridgid M:EB4424 Med

Not sure yet if I NEED it but would like to HAVE it….LOL…

Lee Valley Carries a Wide Variety of Sanding drums for all uses the Link will take you to their Drum Kits Page only,42500

They have a lot of other accessories also including a “Drum Sander Support System” that takes the pressure off the drill Chuck by suporting the bottom of the drum.

I’ll grab the Link to that also as it might be of interest to others also, and as that problem has been pointed out above.,42500

Hope this helps.


EDIT: Hey ChuckC…Just noticed. You Linked to the same support System. Oh Well…Twice is better than None..LOL..

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics