Drum Sander - how much do you use it?

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Forum topic by Don posted 01-03-2011 07:26 PM 13309 views 2 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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551 posts in 3240 days

01-03-2011 07:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question sander

Happy New Year folks…..

With my new found love of making cutting boards, I’m tossing around the idea of purchasing a Drum Sander, especially seeing Busy Bee Tools has a 13” Craftex on for $599.

Before I commit to the purchase, however, I am going to have to convince myself that this tool can/will be used for much more than just flattening glued up boards or I will never get it past SWMBO.

If you own one, please let me know all the wonderful uses of it.


-- -- Don in Ottawa,

38 replies so far

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4160 days

#1 posted 01-03-2011 07:36 PM

I wished I had a drum sander, but I do not. The idea is that sanding large items would be easier in a single pass or two, rather than spending lots of time with a hand sander.

I would say for something this size, a planner would be a better purchase. A 13 inch width is about the same size as a planner. Large wide boards would not go through it as it is. Instead, I would look at the open ended drum sanders by Jet, Powermatic, etc. At least you can put wide items through them for sanding.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3240 days

#2 posted 01-03-2011 07:42 PM

Hi Bill….

I should have mentioned that I already own a 12” planer so the sander would be an addition.


-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3339 days

#3 posted 01-03-2011 07:42 PM

i make a lot of inlays
with grain going every direction

couldn’t do without it
hand sanding is a pain
and leaves it all hill and dale
from all the different densities

can’t beat them for flat
without rip out

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3880 days

#4 posted 01-03-2011 08:25 PM

I use it on everything that I make. I love it, just love it.
But they are expensive.
So I guess it is like a lot of other tools, it depends on what you are building. i.e. don’t use it on MDF :)

I have only used the Jet/Proformax version. Seems like a really deep price reduction on your link. ??


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Loren's profile


10391 posts in 3646 days

#5 posted 01-03-2011 08:37 PM

The sander you are looking at is underpowered. You’ll only be
able to take light cuts with that motor and it will take a lot of
passes in wide pieces and hardwoods.

I recommend a 2hp or bigger motor for a thickness sander.

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2796 days

#6 posted 01-03-2011 09:13 PM

I have a double drum 25” model that is sold under the”Canwood” label. It looks Identical to the “General International” model except for paint and a slight variation in the base it’s mounted on. I’m sure there are other house names for these kind of things as well.

My thoughts are that 13” is pretty narrow for a closed ended sander. It may be fine now but it somewhat limits what you can do later. I don’t have experience with the open ended ones but I built a 48” wide walnut top for an island in our kitchen in two pieces and when joined they required very little sanding so small width isn’t the only factor to look at. I’m happy with mine and echo Patron’s comments about inlays and marquetry.

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

View degoose's profile


7233 posts in 3353 days

#7 posted 01-03-2011 09:26 PM

I have the Jet 16/32 and would not be with out it… nary a day goes by when it is not called upon to sand something…It is most useful for flattening boards, frames and such but really comes into it’s own on end grain and curly timbers.
I did have a generic chinese made model but the difference with the Jet is like chalk and cheese…At the time it was all I could justify.. but after it wore out… I did a lot of work with it… I got the Jet and wished I had spent the money earlier.. so much easier to use..quieter and does a better job quicker..
Hope this is of some help…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3583 days

#8 posted 01-03-2011 09:33 PM

If you have a fine finish with your planer with a capacity of twelve inch then thirteen inch sanding will not bring much help to your workshop . I would buy as wide a drum sander as I could ,unless you constantly make smaller items. It would seem to me that thicknessing twelve inch boards as my planer does then joining the wood with glue clamps etc you would be better equipped being able to remove joint marks excess glue etc with a wider sander.Have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3240 days

#9 posted 01-03-2011 10:05 PM

One more thing to throw in the mix…..

For those of you with the V-Drum sander, would it be a (poor man’s) cheaper solution?

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3880 days

#10 posted 01-03-2011 10:22 PM

I love this question. I have both. They are different.
The Drum sander is a thickness sander = abrasive planer.
The V-Drum sander is a leveling sander = abrasive jointer.

You can kind of do the same thing on either, just like a jointer and a planer. But they excel at their designed tasks.

I use the drum sander more than the v-drum. Maybe it is because it is power fed, but I believe that it is because it thicknesses. You can take all kinds of little scraps and turn them into nice pieces of wood. You can remove a lot more wood with the drum sander than the v-drum.

They are both a lot quieter than the planer too. A pleasure to use.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3240 days

#11 posted 01-03-2011 10:49 PM

Steve – when you run your cutting boards through after the final glue up, do you use the V-Drum or the Drum sander?

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3432 days

#12 posted 01-03-2011 11:13 PM

Don, chiming in late here. Upon the recommendations of my fellow LJs who said I was stupid/lucky for running my end grains through a planer without incident, I purchased the Jet Performax 16/32. I was a bit sticker-shocked when I started researching drum sanders. My solution was to bite the bullet and spend the money on a highly-recommended unit that would pay for itself in cutting boards over a short period. Yes, I purchased this for the single task of “planing” end grain boards. Now that I started using it, use it for any task that I can think of. I even run my initial sticks through it to make sure they are extra smooth before the second glue up.

Beyond the safety aspect, I have found that I am able to get super-precise on my sticks before the glue ups. I hate gaps and will cut a board down to a fraction of the intended size due to imperfections. So, this has allowed me to breathe a sign of relief and relax. Well, breathing is relative, these things make more dust than a desert storm in August.

Overall I am completely thrilled with the accuracy, reliability, quiet running and solid parts.

I too run my edge grains through a planer, but always seem to throw in a few passes with my drum sander, just to make sure the minimal snipe is eradicated before the next step. Not sure of this helps your decision, but if you can justify the expense by creating works that will sell, it may make more sense.

Some of the deciding factors were reputation of Jet, the ability to purchase sanding rolls with ease, and the fact that the 16” open sided drum allowed me to go bigger if I ever needed to for other projects. I thought about saving some extra money here or there, but not without longer-term headaches.

PM me if you have specific questions. Excited for you Don.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2924 days

#13 posted 01-03-2011 11:17 PM

I have used the Performax 22-44 for many years, and as was said, once you use it awhile, you don’t want to work without it…

Easy to change paper, adjust height, flatten cupped stock, and give you a consistant finish time after time.

Wouldn’t give mine up… :)

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3008 days

#14 posted 01-03-2011 11:20 PM

How often do you guys end up having to replace your sanding rolls?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3880 days

#15 posted 01-03-2011 11:21 PM

Hey Don,
I am no expert here. Nor a huge user/producer, just a hobbyist.

Right or wrong, here is what I have done. I run it through the drum until it is pretty much in shape. Then over to the v-drum to obtain a flat reference side. Then back to the drum to finish it up. This may have to be repeated after waiting a day or so, as the wood tends to freak out whenever its shape is changed. This is pretty the same as what I do with rough boards with the planer and jointer. You can use a sled with the drum sander to make it do a jointing operation, just like you can with a planer.

One more thing, the drum will make a lot of dust (I mean a lot). You need a dust collector to use it (maybe a good shop vac will do?). The v-drum can almost be run without a vac. The drum kicks up dust because of the design. The v-drum tends to just graze the board so the dust just falls into the box.

You can build a drum sander too…. or use a lathe spinning a drum….

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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