Drum Sander

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Forum topic by agallant posted 01-07-2011 07:53 PM 9399 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View agallant's profile


551 posts in 2910 days

01-07-2011 07:53 PM

So is a drum sander worth it? I make allot of tables (end, coffie, etc). I have been sanding them down by hand.

It looks like a decent drum sander is going to cost around 1K

What are your thoughts on them?



23 replies so far

View Stormin's profile


193 posts in 2813 days

#1 posted 01-07-2011 09:01 PM

I’m going to watch this forum I would also like to get one also but so many questions.There are blogs and forums here on LJ but I think I would welcome a new discussion.


-- I started off with nothing I have most of it left

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3198 days

#2 posted 01-07-2011 09:15 PM

I bought a USED Jet (Performax) 16-32, a few months ago. Paid $600.

It was in perfect shape, and included the stand, infeed and outfeed tables, the Accura polypropylene conveyor belt (much better than the OEM, and hadn’t been installed yet), and a few extra rolls of different grits of abrasive.

Love it. Got a good price.

Recently, the NEW ones were on sale for about $800. GREAT price.

But … so many drum sanders available, used. I see them all … the … time.

I’d look for a USED one, personally, but … either way … I think they’re a valuable tool for anybody that does a fair amount of hand sanding—particularly for glued-up panels.

I run 150 grit. Dust collection is great. Machine was aligned quite well. Haven’t taken advantage of the open-ended feature, yet, but … because the (engineer) previous owner hadn’t, either, HE built a brace for the open side … just to secure parallel even better than stock:

You can see what I mean, on the left side of this pic: good idea, I thought !

-- -- Neil

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3898 days

#3 posted 01-07-2011 09:38 PM

I used to have a General 24 inch Dual Drum Sander. I sure miss that beast. Imagine if sanding a surface was as fast as running the piece through the planer, and you didn’t have to worry about creating low spots.

-- -- --

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#4 posted 01-07-2011 09:42 PM

Virtually every question on this forum in the form of “should I get tool X?” should be answer with the line, “it depends on what you want to do”. This is no exception.

Someone who focuses on turning and/or small “crafty” items would never need a drum sander. I don’t even see a need for a drum sander for making a cutting board. They might turn a 30 minute sanding job into a 10 minute sanding job – - hardly worth a K (unless you are making 100s of cutting boards).

The people who benefit from a drum sander are doing furniture and/or cabinets where they have large, flat surfaces to sand.

Let me also suggest that if you only have an occasional need for a drum sander, there are usually cabinet shops in your area where you can use their commercial drum sander for a fee. I go to a place that charges $80/hour with a $20 minimum. I’ve never had to pay more than the minimum and that gives me access to a machine that is 50 inches wide (great for table tops).

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

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3687 days

#5 posted 01-07-2011 11:40 PM

I built a V-Drum sander last year … use it on just about every project I do. It is not a thickness sander, but helps me put a smooth finish on anything up to 18” wide.
Click for details
Full disclosure … I have access to a 48” thickness sander at a local tech school, and I have used it on table tops and larger pieces.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4123 days

#6 posted 01-07-2011 11:56 PM

If you make a lot of tables, cabinet doors, etc, or if you are in business a drum sander is a necessity.

I have had the 24” Grizzly dual head drum sander and now have the 24” ShopFox dual head drum sander. I left the Grizzly in Ohio because I worked out of my brother’s shop there an bought another one for my shop here in Montana.

Both are essentially the same machine and well worth the money. There is hardly a day goes by when working in the shop that I don’t fire up the sander.

My dream would certainly be a wide belt sander but they are quite a bit more money.

If you get a sanding machine, it will be of great necessity to have 1 micron filtration on your dust collector. You cannot use a sanding machine without dust collection and if you have a 5 or 30 micron bag on it you will kill yourself with the fine dust.




-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3207 days

#7 posted 01-08-2011 02:07 PM

Actually Rich a drum sander works very well for those that turn segmented projects. But I agree it does come down to economics especially when your talking about $1000.00 + for a new machine.

If you have the time make one. There are plenty of good plans out there and many of the LJs have posted their drum sanders in the website. I would love to have one myself and plan on building one unless I find a good deal on a used or new one.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2816 days

#8 posted 01-08-2011 02:56 PM

I thought about building one. I researched the plans, and there are many ideas our there. All of the home built sanders have some cost associated with building them. While trying to decide how much money I wanted to spend building one, a 16-32 Performax became available on craigs list. I bought it for the asking price of $500.00. I made cutting boards before I had the sander and after I had the sander, and the money I spent for it was worth every penny.
Just for the record, I have never spent less than thirty minutes sanding down an end grain cutting board. If the difference in time between hand sanding and machine sanding was a 3 to one ratio, the machine would not be worth it. I think the ratio is closer to 10 to 1 for time savings and 100 to 1 in effort.
I have not done any segmented turnings since I bought the sander, but I am looking forward to doing them.

-- Mel,

View jbzehr's profile


12 posts in 3048 days

#9 posted 01-08-2011 07:40 PM

For those of you who own a drum sander, is a variable speed worth the extra cost. Grizzly’s 24” VS is about $500 more. Is the VS used frequently?

View Xtreme90's profile


193 posts in 3216 days

#10 posted 01-08-2011 07:55 PM

The drum sander is deff worth the money, For me it will be a belt sander some day, and one heck of an investment too. Around 10k for what Ill need… Wait let me rephrase that ” for what I prefer” :)

-- "I don't cut wood. I machine it!" G.M. The wood machinest

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3312 days

#11 posted 01-08-2011 08:45 PM

I wish i had the space to get one but if given the chance to get one I’d store it till i have the space. They are very much so worth it in my opinion. Sounds like you need a big one though at least 24” an up. If you have the space and most important the money do it.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Pop's profile


427 posts in 3970 days

#12 posted 01-08-2011 10:48 PM

I sold both PerformX & Delta. I bought a performX 16=32. !. It is NOT a plane. I burned out the overload reset sanding 80 grit. 2. I have NEVER got the loose end to match with the fixed end. I’ve tried many times, no cigar. I think in hindsight the Delta is the better of the two machines. I never run a courser grit than 120. The best improvement is the brace for the loose end. I think I may try it out. Have casters but no in & out feed tables. I would love to have them but $100 is a little much.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3074 days

#13 posted 01-09-2011 03:13 AM

I too, am one that now uses my drum sander on most projects, whether small, or large.

I bought a 16-32 Performax at an estate sale that I saw on Craigslist for $375. I simply could not pass it up at that price.

Maybe 2-months ago, my conveyor belt finally got a tear in it, so I ordered the Accura conveyor belt after reading poor reviews about OEM replacement belts, and positive review about the Accura, for about twice the price of the OEM belts. Can I just tell you that I must not have been doing something correctly when I installed it because that was one of the biggest pains in the …! I have only used it a couple dozen times since installing it, but I have noticed that the wood going through the sander will occasionally slip, and not run smoothly through the sander. Again, maybe I’m doing something wrong? I don’t think I’m trying to take heavier passes than I was before? I almost feel like I need to lightly scuff-up the new belt or something?

I also toyed with the idea of getting the infeed/outfeed table set, but decided to save the $100 (on sale at Rockler) after reading that plenty of people have had issues with alignment. Just didn’t seem like they were worth it and that I’d be better to spend the money elsewhere in the shop. I’m with CessnaPilotBarry in that I feel like vie got a pretty good handle on my infeed and outfeed technique.

I have not attempted to get the left and right side to line up perfectly, as it seems pretty close now. I haven’t measured it, but it’s pretty negligible, considering I tend to rotate my boards, on both front and back, left and right.

I realize this is a fairly entry level drum sander, but it does have the open side, which I haven’t really had too much of a use for… yet. Still, at this point, it is more than adequate for what I need it for.

Would I get rid of it or trade it in… absolutely not! It just makes the flattening, or a slight final dimensioning task that much easier and more accurate, as others have stated. I don’t yet have a planer, but I can tell you a drum sander is much friendly with figured wood. And following Barry’s advice above on grits, taking small cuts, etc. Is all great information, and accurate based on mu own personal experience with a Performax 16-32Plus.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 3094 days

#14 posted 01-09-2011 03:27 AM

Love my drum sander a performax 25×2 5hp, use it pretty much every day!

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3084 days

#15 posted 01-09-2011 03:49 AM

Yes, it comes handy
And actually it’s my favorite tool.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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