Drum Sander and Certain Woods

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Don posted 11-09-2011 03:13 PM 2354 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Don's profile


551 posts in 3483 days

11-09-2011 03:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question purpleheart padauk sander

Hey fellow LJ’s….

I purchased a used Delta drum sander a while back to help with my cutting boards and such. A great purchase and as many have said, “how did I work without it for so long?”

One thing I have noticed and I’m trying to figure out if it’s something I’m doing, something wrong with the sander or something inherent in the types of wood. When sanding, and it doesn’t matter what grit I’m using, there are times when I get a burn mark on the sanding roll and eventually on the board I’m sanding.

At first, I thought it might have been glue residue I hadn’t cleaned up properly but then again, maybe not. The last board I passed through was completely clean of any glue but still the burn mark came.

It seemed to me that the burn marks only happen with certain woods, mainly Purpleheart, Bloodwood and Jatoba, to be specific.

Can anyone shed some light on this for me?


-- -- Don in Ottawa,

15 replies so far

View Bigrock's profile


292 posts in 3203 days

#1 posted 11-09-2011 05:00 PM

I take it the model you have does not oscillate. It sounds like you maybe trying to sand off to much thickness a one time or running it to slow.
Once you burn the belt you need to clean it with your big Eraser. A lot of times the belt will clean up. If it will not clean up, the belt may be trash or that part of the sanding belt.
Try to take lighter passes and adjust the speed. Don’t ask me how I know, but I have lost a couple belts being in a hurry.
For me I don’t use any belt less than 100 grit (US No.). I also use 150 Grit. The heavy removal is done on the thickness planer.
I hope this helps.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3315 days

#2 posted 11-09-2011 05:18 PM

I find that it is important to lower the drum on the sander very slowly. I only turn the handle 1/8th of a turn between passes. That means I am only lowering the drum 1/256” with each pass.

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

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4229 days

#3 posted 11-09-2011 05:22 PM

From experience I can say that bloodwood sucks in a drum sander. Take real light passes.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3483 days

#4 posted 11-09-2011 05:34 PM

When I’m using 80 grit or coarser, I usually give the handle a 1/4 turn. Any grit higher that 80 and I only give it 1/8 of a turn with each passing. It’s a slow (painful) process but I find it gives the best results.

Once the burn mark is in the belt, it won’t come out. I’ve tried running a different piece of wood through, got out the eraser and even tried scraping it off all to no avail. It’s a matter of taking the belt off and tossing it away or if the burn mark is only in one spot, making sure I don’t run anything in that spot.

At this rate, I’ll never make a profit from woodworking :o)

I’m going to have to locate a bulk supplier of 2” rolls….

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2931 days

#5 posted 11-09-2011 06:27 PM

I agree with all the comments above. Some woods burn really easily and a brand new belt with a burn/resin stripe on it sucks! I have had reasonably good results cleaning these by soaking in Simple Green and then wire brushing, repeat if needed. I have salvaged a lot of these with this method.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3782 days

#6 posted 11-09-2011 06:33 PM

It’s the sandpaper…..

I use deerfos that I get in rolls from Peachtree. Never any clogs or burn marks. I do do light passes and clean regularly though too.

-- Childress Woodworks

View degoose's profile


7245 posts in 3595 days

#7 posted 11-09-2011 10:43 PM

I agree with all the above… and PH is notorious for burning one stripe on the paper..
Just try to be less agressive with the lowering of the drum…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3228 days

#8 posted 11-10-2011 01:12 AM

You could also consider converting to hook and loop. I have yet to burn a piece of wood since changing over.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


244 posts in 4162 days

#9 posted 11-10-2011 02:16 AM

I do a lot of cutting boards with bloodwood , jatoba and purpleheart. Use my drum sander on them without much problems. I DO however run them through the planer , byrd head , and only need to sand out planer marks. Usually 3 trips through taking 1/8 turn at a time. Most people want to use their drum sander for a planer and it just don’t work.

-- mike & judy western md. www.

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3483 days

#10 posted 11-10-2011 04:06 AM

@SASmith – can you PM me and explain the conversion please?

I have to admit, when I first got the sander, I used it the first few times as a planer but stopped.

Tonight, I sanded two new cutting boards fresh from the clamps, but after running the belt sander over them first to get rid of 75% of the inconsistencies. After that, it was several very light passes through the Drum Sander and I was very pleased with the outcome. This time, I also alternated sides so the PH in the board wouldn’t heat up too much. At one point, one side was completed and I still had a few passes left on the other and I found that after about 4 passes on one side, the PH was starting to darken in spots.

Sorry, I don’t have the guts to run the board back through the planer after the second glue up…I’ll leave that for the brave ones.

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


244 posts in 4162 days

#11 posted 11-10-2011 04:15 AM

HMMMM… I’ve run thousands of glued up panels and cutting boards through my 4 knife head and byrd head without even the hint of problem. I start with my cutting boards at 7/8 for glue up. run them through the planer set at 7/8 first then to 3/4 in 1/32 increments. Then 2 or 3 times through the sander, once each side if its set right the first time. However I don’t run end grain cutting boards through the planer

-- mike & judy western md. www.

View BilltheDiver's profile


260 posts in 3126 days

#12 posted 11-10-2011 05:34 AM

When you can, it also helps if you feed the board in somewhat diagonally until it is truly flat. then parallel to the grain for finishing. Even the heat from normal sanding can cause a color change in purpleheart.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3483 days

#13 posted 11-10-2011 02:21 PM

@pvwoodcrafts – okay, gotcha…I thought you were saying that you run the end grain boards through. I have no problem running them through after the first glue up. I know some LJ’s don’t flinch at the thought of running their end grain boards through their planers but I cringe at the thought.

Just wanted to point out that I appreciate all the advice on here.

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View cathyb's profile


839 posts in 3485 days

#14 posted 11-11-2011 08:02 AM

Hi Don,

I think your problem is that those woods are full of oil. The sanding process creates heat, which releases the oil form the pores of the wood. Once the oil is on top of the board, it really heats up with the hot abrasives of your sandpaper, irrespective of the grit that you are using. I work most of the time with Hawaiian koa, which releases oil all the time. The bad news is that it will certainly shorten the life of the sanding belts. The good news is that if you wait a day and use a chisel or knife blade, you can scrap that oil off (it’s now pretty crusty) and continue to use the paper. Good luck…......

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Dustin's profile


392 posts in 3690 days

#15 posted 11-18-2011 10:05 PM

I know what the problem is. Take your sand paper off. If it is a j hook set up and there is an inconsistent surface on the j hook surface it can cause burn marks onto the wood by creating an uneven backing on the sandpaper. You want to make sure that whatever surface is backing the sandpaper that it is consistent. You may have to replace your j hook with a new single wrap to fix this problem.

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