Home made drum sander question

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Forum topic by George_SA posted 01-07-2013 07:42 PM 5005 views 2 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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370 posts in 2412 days

01-07-2013 07:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question

Just wondering before I make the commitment to build a home made drum sander. How effective are they for smoothing an endgrain cutting board? I am in the process of finishing my first endgrain cutting board. I built a router planer jig to flatten it, but it still needed a LOT of sanding. Sanding endgrain with conventional methods is NOT a pleasure! Because I want to make a few more endgrain cutting boards, I am wondering whether the home made drum sanders are effective to flatten endgrain cutting boards? What grit sandpaper do you use and how often does it need to be changed?

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

21 replies so far

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3186 days

#1 posted 01-07-2013 10:36 PM

I think they are very effective.

I have a homemade v-drum sander. It is like an abrasive jointer. It is all I used to flatten cutting boards until about a year ago. I don’t think I have changed the paper on it yet except to switch grit once in a while. Velcro sandpaper seems to last much longer than normal sand paper and it is less likely to burn the wood.You can check my projects to see how many boards I have used it on.

Now that I have a big 5HP drum sander I use the V-drum sander less. I still flatten the bottom of my boards with it then use the big drum sander to thickness it.

I use 40 grit on the v-drum and 60 and 80 on the drum sander(it is a dual drum sander). Before I had the dual drum sander I used 80 grit on v-drum.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View thewoodworker01's profile


93 posts in 2344 days

#2 posted 01-08-2013 02:01 AM

There pretty slow at sanding, if there is any warping in the cutting board, it’ll take a while. If there is no warping, I don’t think it would take very long. I would go with a 60 grit, I have heard that 36 grit won’t do very much cutting. I would start with 60, then move up to a 120.

I did make my own drum sander. I have all the information you would need on 2 posts that I have. I definiately recommend checking them out. I don’t know how far you are planning taking the drum sander. I took my pretty far with a conveyor system and a four collum lift. I would definiatley put a big motor on it. I have a 1 HP on it. Next time I would put minium of a 3 HP. hope this helps.

-- Most people say "Measure Twice, Cut Once." I say, "Cut Twice, Measure Once".

View RobertT's profile


70 posts in 2979 days

#3 posted 01-08-2013 02:50 AM

I made nine end grain boards for christmas and made a v drum sander. It worked ok but i would say it was a waste of time because there was still straight line marks that required a lot of work with the random orbital sander. So I would say unless you plan on doing a lot of boards stick with your current set up.

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2616 days

#4 posted 01-08-2013 03:33 AM

The end-grain breadboards I have made were less than 12” wide. And I’ve only made 5 of them.

My process, after glueing, was to tilt my 6” belt sander to horizontal and float the boards resting against the stop. Than I increased pressure while slowly moving the board left and right and adjusting my downward pressure (to, fro, left, right). Yes, some ended up being a thinner than I hoped, but this was resolved by making the later ones a sixteenth inch too thick before moving to the belt sander. After belt sanding the sides flat and visually parallel I used an RO sander and completed sanding with my quarter-sheet finishing sander.

If making power tools is something that intrigues you, GO FOR IT! There are lots of uses for a drum sander. But if your goal is to make a few smaller end-grain cutting boards, there are alternatives if you are patient and willing to hone your “hand” skills.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View lew's profile


12426 posts in 3954 days

#5 posted 01-08-2013 04:29 AM

I put 60 grit on mine and have had the same piece on there since I built it. Sill sanding like a champ. Sanded lots of rolling pin inserts and a bunch of end grain boards.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View waho6o9's profile


8516 posts in 2775 days

#6 posted 01-08-2013 04:36 AM

View George_SA's profile


370 posts in 2412 days

#7 posted 01-08-2013 06:34 AM

Thanks for all the feedback and links.

I enjoy building home made power tools and usually do so when a particular project could benefit from it. I will not build the drum sander just for the couple off end grain cutting boards. They would just be the incentive to start the building process. There are other uses besides cutting boards that could be useful if I had a drum sander, but I was just curious how effective it really was. I have built a few jigs which looked nice on paper, but in real life did not work so good.

For the cutting boards I will continue using router planing jig to remove any warping there might be, but it does not leave a smooth finish, which leaves a need for final sanding. I might add that sanding is not my favorite part of ww :-)

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

View shipwright's profile


8165 posts in 2996 days

#8 posted 01-08-2013 03:58 PM

If you have a lathe of any kind this drum sander will be very cheap and easy to build and is very effective.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View George_SA's profile


370 posts in 2412 days

#9 posted 01-08-2013 05:25 PM

Hi Paul
Thanks for the link :-) I actually have a lathe that I haven,t used in ages. (I need to get a proper set of lathe chisels, but the amount of lathe work I do has not justified the expense).

This is another of those head slapping ideas of “WHY didn,t I think of that!” You have brought me 20 steps closer to making a nice large capacity drum sander :-) Thanks again! This is definitely the solution for my shop :-) (BIG SMILE)

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

View revwarguy's profile


132 posts in 2100 days

#10 posted 03-31-2013 12:52 PM

Here’s a page with more information on the V sander I built and use alll the time.

V sander build log

-- "72.6 per cent of all statistics are made up on the spot." - Steven Wright

View moke's profile


1265 posts in 2975 days

#11 posted 04-01-2013 06:21 PM

Paul, George,
That is lathe conversion is cool. Like having half the machine built for you. I just have a question, I have a supermax drum sander. When you are off from left to right just in the slightest, it can make a difference. It is leveled with a ruler, used as a feeler gauge. I question the accuracy of that set up. Now, make no mistake I could be very wrong, but that could cause more issues than you know, and make it miserable to use.

It would seem to me that the V sander might be a better route to go. It would think that you could still build it on your lathe body, just put the opening on the top.
Just a thought…

-- Mike

View shipwright's profile


8165 posts in 2996 days

#12 posted 04-01-2013 07:52 PM

Moke,You make a good point.
My sander is fully adjustable and lockable at both sides independently so that I can lock in extreme precision. When I’m worried about that ( all the time with thin veneers), I run a wide test piece through and caliper both sides then adjust to perfect. Then it’s just a matter of taking both sides up the same number of turns when I need to move thinner. I’ve almost never had to adjust and when I have it’s been very little. Just because I haven’t had problems doesn’t mean your concern isn’t valid. It is.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View moke's profile


1265 posts in 2975 days

#13 posted 04-02-2013 05:06 PM

Thank you for your response….from your photo it was hard to tell just how the table goes up and down. I should have known that anyone that had that much ingenuity would have a good adjustment system!!
I applaud your efforts and genius of this design…..Got anything else we should see?

-- Mike

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1059 posts in 2511 days

#14 posted 04-02-2013 05:56 PM

Give it a go! You will use it for more than just end grain boards. It’s a very good project to work on. Mine took a while over the winter months but I’m pleased with it.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View George_SA's profile


370 posts in 2412 days

#15 posted 04-03-2013 04:40 PM

Mike, Paul

I still need to make a drum sander, thus I am following with interest all the different alternatives. Will keep you posted when I start. In the mean time I I can learn from these discussions and hopefully sidestep a few pitfalls.

Regards George

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

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