How thin can a Performax drum sander sand to?

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Forum topic by JesseTutt posted 02-23-2013 11:37 PM 3545 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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854 posts in 2349 days

02-23-2013 11:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: thickness sanding performax drum sander thicknessing wood

I need to sand quite a few pieces of walnut, cherry and oak to 1/16” thick they will be 6 to 8 inches wide and I can make the length as long as I want (cross cut them later). I am concerned that the sandpaper on the drum will contact the moving conveyor belt. Which brings me to my first question: How thin can the Performax 16-32 sand a piece to? What if I took a base piece of wood the same size (or slightly larger) and used adhesive backed sandpaper between the cherry and the conveyor belt?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

10 replies so far

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2875 days

#1 posted 02-23-2013 11:44 PM

Use a piece of plywood with a thin piece of wood in the back to keep the veneers from sliding off. You can go down next to nothing. 1/16” is no problem.

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4121 days

#2 posted 02-23-2013 11:57 PM

Agreed, using a piece of ply or mdf as a sled will let you sand as thin as you want. It’s great

Also it is a great way to do a taper on a wide piece of wood by blocking up the front of the work-piece on the sled. I just did this when making a bunch of pizza peels. I tapered the front of peel down to 1/16 and left the handles at 5/8 inch.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View cutmantom's profile


407 posts in 3274 days

#3 posted 02-24-2013 12:05 AM

use carpet tape on a backer board, make sure its good and flat, you could sand it first till its sanded evenly then attach your work piece and you should get perfect dimensioning

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2349 days

#4 posted 02-24-2013 03:56 AM

I have had problems separating thin materials that I had fastened together with carpet tape, so I was hoping to avoid using it.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3547 days

#5 posted 02-24-2013 04:32 AM

I have sanded down to 1/8 on my jet drum sander but haven’t had a need to try anything less. I would say give it a try on a scrap piece and see what it can do. Sure might beat trying to tape each piece to some other wood.

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3289 days

#6 posted 02-24-2013 04:54 AM

I recently sanded a piece of mahogany down to 1/32” sending it through on it’s own, no sled, tape, or backer board. I do have the aftermarket white conveyor belt, instead of the sandpaper belt. I feel like I could’ve gone thinner, but there was no need. The mahogany was about 3”x9”.

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

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

352 posts in 2800 days

#7 posted 02-24-2013 02:59 PM

I would recommend putting the veneer on a backer board. Some time ago I sanded some thin material on my 16-32 without a backer board and the very high suction from my DC apparently pulled the conveyor belt up so that it contacted the drum, dulling the grit on the conveyor belt. It still works, but it doesn’t grip the board like it used to. I will have to replace the conveyor belt sometime in the future.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2349 days

#8 posted 02-24-2013 03:05 PM

Jonathan, what do you think of your aftermarket conveyor belt? And where did you get it?

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3289 days

#9 posted 02-24-2013 03:20 PM

After doing quite a bit of research on both LJ and various other forums and review sites, I went ahead and switched over to the Accura white poly-type conveyor belt, as it was supposed to work better and last longer. I bought my drum sander used, and when I got it, the conveyor belt was fine, except for the fact that it had a tear at one edge. With use, the tear got worse, so I eventually had to replace it.

Let me just say that I did everything I’d read to do to get the new belt installed. It took me over an hour of struggling and fighting with the thing before I got it on. It was a serious PITA! Maybe I missed something, I don’t know?

Once I got the belt on and tracking properly, I started using it. At first, I wasn’t impressed at all. It didn’t seem to grip the wood any better than the old sandpaper belt. As a matter of fact, it seemed that the wood almost slipped more easily on this new belt! With a little bit of usage though, it seemed to improve. At this point, I’m now happy with it, but I can tell you after fighting with it, then having the wood initially slip around, I was unimpressed, especially with the price tag (almost $100, with shipping). I will say this though, it is definitely more robust and tougher than the OEM sandpaper-type belt, and I have no doubt that it’ll last for a long time.

Would I buy it again? Yes, but I’d dread installing it.

You can get it on Amazon, or go directly to Hamilton Tool & Supply. Slightly different prices ($2).

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

View CharlesNeil's profile


2469 posts in 4109 days

#10 posted 02-24-2013 04:06 PM

I have a 37” and I sand to 1/16 and less with no issue using the old sandpaper conveyer and no backer . They are a hard machine to beat., I have often said a drum sander of any single machine will improve your woodworking the most.

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