Drum Sander Grit

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Forum topic by WhiskeyCreek posted 05-05-2015 03:54 AM 1293 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View WhiskeyCreek's profile


17 posts in 1150 days

05-05-2015 03:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question drum sander sand paper grit

I have currently bought an older Ryobi Drum Sander. I never have seen one like this, but it is a great tool. It looks and operates exactly like the JET open ended drum sander. I have two questions, the first has to do with the level of grits that should be used on the drum sander. I received rolls of 60 and 80 grit paper for the sander and have an 80 grit on it now. I believe I am installing it correctly but when I send it through I am receiving lines on the wood seemingly from where the sand paper separates on the roll. The pieces that are going through are 4 square and have gone through a planer. Why am I getting these lines? They almost look like the same thing that happens when you have a chip in your planer or jointer knives. There is no burning just lines from where the paper has not sanded the wood down. My second question is why such heavy grit sand paper on drum sanders? I understand they need to plane down material to a specified thickness, but 60 grit seems pretty extreme. Any advice on drum sanding would be great. Thanks Guys.

-- Whiskey Creek Woodmill & Co.

6 replies so far

View pjones46's profile


1001 posts in 2640 days

#1 posted 05-05-2015 05:47 AM

Have you looked at the paper to see if the resin from the wood has embedded itself on the paper? I see this with my delta drum sander where if I run high resin wood like pine through it clogs the paper, does not burn, but leaves a groove in the surface of the wood. I have corrected most of that problem by increasing the feed speed and taking lighter passes. It varies also with the grit of the paper but found that 80 is about the best where finer, like 100, clogs worse with the high resin wood.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View Bill7255's profile


427 posts in 2282 days

#2 posted 05-05-2015 04:03 PM

I don’t have any experience with that drum sander, however I run 120 grit 90% of the time. 80 grit is for taking a lot of wood off. Without a picture it is hard to tell if it is not normal. Regardless you will need to ROS no matter what grit you are using, even a very fine grit.

-- Bill R

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2687 days

#3 posted 05-06-2015 12:45 AM

All drum sanders leave fine lines that need to be removed with ROS or ?? I don’t go any finer than 120 grit as I tend to get burning with higher grits. If I need to thickness woods that don’t play well with the planer, I will use 50 grit for the initial thicknessing. Then go to 80 and 120.

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

View sras's profile


4796 posts in 3126 days

#4 posted 05-06-2015 03:10 AM

I talked with a sales rep about thickness sanders once. The main thing he wanted to tell me was that each pass through a thickness sander should remove no more material than the thickness of the grit. Coarse grit will allow faster material removal.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View rwe2156's profile


2925 posts in 1477 days

#5 posted 05-06-2015 12:13 PM

Like you said, 60 or 80 grit are for dimensioning. You’re basically talking a planer with those.
And that’s ok, a drum sand is an excellent thicknesser, maybe even better than a planer.
But, as you’ve already determined, that’s not the usual use for a drum sander..

I have a dual drum and run 100 and 150.
I’m not looking for thickenessing, I’m looking for shortcut to final surfacing with handplanes.

As far as the lines, that’s a bit of a mystery to me.
How does the paper go on the roll? If its in a spiral fashion, I don’t see how you could get lines unless there is a foreign object imbedded in the paper somewhere.

As for using a DS, my only advice is “go lightly” and remember what kind of wood you’re running. You’ve got to go even lighter for hardwoods.

Another thing is often times on the final passes I send it through twice at the same setting.

Finally, remember these things produce alot of fine dust and spew it everywhere, so a respirator is a good idea, even if you’ve got dust collection in place. I find there is still some dust on the boards when they come out.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View AZWoody's profile


1330 posts in 1221 days

#6 posted 05-06-2015 01:52 PM

I have 2 drum sanders. One for flattening rough lumber and one for 150 grit to do more finish work.

Drum sanders will leave lines that have to be sanded or planed out. The only way to get a smoother finish with a drum sander is to get one that has an oscillating head.

To minimize some of the lines is to move the piece and do a couple runs when you’re at your final setting. Don’t run it in the same place but offset it a little bit. 2 or 3 runs like that will leave lines, but they will be much more shallow and easy to sand out.

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