Drum Sanders for Woodworking – The Definitive Guide

Wood working

Even though there are many different ways of sanding wood and other materials, the most efficient method is to trust a sander for the job. The simple fact is that having a reliable and capable drum sander can make the life of a woodworker, or a serious hobbyist, incredibly easier.

While drum sanders are sufficiently simple tools, there are many aspects associated with them. In this short but comprehensive guide, we take a look at, and briefly, expand on, some of the key aspects associated with drum sanders.

Defining drum sanders

Drum sanders are woodworking machines used for the purpose of sanding wood. A drum sander contains a drum, or a spinning cylinder, as its major component. Replaceable sandpaper covers the cylinder, and wood is propelled under the drum with the help of a conveyor belt.

Purpose of a drum sander

A drum sander can be used for many different purposes, including making segmented bowls and crafting cutting boards. It is possible to perform hardwood sanding using a sander, as well. Other than that, with the help of a good sander, sanding cherry becomes easy. Cherry is not something that can be dealt with well using a table saw. That is because when a table saw is stopped, the cherry can get burns. However, by doing things slowly using a good sander, it is possible to sand cherry without having to face any issues.

Types of drum sanders

There are a variety of different kinds of drum sanders available in the market these days. There are drum sanders that are oscillating, there are sanders that are closed, and there are those which are open. Also, some drum sanders have a single design, while others have double.

Operating a drum sander

Even though the drum sander is a very simple machine in itself, there are many wrong ways to operate it. The correct operation involves handling the machine with care. For instance, a drum sander should never be turned on and kept in the same place. That is the quickest way to damage a floor. Instead, its drum handle needs to be released very slowly, while simultaneously pushing it forward.

The drum handle of a sander has the job of lowering the drum to touch the floor or doing the opposite. Also, it is very important to use the correct grit of sandpaper whenever working with a drum sander. Using the wrong grit may lead to bad performance and further complications.

Drum sander and dust

If the opening of a drum sander is left unchecked, then it can certainly make the whole room dusty. However, like vacuum cleaners, drum sanders are fitted with dust bags when work is performed. In general, it is best to clear a dust bag as soon as it gets half empty. If too much dust gets collected inside a bag, then the bag may lose suction power and the result may be a dirty room.

The importance of edger

When it comes to sanding a wooden surface using a drum sander, it is not sufficient to rely on the machine and do nothing else. A drum sander can only sand the main floor. As far as dealing with corners and areas near the walls goes, using an edger becomes necessary. An edger is a smaller tool compared to a drum sander and is used mainly for resurfacing wooden portions close to the walls where a sander cannot reach.

Sanders vs planers

Although planers and sanders are somewhat similar tools, they have certain noteworthy differences. The job of a planer is to plane a surface, whereas the job of a sander is to sand a surface. What that means is that, on a practical level, a planer is capable of removing between 0.125 – 0.250 inches per pass. But, a sander can remove only between 0.005 – 0.007 inches per pass. Because of this reason, a sander works really well when it comes to taking care of wood sanding or fine surfing, but not so much when it comes to surfacing stock or leveling glued-up wood. For the latter jobs, a planer works much better than a sander.

Drum sanders and their association with luxury

A large number of people consider drum sanders as a sort of luxury item. However, that assumption is not really correct. When it comes to dealing with figured wood and wide panels, a drum sander can prove to be nearly invaluable. Most people who use drum sanders say that they can use their device in almost every project they work on.

Cost estimation of drum sanders

Drum sanders vary widely as far as cost is concerned. The JET 628900, for example, is a 115V benchtop sander and costs only about $750. However, the dual sander named SuperMax 750302, utilizing 208 – 230V, costs close to $12,000!

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