As far as sanding is concerned, nothing works as well as a drum sander does. But the problem is that, when it comes to using a drum sander to resurface a hardwood floor, many things may go wrong if things are done improperly. After all, although a drum sander is a pretty simple tool, it is still a very powerful machine, capable of doing as much harm as good.
In case you are a hobbyist or a beginner in the world of sanding, this guide will help you bring out the best of your drum sander, and not the worst. The following steps should help you do your job without having to face any problems:
Your first job is to fit the paper belt around the drum. You can fit the belt in both ways; there is no right or wrong direction. But, just remember that it must fit tightly around the drum. That is, you should not be able to revolve it freely around the drum even if you try to. Other than that, make sure that it is centered. Once the belt is attached, close the door that covers the belt and moves to the next step.
The second thing you need to do is fit the dust bag to cover the pipe. Just use the bag string to tie the bag tightly around the pipe, and you are good to go. Note, here, that is it best to not wait till the dust bag is full. Instead, empty the bag every time it gets half full. If you wait till it gets totally full, the bag will lose its suction power and dust will be everywhere.
Now, it is time to get to work. You can start the machine at this point. But, before starting the machine, make sure that the drum is not touching the floor. That is, the drum handle is not yet lowered. Otherwise, the floor may end up witnessing damage.
Once the sander is roaring, you can lower the handle to let the drum touch the floor. However, be extremely careful while performing this step. You do not want to keep the machine still and then lower the drum. Instead, you want to slowly lower the drum and push the machine forward at the same time. The purpose of this maneuver is to make sure that at no point the drum touches the floor when it is standing still. The drum must touch the floor only when it is rolling forward.
The purpose of this maneuver is to make sure that at no point the drum touches the floor when it is standing still. The drum must touch the floor only when it is rolling forward.
This step involves making sure that you move the sander the right way. You cannot just roll the sander over the floor randomly and expect to have great results! While sanding any floor portion, first sand the portion using a diagonal cut. Then, to ensure a final finish that looks good, sand the same portion with a straight cut.
The last step is to provide a finishing touch using an edger. First, set up the edger with its abrasive, and then place it closer to the wall. Make sure that you use the same grit level as you used in the sander.
The purpose of an edger, in case you do not know, is to sand floor portions that are very close to the wall, as such areas cannot be sanded using a drum sander. Before you turn on the edger, make sure to wrap a bag around its pipe to prevent dust from escaping. If you prefer, you can connect it to a vacuum hose, as well. After starting the edger, move it in almost parallel motions to the wall, and slowly bring it closer to the wall with each pass.
1. While fitting the initial belt, make sure that it is something a bit coarse. A 36-grit should work well in most cases although sometimes it is better to start with a 60-grit. The problem with using a finer grit the first time is that it cannot do much on a hardwood floor. Even though you may be inclined to start with a finer grit initially, that just does not work when it comes to sanding floors. You can change the belt later to make use of finer grits progressively, though.
2. Whenever you bring the movement of the machine to a stop, make sure that you lift the drum first using the handle. You do not want to let the machine come to a standstill while it is still raging with all its power.
(NOTE: Not all drum sanders work the same way. Different sanders have different mechanisms. So, while the above steps should apply to most sanders available in the market currently, they may not work well with others unless combined with a few extra steps.)
We have grabbed a very interesting video that shows how to sand a 90 year Maplewood floor. Check this out yourself below. (Courtesy: amherstfinishing)