Here is the guide that will hopefully have you set your right foot forward in the pursuit of getting good wood.
What is a drum sander and what is it used for?
Rather than having to use abrasive sheets and manually sand surfaces such as wood flooring, decks and other surfaces to get that desirable smooth finish that we all want, drum sanders is the solution to achieve that same goal, but in a much easier way.
This is a powerful tool where you can replace the abrasive sheets as they wear out, and while it may be a big tool, and perhaps a rather expensive one, it’s one we know people really appreciate if they are very serious about creating smooth surfaces.
As it does remove impurities from the top of the surface that you are using it on, it is still imperative that you protect your various organs adequately, which includes using a mask to cover your mouth, ear protection to protect against the noise and glasses for your eyes. Only at that time are you ready to use the surface, thickness or drum sander.
This page also lists all the drum sanders we have for sale on the platform as well as provide you with various commonly asked questions on various related topics to help you better understand the implications of this machine.
If you are not used to using this machine, you may want to start out in part of the room where it won’t do as much damage if the end result isn’t as perfect as you would hope for it to be – it is a big tool, and it needs to be treated as such, with a lot of these machines weighing in excess of 400 lbs.
This type of machine can help you with the most stubborn panel glue ups or if there are marks from furniture that was moved, or other things. The important thing is also that it can help you make sure that the board thickness stays the same across the board afterwards to provide you that appealing look.
If you have specific wishes for the things that you are either surface sanding or thickness sanding, make sure you check the specifications of every single machine. With speeds usually being around 2300, these machines can achieve a lot more consistent results than you would be able to achieve manually.
How much do they cost?
Drum sanders vary significantly in cost, but you will usually find that they range for roughly $600 whereas some of the machines can cost as much as $5,000 for more advanced ones with more capabilities. Before you buy a machine it is therefore important that you figure out which features are important to you, no different from if you were buying a plasma cutter.
What is the best drum sander – what to look for?
While it isn’t hard to buy a drum sander, it definitely helps if you know what it is you should be looking for in the process, as there are different options you can consider.
Some people may find it seemingly hard to find the right, but if you know what to look for it is easy. The drum sander is often considered the smaller brother to the wide belt sander, a more serious machine we also have available on the site, but none-the-less, it’s still a sizable investment for most people.
The quality of the material that you are sanding is important in your consideration for the machine you will end up choosing, but so is how big the material is, since you will obviously need it to be able to fit into the machine.
If you’re running a production shop, you will also need something that can obviously handle the quantity you will be using it for. For actual production shops, we do encourage you to at the very least consider a wide belt sander.
Here is a brief overview of your different options
If the ability to maneuver the boards is an important feature for you, this may be your desired machine as one of the sides is left open. It also gives you the advantage that you’re not quite as constrained by the width of the machine since you’ll be able to run half the plank through the machine, turn it around and pursue with the next one. Sanding both sides on this machine will usually mean having to run through it twice, though, so that has to be something you prepare yourself for.
As these machines do not have the flexibility in the sides as do the open-ended machine, it does require that the piece of wood you’re running through is no wider than the entirety of the machine, why these tend to be wider, too. The advantage to this is of course that you can get things done at a different speed than you can with an open-ended option, not having to run the boards through several times to get the desired results.
When you’re looking for a more serious machine with more flexibility, the double-drum sander could be your choice of machine to consider. With the inclusion of two rolls of abrasive material, no longer are you confined to the same grit on each side, and you will also have to change it less often, too. For this specific feature, the SuperMax 25×2 is a great tool to look into, while Jet and PerforMax are worthy considerations also.
So, those are the various different options for you to be looking into, but besides that there are different features that we have touched on also.
The more serious the work you do is, and the better the finish of what you desire, the bigger your machine needs tend to be. These machines will vary from as little as 10″ to more than 37″, and the price tends to increase the bigger the width. If you’re a DIY, you can likely get all the work done with a 16″, while that may not be enough for others.
The ability to collect dust
As with any type of equipment that is sanding wooden objects, dust is an obvious consequence, and these drum sanders are no different. You should be combining the sander with an adequate dust collector to make sure that you don’t end up having roots grow out of your lungs, and getting the right amount of airflow is the key to success.
Feed rates and the ability to change the settings
The last thing you want to do is to massively oversand your piece of wood and justt end up having it entirely ruined, why it’s our recommendation that you get a machine where you can easily adjust the feed rate in a variable fashion, thereby giving you more control.
Which type of sand paper do you prefer?
Some people have a very strong preference for one of the two ways that sandpaper can be attached to the machine, being either peel and stick or hook and loop. With its adhesive on the back, peel and stick will get ruined if you remove it from the drum, whereas on the other hand if you’re not operating a wood shop, there may be advantages for you to be able to take it off before it is used up.
With the information above, you’re hopefully a bit better equipped for your future drum sander purchases, and know what you should be looking for in your pursuit.
While Jet isn’t the only player in the space, they may very well be regarded as one of the most reliable manufacturers when it comes to this type of machinery, why it is our honor to feature some of the various machines that they have, hopefully helping you get a better understanding of which one may be right for you.
This is one of those machines that you definitely know you will be happy with, assuming it has the specs that you are looking for – the Jet 1632 is a industry-leading piece of machinery that offers a superior finish. Not only is it a beautiful piece of machine, but it is also a healthier piece of machinery with its ability to collect 97% of all dust, as per their website, meaning there is less of that bad stuff going where it isn’t supposed to go. As they claim on their website, that is more than 25% than their competitors are able to offer, why if you are looking to use this machine extensively, it’s a feature you just may want to consider. Given that Jet has a patent pending for this technology, there is not likely to be a machine on the market that can provide such impressive and comparable numbers any time soon. It also offers a great conveyor design that makes it incredibly easy to have that controllable speed that is important for high-quality finishes. While offering a lot of functionality, it has still been done in a way where it manages to stay incredibly simple for the operator with its variable-speed options. Why choose something that doesn’t offer you the sort of options that you know you’ll be needing?
With its 4″ collection port that is shaped so that it mirrors the shape of the drum, the chips that stem from the sanding that you’ll be doing will naturally be ending up where it is supposed to, and not exposing its user to the same health. If you are looking for the same kind of dust-collecting capabilities, you may also just be interested in the 1836 model that they manufacture.
This newly designed piece of machinery comes with an impressive 1.75 horsepower motor, giving it just the amount of power that may be needed for the task you are undertaking.
Want to avoid overloading your machine? Well, this piece of machinery has the Sandsmart technology built into it that will help you on that mission by automatically regulating the conveyor motor and the speed that is going at. Like the Jet 16-32, this machine also has a dust hood that is built in the shape of the drum allowing it to catch most of the dust and chips that are generated from working with this beautiful machine.
Worried that changing abrasives is a big task? Not with this toolless machine that makes use of take-up clips. It was also intelligently built where the drum motor and the separate feed motor remain independent, giving you the option to better control the performance that is just right for the job.
This machine boasts a beautiful drum length of 22″ and a drum speed up to 1,720 that can help you sand down boards with a maximum with of 44″, while having a board thickness up to 4″, according to their own website.
If those previous machines may simply be a little bit bigger than what you are in fact looking for, the Jet 10-20, or JWDS-1020, as is the real name, packs a punch with its 1 horsepower motor. It’s not quite as big as the two previous models, but is still able to handle the sanding of boards that are as wide as 20″ with a thickness of up to 3″. It also has a smart dust collector along with a lot of convenient features you can use to adjust the settings.
If you are fine doing 2 passes, and you will generally be working on boards that are up 20″ wide, this could just be the drum sander you’ve been looking for, from a manufacturer that can be trusted, while offering drum speeds up to 1725 RPM.
While there are various manufacturers out there, there is no denying that Jet is definitely one of the more trusted names in the business. In fact, some of the other names in the industry include SHOP FOX, Baileigh and Grizzly that are all notable contenders also.
Now it is up to you to figure out what the various features are that you would be interested in for such a type of machinery, and then you can continue your journey on from there.
If you have a small shop or you are otherwise a woodworking enthusiast, you may not need some of the more advanced tools available on the market, why you might be interested in a relatively entry-level drum sander. For instance, you might want to check out the SuperMax 19-38 which serves the purpose great and will be able to produce the consistent results that you are looking for! When you buy this type of machine, it comes with a 80 grit sandpaper as the standard accessory, although it has a bunch of additional accessories that can be purchased for the machine as well.
The drum sanders produced by SuperMax are even some of the most popular models on the market, with the 19-38 being a good entry-level machine that costs around $1,500, which makes it a very strong contender among the machines offering capacity upwards of 1,740 RPM with a 1.75HP drive motor. Its 1HP TEFC induction motor is a key feature assisting in making sure that the performance it is offering is smooth, but also that you will be able to rely on the machine for years to come. Remember how we mentioned that the base is an important component of these machines? With the SuperMax 19-38, you get a piece of machinery that provides the stability that is crucial for the performance of this machine, with a sturdy steel base and packing a solid shipping weight of 286 lbs. With its steel impeller, made to ensure that dust collection is done as efficiently as possible, you’ll be sure that you are getting a machine that can satisfy the sanding needs that you may have.
SuperMax has the slightly smaller 16-32 drum sander as well, which is a very nice machine that is slightly smaller than the one we previously talked about, while still being able to provide a lot of the same functionality that you would look for. For instance, this proud machine has a drum spreed of 1740 RPM, which being able the sand planks as wide as 32”, with an impressive dust hood to make sure that most of the saw dust is caught, rather than entering your lungs instead. It also sports an impressive digital read out that is built straight into the machine, with an easy-to-use lever adjustment system to ensure the precision work you want when you are sanding. The relatively new turbo vented dust oort that was added has another impressive feature – increasing CFM air-flow to dust collectors by as much as 15%, ensuring you can do the work in a comfortable manner.
Delta is another strong contender when it comes to the production of drum sanders, with various machines that can provide the tools needed for any level of expertise, with some of the machines being more so intended for entry-level purposes, whereas some of the other machines being able to sand wider and longer planks, suitable for those with bigger needs. Are you looking for a 26” dual drum sander? If so, Delta has a 3HP single phase main motor that can help you with those heavy duty tasks that you need help with.
Performax is another company that produces drum sanders in various ranges, ranging from the smaller 10-20 model, which is a compact benchtop model, while still being able to retain a lot of the performance that may be needed. It also comes with an impressive 5 year warranty! With this impressive 1HP motor, sanding your 3” thick boards won’t be an issue, and as the name suggests, this machine is capable of handling planks with a width as wide a 20” as well. For someone who has a small workshop, this can also be a very competitive model, although bigger models may very easily be more so preferred when your needs start growing!
Performax offers a range of different options, including ones with a stand, benchtop drum sanders and a sander with a closed stand as well. The various options range from 10-20, 16-32, 18-36, 22-44 to 25-50, and all of the models have strong 5 year warranties that ensure that you will be happy with the purchase of your machine!
Drum sanders vs planers – what you need to know
If you are still researching the various options, you may not currently be fully convinced that one option is better than another, why we want to help you shed some light on the differences between these two machines. Which one is the right piece of equipment and which one won’t do what you want it to do?
What you need to know is that there is a difference in the amount of wood that is usually removed with every pass through the machine – for a drum sander, that number is 0.005″ to 0.007″. For a portable planer, that number is 0.125″ to .250″. What that means is that the main difference between a planer and a drum sander is the amount of surface that each machine will remove every time you run the plank through it. Drum sanders area there when you are doing the finessing of the wood and ensuring that the surface looks the way that it is supposed to, while a planer will remove a significant portion of the wood every time you run it through the sander. The amount of surface that you will want to remove from a piece of wood therefore determines what the right type of equipment would be for you. If you do the math, you will see that the planer removes about 25x as much wood per turn as the drum sander does.
If you end up getting a planer instead of a drum sander, you will quickly find yourself having very small planks of wood left, whereas if you buy the other one instead, you will not be able to achieve those fine surfaces that you want. While there’s a time and a place for either of the two tools in your wood shop, you should consider what it is you are trying to achieve before you find the piece of machinery to match the job.
Interested in more articles while you’re at it?
We have a bunch of different articles available on this site, including ones on the waste oil heaters you should consider taking a look at, and others that are closer to the original focus that our website started with, which was welding. For instance, a good article that we previously wrote that doesn’t get a lot of attention is the one on flux core welding, which we encourage you to check out.