drum sander usage - your preferences

Hello All, I just acquired a drum sander and was looking over the available grits and applications in the owners manual. My goal was to use it mostly for finish sanding with occassional rough sanding or glue line removal. I have thickness planer too and a sampling of hand held sanders from over the years. So I guess my question is ; What do you use you drum sander for and what grit wraps are you using the most? (My current project is a cherry bed and a dining room table, chairs to follow). Thanks in advance for your opinions and suggestions. Marc
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I bought one to do raised panel cabinet doors, and shop cut veneering projects. Fought with it for 6 weeks, and sold it for 90% of my cash out of pocket, and smiled. Haven't been tempted again.
YMMV.
Patriarch
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Hey Patriarch, Thanks for your response. Can you elaborate on its difficulties and would you be willing to say which make and model? I bought a Performax 22 inch machine after reading a lot of the comments from this group in its archives. (Pros and cons of this machine vs the Delta, vs others, etc) Thanks, Marc
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Patriarch wrote:
> I bought one to do raised panel cabinet doors, and shop cut veneering > projects. Fought with it for 6 weeks, and sold it for 90% of my cash out > of pocket, and smiled. Haven't been tempted again.
SFWIW, I use a commercial service.
Machine has 48" wide capacity, is equipped with three (3) sanding drums (coarse, medium, fine), each driven by it's own 25HP motor.
DC complete with bag house is a separate device.
Can handle about 1/32" per pass.
Getting an average top sanded flat is less than $30.
I can't figure out how you can compete with machinery like that.
Lew
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I came to pretty much the same conclusion that Lew did, although I work in smaller quantities and sizes, most likely. It's a hobby, not an obsession or a business.
My sander was the Performax 16/32. With extension tables and roller wheels. Keeping it parallel was a challenge, and the work was SLOOOOOWWWW. I lacked the patience to keep feeding and turning and feeding again, so I sold it. No big deal.
My neighbor has a Delta version, similar size. I'd had him do a couple of smallish table tops, and his had similar challenges to mine. It wasn't helping, really.
Some work I can't do in my shop, so I either don't do it, or I take it to someone who can. Life goes on. YMMV.
Patriarch
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On Sat, 05 May 2007 03:29:47 GMT, Lew Hodgett

I agree, if you've got access to it. That said, for years I had paid a local shop for hourly wide sanding. It's no more, and I've never been able to replace it.
Last December, I bought a Performax 22-44, along with a huge box of rolls of sandpaper. The paper was found on eBay for less than $5 / roll.
I use the 22/44 ALL THE TIME, including today. At this point, I realize I should have bought this thing years ago. I use it as much as my table saw. I've had days where I calibrated it to match my planer stop and had boards coming out of the planer, turned around, and back though the sander. <G>
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My experience on my shop-built drum sander is that it leaves a worse finish than the same grit done just about any other way, and if you use anything really coarse on it you'll have a heck of a time getting the scratches out. I've also found that fine grits don't seem to last too long on the drum. So I tend to use between 100-150. 100 seems to be the best for me as far as stock removal, paper life, and a surface that I can work with. I will sometimes take a couple passes at 150 after, but usually I go straight to the ROS after that. I will often even back up one grit just to make sure I get all the scratches the drum sander made. You may get different results on a "real" drum sander.
-Leuf
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wrote:

Sadly no; my 16-32 does the same. I use it mainly on glued up panels; things I would put though a 20" planer if I had one. I used to use 80 grit and it was okay but slow, so I switched to 60 grit. Getting the 60 grit lines out is so much work that it is easier to use the 80 grit even though it takes longer. I suppose it would work to do 60 and then 80 grits, but changing the paper over takes too long for a couple panels. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
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hi I got the 16-32 and use the 60 ,80,100,and 150 grits changing the paper is quick and easy.I use it to do glue lines and with working with woods that have a lot of figure.
Len

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marc rosen wrote:

1. #50 for surfacing rough lumber and/or dimensioning. I like it better than coarser paper (cloth, actually)...not as stiff and just about as fast.
2. #80 to smooth up from the #50 and/or dimensioning depending on how much I want to take off.
3. #120 after the #80.
I *have* used up to #180 but rarely...just about as easy/fast to use a 1/2 sheet sander for finer grits starting with the same grit as the last used on the drum.
I don't know why these guys are griping about sanding marks...abrasive paper makes marks no matter what tool is used. The machine is NOT hard to set up or to keep in alignment.
With the #50 paper I'll cut off up to 1/16 per pass depending on wood hardness and width. With #80, generally 1/32. With #120, never more than 1/48.
It is important to realize that with any grit the wood will not be thinned by the amount set in just one pass. Additional passes at the same depth setting will take off more wood. That is important to know - particulary with finer grits - because trying to take off too much is likely to burn and glaze the abrasive which will in turn burn the wood. There is nothing wrong with increasing depth of cut after each pass; it all depends on the amount and the wood but 2-3 passes as last ones will give a better surface.
Yes, commercial belt/drum sanders are lots faster. One also has to haul your wood to and fro. I'd rather do it myself and my 10 year old 16/32 has been one of the most used - and useful - tools I've ever owned.
--

dadiOH
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