I have recently Purchased a used Performax 10/20 drum sander and have
been having some fun with it. the first thing I did was to take a 1
1/4" x 8" x14" piece of some old redwood I had laying around and turn it
into a 1/16"x8"x14" piece of very thin veneer. In doing so, I learned a
couple of things. A good dust collector is a MUST. The old 3HP 16gal
ShopVac gets a lot of the dust, but it ain't really up to the task. (Not
to mention the fact that my ears are not up to the ShopVac either.)
Second thing I learned was that you also need patience. But that got me
I had thought that sanding would be a little faster that it is. For
example: I have 80-grit loaded on the machine (I don't have anything
coarser yet). When sanding a piece of wood that is only 6" wide, I can
only take 1/4 turn on the height adjusting wheel. One full turn is
labeled as 1/64" which is about .015", and that doesn't seem too
agressive to me. But the drum will almost immediately stop and then
the overload breaker pops. So I sez ok, 1/2 turn which should be only
about .008" or so. Eight one thousandths of an inch. A red xxx hair.
Run the board thru and the drum again stops after about 4 inches of
feed. COME ON NOW!
Turns out that I can get about 1/3 turn of the depth wheel and it will
run all the way through with no problem. That is only about .005" per
pass. Oh btw, the feed rate is set fairly low at about 30 on a scale to
100 so it is feeding fairly slow. If I set it any lower I would be gray
haired by the time I got one pass done. (I guess that means that I have
made a few passes already. crap!)
So the questions. Is that what I should expect with 80-grit? What
could I expect with 60-grit or 36-grit? Does a "real" dust collector do
a good job of sucking up all that dust? Any other tips for me?
I do not have one, but have used them and work with a couple of guys
that swear by them. I have seen them use these machines almost like
board planers they are so aggressive.
Assuming this is a new machine, as a thought, I think the first thing
I would look at is the power source to the machine. If you have it on
a circuit with other tools (shop vac, maybe?), or your lights, etc.,
it can make an amazing difference in the reduction of power to the
machine. Plug it straight into the wall, or use an appropriately
sized cord for the machine/motor draw.
I have a low amp draw compressor that I used on trim work and light
framing, and it never kicked itself off or threw a breaker when used
for those purposes.
Hooked it up for my roofers to use (same plug, same house) and the
draw spiked so much as the motor got hot that it constantly threw the
breaker or the reset switch. I unplugged the client's washer (usually
nothing else on that circuit) and plugged it directly into the the
outlet. Problem solved.
My DC1200 with 6" pipe and cartridge filter gets most of the dust from
As far as your other comments go, it isn't a planer. Plane or resaw the
wood to thickness, finish it with the sander.
I have a 22/44, with auto regulation. If I feed it too fast, the LED
comes on, and the feed rate adjusts to a doable speed. I occasionally
use 24 and 36 grit papers on difficult to plane woods, but only get
slightly heavier passes. Heavy passes are also more likely to burn the
I can swipe off 1/8" thick, 12" wide slices on my bandsaw, and finish
them with 2, maybe 3 passes though the sander. I refresh the stock face
with a planer pass before each bandsaw cut, creating a new reference
face to saw from, and a "back" face for the sander pass. If the stock
is 8" or less, I refresh the face on my jointer, because it's closer to
The drum sander is a finesse tool, no doubt, but I now use it on every
project. For stock that I don't plan on smoothing with my #4-1/2, I
leave the sander loaded with 120 grit, and do one pass on each side
I've done several houses full of trim by buying s4s from my supplier,
doing one pass through the 22/44 @ 120 grit, followed by a very fast 120
grit on the ROS, Robert's Sealer and a clear finish. The 22/44 drops
the hand sanding time by a good 75%.
Read the directions. As you've discovered, they cover the limits of the
machine fairly well.
As noted, it's a sander, not a thickness planer. With as few ponies as
you've got there even 36 grit won't make it so. If your material is of
inconsistent thickness, you'll have to take off the high points before you
get to the low. Can't do it all at once.
I've got a 600 CFM machine to pull dust, and it's 95% or better collection.
Never used anything coarser than 60 which came with, because I own a
I have the 22/44 and yes, you really do need to hook up a DC to keep things
clean. The only dust I get is that which stays inside the housing around
the drum using a 1100 CFM DC.
If tripping the breaker try to not use an extension cord. If you have to
use an extension cord be sure to use one of suitable gauge and as short as
possible. Try not to run the DC and the sander on the same circuit.
This is a sander, not a planer. I use 1/8 to 1/6 turn increments of the
adjustment wheel and don't really use the more aggressive grits.
On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 19:07:01 GMT, NoOne N Particular
I don't have experience with the 10/20 model you have, but my 16/32 is
labeled as 1/4 turn = 1/16". I wonder if the markings have been worn
off on yours. You should be able to look at the threaded rod that
adjusts the height to get a estimate of the thread ptich. 16TPI looks
about right for the size rod they use. a 64TPI pitch would be
That said, my experience is about like yours in the amount I can take
off. I never go more than 1/4 turn and if I am covering a majority of
the width many times I will only use 1/8 turn per pass.
I think Rick got it. The sander manual says the height adjustment is
1/16" per turn.
I have done a lot of material that is only about 1" wide Oak and usually
stay at about 1/2 turn - less for the final pass.
I use a portable 1 HP dust collector and it appears adequate for this model.
I've got the 16/32 with one turn = 1/16". I generally use 1/4 turn on
most woods using 80 grit. On soft woods you can take off a little more,
on hardwoods I use 1/4 turn as a target but if I see any burning or it's
very loud I back off to 1/8 turn.
You have to be patient when running stuff through but I use it on most of
my flat work.
D. G. Adams
On Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:52:57 -0500, John Siegel wrote:
Like many of the other replies, I have a different model. Mine is the
Another poster advised the other models, like mine have 1/16in for a full
turn. I use 1/8th of a turn.
I tried 36 grit paper and went back to 80 grit.
The 36 grit did not allow a deeper pass, but it did leave deeper grooves in
the wood, which will require further sanding or planing. In this test I
tried sanding with random orbit sander. Took a long time. Hence I removed
the 36 grit.
One example of using the drum sander for reducing thickness, is when I need
to get < 1.8in strips. So far this has been for a friend who wants the
strips for a basket project.
Another example to use the drum sander for reducing thickness is for glue
ups which are > than the 13in width of my planer. For such widths I really
need slow and light passes.
Thanks to all who replied. After reading some of the replies I went
back out and looked at the machine again and had one of those "duh!"
moments. It is indeed 1/4 turn = 1/64". Everything makes MUCH more
sense now and is pretty much inline with what I was expecting. I know
that this machine is not a replacement for my Dewalt 733 thickness
planer (which may be the only machine I have that is louder than my
ShopVac, but even that is debatable and is another story), but I was
expecting to be able to remove more than .005" of material in one pass.
Looks like I was.
With 80/120 grit my norm is 1/3 turn. One turn = 1/16 so1/3 turn 1/48. Any finer and I use 1/4 to 1/6 turn.
I use #40 for surfacing rough lumber. Depending on wood species and
width, I use up to 1 turn, usually 1/2 turn.
Dunno, don't have one, but I suspect it would do better than my POS
Be aware of the fact that the amount you have set it to take off will
NOT be taken off in one pass...takes about three passes. That is
unimportant until you get down to your final thickness - if you want
the best possible surface, pass the board through the sander at least
three times without changing height adjustment.
I did notice that. One of the passes I made looked like the board might
have "hung" for a second and there was that shallow little drum mark
across the surface of the board. Ran the board through again with no
change to the height and it took it right out. So I have already
started running the board through twice ( or maybe even three) at the
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