I ran some oak table sections through my new Performax drum sander,
and after a few passes I began to get some burned grooves in my work.
Dang! I then searched the archives, and learned I was not the first
to discover this . . . Question: how does one prevent the buildup of
glue/dust that causes the damage? Surely the commercial builders use
drum/belt sanders on their glued tabletops. I was using #150 paper;
would a slightly courser grit prevent the glue build-up? Will waiting
a week (for the glue to fully cure) help? I used Titebond, and waited
24 hours. I also scraped all excess glue off before sanding.
I did find (after the fact) that using the rubber sandpaper cleaning
stick between each pass solved the problem, but I wonder what the
commercial builders do?
With a drum sander, heat buildup causes the burning. The drum diameter is
only about 5" which doesn't give the sandpaper time to cool before it is in
contact with the wood again. With a belt sander, the belt has time to cool
and clear the sanding dust before the same spot on the belt contacts the
wood again. If you take very light passes, the finer the grit, the lighter
the pass, and clean the drum off before it gets clogged, you are less likely
to get burning.
On my Delta sander, with 150 grit, I take probably 1/128" off at each pass
and every few minutes, I clean off the belt with one of those rubber
Interesting . . . I guess I'll try that next time. I suppose the
faster speed prevents the glue from softening from the heat. I'll do
that, plus keep the rubber cleaner thingie handy (reply to a previous
question, I bought mine at Woodcraft for about $11).
But I still wonder what the commercial furniture makers do with their
glued pieces; maybe feed speed is the main trick?
Actually Scott, the faster speed generates more heat and softens the glue,
which leads to burning. Before I run a glue-up through the sander, I scrape
off all surface glue I can get at. If you can, skew the piece slightly so
the glue line doesn't line up on one spot of the drum. Also, start with
80-100 grit for the first couple of passes. The rougher grit generates less
heat while you are sanding any surface glue off that you couldn't scrape
off. Use the rubber thingy often. If you let sanding dust build up on the
drum, it holds heat and burns itself to the drum and gives those burn marks
on the wood.
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