Sanding Equipment for Woodworkers

Random Orbit Sander






A sander can be a hand-held tool or a large machine that is used to smooth and form wood. Picking the sanding system that is best for you is based on the projects you plan on completing.








Choosing the Right Sander

You have carefully selected the material, measured twice, cut once with your sharpest blade, carefully glued the parts together with biscuits for perfect alignment. Unless the surface is smooth all this is for naught, the finishing must be perfect also, this is when your choice of sander comes into play.


Power Sander

While palm sanders are less expensive and can use plain sandpaper, the random orbital version doesn't sand in patterns, but in a random motion. This will reduce any sanding marks that may appear on the stock. Be certain that your local woodworking supplier has sanding disks readily available in a number of grits to fit the model that you choose.


Choosing The Best Drum Sander For Your Needs

Drum sanders are extremely powerful machines that can be adapted to a number of uses from a bench sander to a floor sander. There are many manufacturers selling different models of drum sanders for bot commercial/professional use as well as for the avid do-it-yourself hobbyist. There are many features across as many models as well. You'll to make several considerations when picking the best drum sander for your needs. Before you buy one, consider the following.


The Drum Sander Explained

A drum sander is a powerful machine that can be used to sand wood and plastics. It can be a hand held machine or a large piece of equipment that is used in a variety or woodworking projects or for forming plastics. Drum sander attachments can be placed on a power drill that is then used to sand an object.



Shop Made Drum/Thickness Sander

While researching information on building ukuleles I came across a discussion on shop made drum sanders. I contacted one of the participants regarding the sander and a ukulele builder from Hawaii contacted me and offered to send me a copy of the plans. I am in the beginning stages of easing into ukulele building so I thought I would take a crack at constructing the unit. I have seen plans for larger drum sanders that seemed very complicated. This plan is really basic and didn't seem like it would be a huge undertaking. The following information recaps the construction process including some of the problems I encountered.


Building Your Own Thickness Sander

The drum sections are cut from 3/4" MDF using a router and template. Most of the frame is also MDF with oak for critical pieces. MDF prices here are reasonable, about $17 a sheet, but some places it's as high as $60. Standard 3/4" plywood will do for the frame, but the material for the drum needs to be solid. Because standard plywood has voids I would not use it for the drum. The sand paper is held to the drum by a wood dowel cut flat on one side. It fits in a hole drilled in each section of the drum. There's an arm on the ends of the dowel with springs to tension it. Most of the drum sections are hollow to reduce weight. Some are solid with a hole for the 1" diameter shaft. The holes need to be accurately placed so that the drum will run true. The drum is trued after the entire sander is complete by gluing sand paper to the carriage and sanding it. The sand paper stays on the carriage to keep the material from sliding around.


Home-made Thickness Sander

Before going much further, it is important to note that what results here is a real power tool, driven by a 1/3-1 HP motor that is capable of producing a variety of injuries very quickly if safe work habits are not observed. Since most folks tend to feed wood toward the drum which is rotating toward the user, a slip of the hands can result in the wood being ejected toward the user at injurious speeds! Don't use this when tired, under medication which causes drowsiness, etc. The author writes this article as a community service, but assumes no legal responsibility for the final functionality of this machine.

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