Drum Sander Reviews


drum sander reviewsWelcome to our Drum Sander Reviews

This is a general buying guide on Drum Sanders.  To read Drum Sander Reviews on particular models, click below. To see our buying guide and watch the video, scroll down.

Our goal is to help you find the best Drum Sander for you.

If you already know which drum sander you would like, I have found the best prices are consistently at Amazon and in almost all cases, include free shipping.

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Drum Sander Reviews

By Mark Adams Senior Editor, Wood Tools Magazine

For all but the most experienced woodworkers, an age old question is what’s the difference between a drum sander and a thickness planer?  Let’s see if I can expand a little on the subject.

Thickness planers remove as much as 1/16 of material per pass.  They are designed to level and flatten a piece of wood.  Yes, you can take off less per pass and in some instances with certain woods there’s very little sanding needed afterward.  A 16th of an inch doesn’t sound like a lot, but compared to sanding, it’s enormous.

You can take off less per pass with a planer and you should by the way, but it’s still a leveling tool.

The drum sander on the other hand will remove very fine particles, even at the most coarse grit.  If the board is not level to start, the drum sander will simply follow the shape of the wood as it sands.

I think of a surface planer as the 24 tooth rip blade in your tablesaw and the drum sander as the 80 tooth fine finish blade.  Both are very useful, but only when used the right way.

The next question most people ask me is do I really need a drum sander?  Yes, no, well maybe.  Yes if you detest sanding.  In reality, I don’t think in all of my years as a woodworker I’ve ever met anybody who gets excited about sanding, but I’m sure there’s one or two people in the world…

If you do a lot of sanding, it’s a great time and energy saver.  If you make a lot of glued up table tops or side panels, it will be your best friend.

If you value the machine quality of a perfectly smooth surface vs the irregularities of hand sanding, you’ll appreciate a drum sander.

If you only need it occasionally, well maybe.  I would encourage you to consider not only budget, but do you have the space for a drum sander?

The drum sander was not my first tool.  My tablesaw, drill press and bandsaw are my and most people’s big three.  But once you’ve spent a little time woodworking and it becomes a serious hobby, certainly other tools are needed.

But as I get older, the novelty of sanding has long since worn off.  Yes, I have about every type of sanding tool every made, belt, oscillating, palm, orbital, sanding stations etc. and use every one of them, nothing beats simply turning on the machine and sliding the wood through and receiving a perfectly smooth finish.

The drum sander however will create lots of fine dust particles.  If you have dust collection, this is definitely a place you should use it.  I would also encourage you to leave the dust collection machine on for a while after you sand unless you want a coating of dust on everything in your shop a ½ an hour later.

Drum sanders operate in a very similar manner to your planer.  You feed the wood through and a rotating tube encased in sand paper rolls over you wood to sand it.

One big advantage of a drum sander is that you can sand very thing pieces of wood like veneers or thicker pieces up to 4-6 inches depending on the machine.

To install the sand paper you simply wrap your selected grit around the rotating tube.  To change grits, unwrap the current paper and reinstall new grit.  I will admit at first changing the paper can be a pain, but after you do it a few times it will become second nature.

In a perfect world, you would be able to buy additional rollers and keep each roller with a specific grit of paper.  You would them interchange grit by dropping in different rollers.  But as nice as that sounds, it’s really not that bad to change paper.  In reality, you will probably keep a medium to fine grit in most of the time and just use that grit only.  Any very fine sanding say 220 and up, you will use a palm sander to finish up.

When buying a drum sander, I would suggest that it be open on the side.  This allows you to sand half of a wide piece and then rotate the wood 180 degrees and then sand the other side, thus doubling the width you can sand.  But if you only sand thin strips or pieces up to 12 inches or so, the traditional opening will be fine.

Like with all other tools, buy the quality you need on a regular basis.  If you’re a weekend woodworker, you could probably get by with a tabletop model.  A cabinet shop, of course is at the other end of the spectrum.

Watch this video to see how to use a drum sander.  Aren’t we all the “woodworker”?

I hope these quick drum sander reviews have been helpful.

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Good luck on your new drum sander.


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