The Drum Sander is a finishing tool, not an alternative to the thicknesser. Its primary function is to remove minor imperfections left by hand planning or thicknessing wood and preparing the surface for hand sanding through higher grits.
- The drum sander is not to be used as a quick way to remove glue, varnish, paint or other finish. Excess glue is to be removed before putting a piece through the sander.
- Where material to be removed is significant (e.g. to make a work piece thinner, to even up glued boards) you are wasting your time and wearing out abrasive using the drum sander. Use the thicknesser, hand plane or hand sander especially if work piece is thin.
Safety (in addition to the above safety measures common to all sanding machines)
- When sanding short lengths do not place them on the drum sander conveyor belt with your fingers on the underside. The rollers force the timber down and it can trap your fingers.
- Except for cleaning the abrasive, the drum cover must not be opened when the drum is rotating.
- Turn off the belt feed when cleaning the drum to avoid catching clothes.
- Avoid heavy cuts and grits not suited to the job.
- Timber less than 5mm thick must be placed on a sled. Use a sacrificial backstop or, better still, attach work to sled with double sided tape at front.
- Never operate the sander with the drum touching conveyor belt or when the belt is not centred on the roller.
Components and basic operations
- The main parts are: the conveyor (feed) belt, drum cover, drum to which abrasive is rolled around and attached using a clip lever, pressure-rollers, and height adjuster.
- The controls: on and off (green and red) switch, feed belt variable speed switch, height adjuster (macro arm and micro handle), and a drum oscillation on/off switch (Jet Sander only).
- Abrasive – The Guild uses 80 and 100 grit. Always inspect abrasive before use and note location of any wear/damage. Ridging is an indication of damaged abrasive. Avoid worn areas. Length and shape of taper of the abrasive vary between the sanding machines and is critical for a tight fit. The Jet has a tensioning tool to help hold open the abrasive catch – fingers do the job otherwise.
- Setting drum height. Place thickest part of workpiece under drum and using height adjusters lower drum to just touch workpiece. TIP: Open dust cover, rotate drum by hand while winding height adjuster until the drum will no longer rotate (i.e. abrasive is touching workpiece) – start height. Back off by winding adjuster one full revolution the other way, remove wood from under drum, then rewind back down again to start height (almost one revolution).
- Turn on conveyer (40-50 feet/sec mark is often used), turn on sander (green button under Red safety cover) and place workpiece on conveyer. Listen for feathering sound. Vary where you run the timber through the sander before readjusting height of drum so as to even out wear on the abrasive.
- A quarter turn of the height adjuster (approx. 0.4mm – 1/64 inch) is recommended between passes. Do not change the height between passes until both halves have been done, when processing pieces wider than the sander drum. Very light sanding increments at high speed reduces the risk of burning timber, especially for timbers susceptible to burning
- Support wide and long lengths of timber in and out of the drum sander. Snipe is possible if the workpiece isn’t parallel to the conveyor as it enters the sander.
- Clean the abrasive regularly to prevent from it choking up. Some timber/abrasive combinations are prone to choking (e.g. resinous woods). Better to clean too often than not often enough. Crepe blocks are provided for this purpose. Always clean on finishing job.
TIP – If using abrasive with a burn mark, place a small piece of masking tape on the drum cover in line with the burn mark so that you can avoid it. Do not use pencil or a marker as these will still be in place when the abrasive is changed.
- Finger entrapment is a real risk if you leave your fingers under your workpiece as you support it onto the conveyor. Hold shorter pieces from the sides and longer pieces well back.
- When edge sanding, if the bottom edge is not square to the timber face then the sanded face will also be off-square.
- If feathering sound of abrasive comes and goes your workpiece is not flat; make sure you put the thickest part through first before adjusting the height of the drum otherwise you may over work the sander.
- Trying to remove too much in one pass is the main reason that abrasives burn or produce a resin streak which reduces their usefulness/effectiveness.
– Slight skewing of workpiece on the belt feeder helps avoid burning in some cases.
– A light dusting of talcum powder on easily burnt timber before each pass is said to reduce the risk of burning too.
- If you try to take off too much in one pass the INTELLISAND feature may activate. It protects the motor from overloading by slowing the speed of the conveyer but increases the how long the workpiece is presented to the abrasive and so chance of burning. This may also cause a groove (snipe) in your workpiece.
- Tat! Tat! Tat! Tat! This noise is caused by the abrasive at the end of the drum hitting the feed belt. Stop immediately and re-tension the abrasive. Alternatively, the timber piece may be less than 5mm thick and require a sled.
- On the Jet Drum Sander, the outer end of the sanding drum is set a fraction higher than the inside end so that a groove is not sanded into boards greater than 22″ (560 mm) in width. Easier to hand sand out a slight ridge than a groove. Regularly swap the leading end of your timber through the sander to reduce the effect of the drum’s slope. Conversely, the SuperMax sander drum is set parallel to the conveyor belt.
- Do not lean on the free end of the drum – you will end up with a heavier cut than you were planning! (This is especially the case for the SuperMax)
- Remember, secure loose clothing. The feed belt on a drum sander can grab loose items of clothing e.g. a loose wind cheater or a sleeve of a jumper.
- If you have any doubts about using the sander seek assistance/advice.
- Members can supply their own abrasive but need first to see the shed boss or member of the maintenance team. Use your own abrasive when removing glue or other non-wood matter.
- For glued-up panels that are too wide for the thicknesser, clean off exuded glue before sanding and skew the timber through the sander.
- A straight sanding pass over extruded glue will almost certainly ruin the abrasive. Coarse abrasives such as #80 work better than fine abrasives for cleaning remaining glue.
Checkout a video presentation on the Guild’s Jet 22-44 Oscillating Drum Sander.
Checkout a video presentation on the Guild’s Super Max Drum Sander.
Manual for the SuperMax 16-32 Drumsander 08/2017