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Thread: True Grit? What do you use in your drum sander?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI

    True Grit? What do you use in your drum sander?

    A few years ago I hit on a fantastic deal on a lightly used 16/32 perfomax drum sander. Having never owned one before I was unsure of the best grit to use for general flattening and sanding. I went with 150, and I think that was a huge mistake. I have been plagued with burning and the subsequent crud build up on the belt.

    I think I went too fine. I'm thinking I should have gone with 100 or even 80. What would you all recommend?
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Wapakoneta, OH
    I sometimes run 150, but not very often. The grit I seemed to have settled on 120, and that's what's on mine almost all the time. When I bought mine (used) the fellow had a couple of rolls of 220 included....I pretty quickly learned not to ever, ever buy that grit again. But another thing that will help is to never stick any soft woods in it....they are a curse to drum sanders. Get your self a big cleaning stick when you restock your belts, and use it often...regardless of the grit you choose. (one of those big rubber thingys).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    As usual I'm the odd-ball. I use 60 grit for altering dimensions, 80 grit for general sanding but, I have grits all the way to 320 and use them all for one thing or another. I like to get the most function out of the tool as possible and the paper changes quickly so its no big deal. I have made out well on Klingspor's 20# Lathe Bargain Box of End Rolls. Although there is no guarantee, I received almost all ends at 3" and wider so for $30-odd I have many, many rolls of 100 grit and finer. I filled this out with a roll of 60 and 80 grit and all is well.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Syracuse, Nebraska
    I have only used 120 with good results. I always run fairly slow on the feed. Really great for veneer making. Follow up with a scraper after the veneer is installed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    I keep 100 grit on mine. Got a deal a while back on a big roll of that 'blue zirconia(?)' stuff. It lasts much longer than the reddish brown stuff. Hand/ROS sanding from 100 grit on up doesn't take much time or effort, so the hundred grit pretty much stays on it all the time.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    I have RECENTLY made a discovery.

    This was a breakthrough for me - really.

    Don't laugh - I know - most of you already know this stuff - but for me it is BIG.

    I bought a 16-32 maybe 8 years or so ago - funny how time is moving by faster than ever before.

    I burned out the paper conveyor - and replaced it - then Beamer said we all needed to get this fancy rubber thing - I did that.

    I burned out - ohhh, I dunno - maybe 10-12 precut paper grits of varying grits.

    What I discovered "RECENTLY" is that I was sanding WAY too heavy and WAY too slow.

    I was burning the wood also. Cherry really shows the burns.

    Soooo - I decided to sand REALLY light sanding and move it through the sander - "pretty FAST"

    WOW - WOW - WOW --- what a DIFFERENCE.

    NOW - I know what to do.

    I fixed up some of the burned wood I had previously sanded. The wood was NOT getting hot anymore - the sanding was faster - and I didn't clog the rolls.

    The grits I use are 36 to 80 - to 120 to 150, and yes I will go to 220 on occasion.

    So - I challenge you --- go light and fast --- see if you like that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Bedford, NH
    80 grit/Roughing & 150 grit/Semi-Finishing
    Thoughts entering one's mind need not exit one's mouth!
    As I age my memory fades .... and that's a load off my mind!

    "We Live In The Land Of The Free, Only Because Of The Brave"
    “The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living."
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Winston Churchill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Santa Claus, In
    same as Al. I do have the newer model I guess, mine is set wide open and adjusts the speed by amount of motor drag.
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you don’t know what tool to buy next, then you probably don’t need it yet.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sacramento, CA
    I very rarely get burning.

    I vary rarely take more than 1/8" turn. And I usually run at top conveyor speed.

    80 grit on up to 220, i don't often get any burning unless there's a glue line to contend with. I clean the heck out of that sandpaper with the rubber thingy quite frequently - not every pass, not even every session, but if it's covered, i clean it. I check it a lot.

    You can't be impatient with these machines. They take LESS THAN 1/128th at a time in some woods that are prone to burning. It takes 20-30 passes sometimes if you've got a lot to take off. I try not to have a lot to take off
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    Thanks everyone! Went to Woodcraft today and they had only 80 in stock for my machine. Brought it home and loaded it up - took a lot of light passes on a 14" wide cherry table top. just for the record, fast and light has always been my approach, but with the 150 I was still having problems with harder, like cherry, woods. The 80 worked fine and gave me a good starting point to work through the grits with the random orbit sander.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

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