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Thread: Best Drum Sander for home shop; or wide belt used ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Phoenix, AZ

    Best Drum Sander for home shop; or wide belt used ?

    After some recent threads on drum sanders, I spent a night reading all the posts I could find on SMC for these, trying to figure out what was "the best" drum sander I should be looking for, for use in garage shop. I really couldn't find any "best" threads, or comparisons--just data points on individual machines, mostly Performax 16-32, Jet 22-44, Jet 16-32 (did they buy Performax??).

    I'd also like to know if it's reasonable to get a wide belt sander for a home shop, if they're better than drum sanders (threads seem to say yes), and what models would be reasonable for a home shop. I read that motors are much bigger, usually 3 phase, and they take up space, so I'd be looking for 5HP single phase (maybe 7.5 if that's all there is), and apparently I want one with a platen.

    Looking at the new pricing, it appears drum sanders are fairly expensive, on the order of a table saw which surprised me. And the WBS seem much more expensive, I looked at the Grizzly lineup for low-price data points. I'd like to look on CL for a used one, but need more info on what I should be buying. Here's the use: all personal build, furniture, 3-6 built-ins including full-wall bookshelf/cabinet ones for office, and kitchen cabinets, likely frame and raised-panel, perhaps shaker fronts, but non-euro. Future projects likely include guitars.

    My ares of interest are:
    1. I've read lots of great posts for 16-32 (performax or jet?) but then a lot of BAD posts on them concerning drum leveling.
    2. I've read from virtually everyone that the 22-44 is better.
    3. Most everyone says the wide belt is better, but it should have a platen etc...

    So, with $2k budget, 2 car garage shop, 60A 230V panel that I could boost to 100A, 5HP Oneida cyclone, and quite happy to shop CL at length for the thing, WHAT do I buy?
    Thread on "How do I pickup/move XXX Saw?"

    Compilation of "Which Band Saw to buy?" threads

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Wilmington Island, Ga
    Without doing major research, my first "GUESS" would be to go with a wide belt sander. I just spent 3 min on ebay and found a hand full of likely contenders for 3k and less. I bet if patience and time are on your side you'll find what you need.

    I found a CL special for $500, it's a dual drum sander. I haven't got it yet, but I'm thinking about it. Deal is though, if I wait another 6-8 months I'll have the cash for a wide belt. Sand now or sand later, that's the question.

    I say if you have the power available, go wide belt.

    Just my .02
    Husband to 1, father to 9
    2 girls and 7 boys (in that order)
    Life Is Full Of Blessings
    The Lord is my Rock and my Refuge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    I see panel sanders like this from worst (not bad but relative) to best:

    1. cantilever sanders, I prefer the Performax/Jet to the Grizzly/Delta versions
    2. drum sanders fixed on both ends, the imports are all right but the best I have used are the Woodmaster sanders, made in the US
    3. WB without platen
    4. WB with platen

    You find overlaps in quality at the top of one level to the bottom of the next.

    The key is a "good" wide belt is probably going to be over your budget used except you are a CL guru...

    If it were me I would plan on the Jet 22-44 or the 22-44 OSC or the 22-44 Pro BUT I would wait to get at least 10% or 15% off plus free shipping, during the wait I would burn up CL for something in budget but better. OR if you "creep" the budget $500 I would suggest the Woodmaster 2675, they are serious machines built like tanks (but no aesthetics were taken into account). I have only had my 3875 for a couple of months now but along with my current bandsaw they are the only tools that if I had to replace I wouldn't even consider anything else unless the budget was much bigger. In my opinion when new machines are considered the Woodmaster sanders are right at the point of diminishing returns for panel sanders for a well funded hobby shop. BTW if you look at buying a WM new the "sale" prices are pretty much the norm, they do have "real" sales sometimes but I haven't seen one lately, I don't know if they still do the truck delivery thing where they would hold orders until they had enough to send a truck to a region and shipping was free.

    As always the more you move the budget up the more intersting the choices get...
    Last edited by Van Huskey; 12-16-2010 at 2:58 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Mid Missouri (Brazito/Henley)

    Wide belt or Drum Sander?

    The big question is: "How much sanding will you be doing? Hours every day? Doubtful! You have a home shop, not a business. Wide belt sanders are built for speed and endurance. Big 15 or 20 hp motors. You won't find many "plug n play" wide belts for $2K. Most in that price range are worn-out castoffs. The good ones will bring much more unless it is an isolated local sale. Drum sanders are not as agressive, but so what if you spend an extra half hour sanding?

    Look for a used Woodmaster DS. The 26" sanders do most anything a home shop needs to do. The 38" does bigger stuff, or allows your sanding roll to last longer. Woodmasters are built like a Tank compared to the Grizzly double drums. AND Woodmaster is still made in USA! Check 'em won't be sorry!

    Here's my bargain Woodmaster 7.5hp double drum 3820 bought earlier this year, well below your $2K budget. I Love It!
    3820 Front.jpg
    Last edited by Chip Lindley; 12-16-2010 at 2:54 AM.
    Necessisity is the Mother of Invention, But If it Ain't Broke don't Fix It !!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Courtenay BC Canada
    Be careful shopping for a used Wide Belt sander. They can be like used boats

    I shopped for a while before finding mine, its a 2001 SCM Sandya Win, 25" wide. It was considerably more than $2000.00. It was sold to a college and replaced because it was too small.
    It sat in storage for quite a few years and was finally sold to a fella who stored it for his future shop.. His business started the year before the financial crisis..

    I went for very low hours and no signs of abuse, rather than " best deal"

    A Wide Belt is not a trouble free machine. Most bigger shops will buy them new and run them hard, until they start to fade, then replace them. Simple things like a new conveyor belt can be a very expensive repair. They are full of switches, sensors and compressed air lines. Everything is hard to get at, and parts are expensive.

    I have had no problems (touch wood) but have a buddy in town with a Cantek 25" machine who has been much less lucky.. lol .. The belts cost us $22.00, but come in a box of 5 per grit.

    They are fantastic to use. Mine is 12hp PH3.. Today I was making staircase parts out of Old growth fir, right from the bandsaw to the sander, 150 grit in 2 passes.. no problem ..

    Good news is you have ample dust collection. 5hp Oneida was a good choice if your going to buy a stationary sander.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Columbiana, Ohio
    Dave, Jet did buy Performax. I picked up the 16-32 a few weeks ago when Jet ran a sale at 799. Absolutely no tracking issues. Excellent dc. I just read on this forum of people having issues with the small tool Jet gives you to help change out the sandpaper. Maybe they redesigned it, buy it works well for me. I just bought 6 replacement rolls for 31.00 with shipping. I really like this sander. Probably the main drawback vrs the Woodmaster would be the speed. I take off about .008 at a time on boards around 8" width. I know the Woodmaster can take off more and at faster speeds. I think it really depends on the work you are doing and how much time you have. I work at my own pace and the only timetable I have is the one I put on myself. John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Northwestern Connecticut
    IMO Your situation does not call out for a wide belt sander. Yes, they beat the pants off of any drum sander. But with a 5hp/60A limit for both dust collection and sander, and in a 2 car garage, and for personal hobby use, it seems a misallocation of resources to me. And at 2k, that would be one heck of a deal for a real one in working order.

    I've used a wood master, and it's a good sander with a bit more oomph than my performed 22-44. For sanding panels I'd choose the wood master, it has a much better hold down mechanism, but for small parts and accurate sanding of thin veneers I actually prefer the more intimate and open design of the performax. I own a performax 22/44 pro, and it's good for many things, but it's not great at sanding glued up doors,Mao keep that in mind.

  8. #8
    As others have posted, it's just not adding up for 2k and 60 amps. I bought a 3 phase saw and shaper, around 7 hp, and the phase converter itself is not cheap. I built scrounged it myself, using all good parts. I don't want to think about it, but for a 15 hp idler converter, which will start 7.5 hp, I have about 500 dollars in it, and I scrounged hard. I have this on a 30 amp breaker, to be on the safe side, but I have popped it under heavy load.

    A 10 hp sander, which is on the small side, would put you over 60 amps, and could even use up your 2k just for the phase converter. Not to say that it is not something to consider, but just the support stuff to run it is a pretty good cash outlay.

    Also, I have a 22-44, and it is OK.

  9. #9
    Oscillation is the key. Unless the sandpaper oscillates back and forth, a small burn forms from a knot or something else in the wood. The small burn in the paper immediately turns onto a big problem and you have to change the paper. I went through a 16/32, then a 22/44, then a double drum, all a waste of my money and sandpaper. I finally bit the bullet on a wide belt and now I don't change sandpaper until it's worn out. All on 60 amps with 2hp Oneida.

  10. #10
    The 22-44 is nice because 16" simply isn't wide enough to do many archtop and acoustic tops and backs. For example, the "standard" archtop is a 17" lower bout. A dreadnought can be anywhere from 15 1/2" to 16+" at the lower bought. The added width also allows you to put pieces in at an angle so that you're using the entire drum. The Performax/Jet design, especially with the mobile base w/storage, is very nice. It takes up significantly less room than the non-cantilevered designs. If you have room to spare the non-cantilevered designs are also very nice. Keep an eye on the specs. You'll find wide variations re: minimum lengths, and things of that nature, and that may affect your decision.

    I would love to have a belt sander if I had the room and if they weren't so darn expensive. If I ever move into a real shop, there will be a nice belt sander somewhere
    Last edited by John Coloccia; 12-16-2010 at 11:37 AM.

  11. #11
    Grizzly does have a 3hp 15" wide belt sander for $2k shipped. I have no idea how well it works but I would probably consider it if I couldn't find a good deal on a woodmaster at your budget.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Livonia, Michigan
    +1 on the Woodmaster

    I went through a similar search as you are describing.
    Figured out that 24" wide was OK, and good drum sander is the ticket.
    I got my 2675 for considerable less than you are talking.
    I added infeed and outfeed tables to it, and it is super.

    Made in USA is a bonus.

    Good Luck

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    I went down the cantilevered road with a Delta 18x36 before getting my Woodmaster 2675, 26” DS. There isn’t really any comparison between the open design drum sanders like Performax, Delta, Jet, etc and a four post design, and IMO, the Woodmaster is the best of the four post designs.

    Sure, a nice 25” or bigger widebelt would be nice but they require a substantial amount of power to run one.
    Please help support the Creek.

    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. - Steven Wright

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Hillsboro, OR
    Blog Entries
    +2 on the woodmaster. Also consider the 4-in-one machines, you can sell your planer to amatorize some of the cost of the Woodmaster this way. The primary difference between the 4-in-one drum sander and the dedicated sander is the drum size (4" versus 6"). The larger drums do take more sandpaper but the drums stay quite a bit cooler (faster feed rates are possible).

    Note that drum sanding will not result in a finish-ready piece unless you're painting. Plan on using a ROS + 150->220 grit on pesky woods.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kapolei Hawaii
    I think the key to this is "home shop". The guy where I buy my wood from has a Griz wide belt. With the infeed and outfeed tables, it takes up enough room to rival a small car. Not to mention the large amounts of dust, he has 3 cyclones. If you can house it, no question that a wide belt is the better choice.
    For me the 16-32 is just fine, but I do not work on anything that needs 16.5" of sanding.

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