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Thread: Drum sander versus Wide Belt Sander, etc.???

  1. #1
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    Drum sander versus Wide Belt Sander, etc.???

    Here is a new thread to pick the minds of fellow wood butchers...

    Lou had published his pix on the timesaver sander and I almost fell over. That is a nice sander. But he did make some comments about it that I need to ask about.

    1). Which sander is best for solid woodwork and which is best for doing veneers? Also, one thing that happens often with sanders is preparing the strips of wood for bent strip laminations. Would this application also be called veneer as it applies to wide belt sanders versus drum sanders even though the strips are 3/32 to 1/8 inch thick or more?

    2). What is the point of having two drums with different grits of paper? If I need to feed stock through this sander two or three times, dont I loose the work completed by the second drum with finer paper each time the strip re-encounters the first drum with coarse paper on the second pass? Or do these sanders allow you to select which drum your going to use and raise the other one out of the way?

    3). Do widebelt sanders like the one Lou posted oscillate back and forth? In looking at the **NEW** oliver drum sander, I noticed that both drums not only revolve but they oscillate back and forth like an oscillating spindle sander. This is the blue oliver and not the green oliver by the way. The blue oliver is oliver in name sake only and they import some nice machines made in tiawan and not grand rapids, MI. Its a long story involving the sale of an old woodworking name. But they had a movie clip on the website and the machine looks pretty darn nice. Dont know much about the price as I have yet to find a dealer for these guys. I will try to find that this week.

    But I am looking for something to cut down the labor on doing cabinet doors, face frames and misc. stuff including prep work on stock for bent strip laminations. I have looked into going vintage but that often means getting sanders with babbitt bearings, 12,000 pound weights and half a dozen motors of 20 or so HP. (See Berlin Sanders). No Thanks, not this time around. I would like to keep the power budget under 20 HP.

  2. #2
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    hi Dev, I had a 3ph 5hp Kufo double drum sander that I got a good deal on at auction. It was ok but changing belts was a real pain. I ended up selling it.
    Looking now at an open ended widebelt, either the 7.5hp Powermatic or the Northstate, which is the same machine.
    Looked at the small Timesavers speedsander at the IWF. Nice small sander but just can't fit it in the shop.
    I've seen sanders that can do veneers. These seem to have all sorts of computer controls and other sensors to prevent sand thru of the veneer. Problem is that these things can run some big $.
    As you mentioned with the double belt machines the hp can be really high, with the motors totaling 25-30hp as a minimum.
    take care,
    John

  3. #3
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    Look at the new TimeSaver small shop sander. All widebelts oscillate and widebelts are best for veneer and solids. You want a platen. Drum sanders and widebelts without platens leave drum marks or ripples similar to a planer so further sanding is required. With a platen you can go right to finishing. You might consder a stroke sander as a cheaper alternative. Been in the business for 35 years and have used every type of sander out there. We even used widebelts and stroke sanders in the metal working industry.

  4. #4
    I have used a 38" Woodmaster drum sander for 13 years. I have sanded alot of face frames, doors & panels. It has served me very well. I do still finish sand with a random orbit sander. I can not sand veneer with it. It does very well on solid wood. The only problem I have with it is when sanding glued up panels. Glue builds up on the sandpaper.
    I have been told that this does not happen on the widebelt sanders because the belt oscillates & the length of the belt.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Lizek
    Look at the new TimeSaver small shop sander. All widebelts oscillate and widebelts are best for veneer and solids. You want a platen. Drum sanders and widebelts without platens leave drum marks or ripples similar to a planer so further sanding is required. With a platen you can go right to finishing. You might consder a stroke sander as a cheaper alternative. Been in the business for 35 years and have used every type of sander out there. We even used widebelts and stroke sanders in the metal working industry.
    Hi rick and others
    I agree with rick to a point on the widbelt sanders that only have a contact drum leaving small ripple marks. That is why I mentioned in my original post that for veneer you need a widebelt with a platen. I have to somewhat respectfully disagree that all contact drum machines are made equal. Many of the wide belts, including many timesavers, come with 6" contact drums and therefore they are more like the woodmaster drum sander that has about the same drum diameter. I would believe that drums in that size range would tend to leave little drum ripple marks. It turned out that the timesavers I purchased was a 237-HD ( 37" wide by 75" long - 20 hp ) that had an optional extra large contact drum that was 12+" in diameter. I have not noticed any of the sanding marks that rick refered to, but he certianly has more years on me in the industry. Rick, did some of the machines you have used had contact drums in the 12" range and if so did they leave the marks that you spoke of?

    thanks lou

  6. #6
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    So Lou...what happens when you wipe stain on the panel right out of the sander??? That's the most revealing! Now compare it to a panel that was sanded with a random orbit sander. One place I worked at never sanded higher than 120 grit or the lighter woods wouldn't take a dark stain. For the most part, things got stroke sanded after the wide belt.

    Most of the machine I used were platen type widebelts and did use one with a 12 drum and no platen but the wood still needed to be sanded with a random orbit sander or the marks would show up with stain. With a platen you can go right to finishing. Sanding metal with a widebelt or stroke sander is even more revealing. There is a special wheel/platen used on stroke sanders to recreate short scratches commonly found on certain decorative stainless steels.

    I don't think the oscillating drum is going to to eliminate the roller marks completely but haven't seen the new Oliver sander in action but I can't imagine it being much different than a platen widebelt with the platen disengaged. Speculating it only has a 6" diameter head at this point so my info may be a bit off.

    Regarding laminating strips...another option is to job it out. www.foremostwood.com has a gang frame saw, modern German technology of an old idea. They can set the spacing of a blade between 1/10", 1/8" etc. The advantage is the pieces come out ready to glue with no planing or sanding needed and minimal kerf loss, 1/32" approx. Think about it...consecutive laminated strips that don't look like every other strip is missing. You ship the wood to them or they will get the wood for you. Cost,time and material savings all around.

  7. #7
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    hi rick


    good point. I always stop at 180 on the wide belt and finish up with ROS.
    The nice thing about the wide belt is I can put anything through it and it comes out pretty flat and with no tear out. You are probably right about the drum marks, but I can really see them.

    lou

  8. #8
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    Dev,

    I have the General 24" and it seems very good for a sander n the $1600 range. I run 80 and 120 ...this model has 2 drums.
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  9. #9
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    double drum/wide belt

    What about the accuracy and consistency of thickness? Is one better over the other? I mean I just pull a thicknessed board out of the planer, I don't want to make it full of dips etc.

    d
    Sharpening skills, the plane truth.

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