Jet & Delta drum sanders? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-09-2008, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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Jet & Delta drum sanders?

I am considering the purchase of the Jet or Delta open arm drum sanders (16/32 or 18/36) and am fairly confused. It appears in the myriad of reviews I have read that the opinions run about half and half for and against both models.

Are the problems I read about user error or are their issues indemic to the open arm design? I feel more confused now than before I started researching. Any thoughts or advice? Thanks.

Mart
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-09-2008, 10:13 AM
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I am considering the purchase of the Jet or Delta open arm drum sanders (16/32 or 18/36) and am fairly confused. It appears in the myriad of reviews I have read that the opinions run about half and half for and against both models.

Are the problems I read about user error or are their issues indemic to the open arm design? I feel more confused now than before I started researching. Any thoughts or advice? Thanks.

Mart
I've been using the Delta 18/36 for a little over a year now. I too had a lot of people tell me to buy one over the other. So I can't speak for the Jet however I think they probably have very similar sanding charateristics. And what ever problems people have with one or the other are probably due to inexperience using the machine.

The drum sander must be set-up properly from the biggining. As far as the conveyor to the drum. They should not be perfectly parallel, instead be slightly tapered in-order not to create a gouge down the center of doors/panels wider than 18".

Probably the biggest issue is monitoring the sanding belt, which will get gummed-up or start to burn. This ususal happens on the left side of the drum where it will get the most use. So its important to stagger the work pieces as much as possible help create even wear. Reversing the belt helps with this when any build-up does occur. So does using one of those rubber blocks on the drum while its spinning.

If your sanding doors with rails and stiles. It is espescially important to gradually progess the grits of the belts. I've just been using 180 and 220 for this.

Lastly I would say that the feed rate and depth of surface removal are
something to get used to. The type wood will have a big effect on how to best set-up everything up. So sample pieces are a must.

Well this has been more general information. However I would say that the Delta does preform well and it's well built. Actually I'm planning on purchasing another one and converting it into a brush sander.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-09-2008, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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I guess my biggest reason for wanting one is that I want to make flat boards. I am not looking to finish sand with it but to take the cupping out of stock prior to planing. I work with a lot of rough cut stock and it is hard to get much that doesn't have a little cupping to it. I also would use it on large glued up panels to save time sanding.

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post #4 of 8 Old 02-09-2008, 11:08 AM
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I guess my biggest reason for wanting one is that I want to make flat boards. I am not looking to finish sand with it but to take the cupping out of stock prior to planing. I work with a lot of rough cut stock and it is hard to get much that doesn't have a little cupping to it. I also would use it on large glued up panels to save time sanding.

Mart
IMHO- I'm not sure that a drum sander would be the best tool for this job. A jointer would be much better suited for this. Even with the a very course grit you can only take off so much material. It would also take many passes to accomplish what you could in a pass or two on a jointer. Also any worping would just carry through as well.

As far as large glued up panels; the thing to watch out for is the glue lines. These are what cause the burn marks on the drum, which in turn cause deep burn marks on the wood. So its very important to stagger the work piece so that the drum is in contact with the glue line in many different locations on the drum. So if you have a 36" panel, it is unlikely to be able to be able to completely sand the intire panel. I would say a 32" panel would be the maximum width you could sand.

Are you buying you're stock from a lumber yard? If so, just pay an extra $.07-.10/ft to have it planed to the right thickness. As a one man shop this has saved me so much time and money!
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-09-2008, 12:13 PM
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Definitely agree with Sebastien here. Either pay the yard to resurface it for you, or buy a jointer and a planer. In other threads here it was discussed the difference, but a jointer will make a flat face on a board, take out all the cup etc. But it won't easily cut a face on the other side making the board even thickness, so you take the piece then to the planer. Obviously buying these two machines are much more expensive than buying the open ended machine you are talking about, but everything Sebastien said about glue lines is true in a drum sander, and additionally they are slow in taking down much amount of stock
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-09-2008, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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I have both a 15 inch planer and a 6 inch jointer. Most of the stock I have is either stuff I have fallen and had cut (birch, spruce or cottonwood, we don't have anything else) or hardwood stock from a local supplier whose stuff is planed once front and back. It varies in thickness and while it is generally good quality it often does have some cup to it.

I do use the jointer on narrow boards but am loath to rip the wider boards only to have to have to glue them up again. Maybe I should look at one of the 12 or 16 inch closed drum sanders to work stock and stick to the belt sander and ROS for wide panels.

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post #7 of 8 Old 02-09-2008, 07:59 PM
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I have both a 15 inch planer and a 6 inch jointer. Most of the stock I have is either stuff I have fallen and had cut (birch, spruce or cottonwood, we don't have anything else) or hardwood stock from a local supplier whose stuff is planed once front and back. It varies in thickness and while it is generally good quality it often does have some cup to it.

I do use the jointer on narrow boards but am loath to rip the wider boards only to have to have to glue them up again. Maybe I should look at one of the 12 or 16 inch closed drum sanders to work stock and stick to the belt sander and ROS for wide panels.

Mart
Here's an idea for you: make a sled/jig to support a long piece of lumber to feed into you're planer. You would essentialy be turning you're 15" planer into a 15" jointer. The sled will need to be a bit longer and wider than the rough cupped/warpped lumber. The idea is to shim the board along its high point/'s. The trailing end of the sled would have a stop block which the lumber would rest/push against. The leading edge of the lumber/sled would also need another block to lock into place. Does this make sense?
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-10-2008, 01:54 AM
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Mart, now I understand your problem a bit better. I had a bit of the same problem when I had an 8" jointer. Lots of hardwoods come wider than 8" as you know, but I could generally survive. Finally I bought an old 12" and rebuilt it, problem solved. Yes, a sander would help you, but just like a planer, to some extent there is pressure and a thickness sander is just that, it sands to thickness, so if the board is warped, it will not straighten it out well. yes, much better than a planer as it doesn't use as much pressure. But again, Sebastien is right, a drum sander will BURN at glue lines, and BURN at other spots if you are trying to remove lots of wood. You CAN make it work, but if I were you, I'd either buy at least an 8" jointer, or find an old 12 (or bigger) and get that going. I have an open end drum sander, quite a bit more powerful than the Jet or Delta, and it does an ok job, but drum sanders are not meant for what you want. It is much more of a finish sander. When you try to thickness a lot of wood, be prepared to spend a lot of time. I finally bought a small wide belt sander, (lots more power and money) and it WILL do what you are asking, but still not as nicely as a jointer would. (course it will deal with curly grain where that is a problem)
Good luck.
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