Thicknessing drum sander - shop made

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Blog entry by YorkshireStewart posted 02-25-2008 11:09 PM 72969 reads 203 times favorited 59 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve had a fancy for a thicknessing sander but a 10-20 inch model costs the equivalent of $1000 US over here and there’s no way I can justify that sort of spending so I looked into making one of my own. There’s no shortage of help to be had on the world-wide-web. The links I found useful include:

Dominic’s Woodshop

Kawika Ukulele Sander

Ray Lanham Woodcentral

Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery

Mother earth

The Woodshop

Art Herrick

Luthiers’ Friend

Nick’s drum Sander

Moritz Designs

Shop Notes

With all that information, especially the very comprehensive how-to-do-it website by Dominic upon whose sander I largely based mine, I didn’t even attempt a proper instructional blog, but here are a few pictures of the finished article.

drum sander 1

Space is a serious problem for me, so I went for a unit I can stand on the folding workbench ‘Workmate’. I’m not sure that was too good an idea now that I realise the weight of the finished job.

eBay provided most of the hardware (all new items) at the following cost:

- Motor £33.85
- Velcro £8.24
- Rod £12.75
- Bearings £15.06
- Belt £5.12
- Switch £17.93

- Total £92.95. What’s that, about 185 US Dollars?

The wood & pulleys I had kicking around and the rise and fall arrangement was from bits in the junk box.

drum sander 6

drum sander 5

drum sander 3

drum sander 2

A work of art it isn’t, but it seems to be pretty accurate, vibration-free and quiet.

I’ll be happy to answer any questions of course.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

59 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5325 days

#1 posted 02-25-2008 11:13 PM

Looks great Yorkie. Didn’t know you were looking to make so quiclkly.

How is it hand feeding it?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 5238 days

#2 posted 02-25-2008 11:17 PM

Far far easier than I’d feared Gary. I thought there’d be loads of ‘kick back’, but at 1/6th turn of the adjuster at a time it’s a very gentle animal. The dust collector is a must as I found when I forgot to switch it on!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5188 days

#3 posted 02-25-2008 11:28 PM

Who cares whether its a work of art Stew, as long as it does the job. Thanks for sharing.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1142 posts in 5328 days

#4 posted 02-25-2008 11:37 PM

Looks great, I’ve eyed the same thing for a while now…

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5358 days

#5 posted 02-25-2008 11:47 PM

Stew, nice job.
You beat me to it by a country mile and it really looks fine.

What is you RPM?


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 5238 days

#6 posted 02-25-2008 11:53 PM

Motor runs at 2870 rpm and it’s ‘geared’ down to around 1700rpm. Drum is 5” dia. As far as I know, that’s in line with Grizzly, Performax etc.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5737 days

#7 posted 02-25-2008 11:58 PM

Great Job Stewart. Looks like a keeper.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

845 posts in 5245 days

#8 posted 02-26-2008 12:54 AM

Form and functionality, what more can you ask for?

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View tomd's profile


2225 posts in 5107 days

#9 posted 02-26-2008 12:54 AM

Very nice job, looks very professional.

-- Tom D

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 5108 days

#10 posted 02-26-2008 01:06 AM

Stew, nice job. How thin will it go?


-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5636 days

#11 posted 02-26-2008 01:21 AM

Great piece of craftsmanship Stew.

I’ll bet others will be trying to duplicate this.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5136 days

#12 posted 02-26-2008 02:35 AM

really cool. I hope you gets lots of years of satisfaction from it.

-- making sawdust....

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5211 days

#13 posted 02-26-2008 03:48 AM

Stewart, I cant tell you how happy I am with this post. I have been agonizing about a thickness sander for so long now. I have been on the fence about putting the time into building one, wondering if it would be as good as a commercial version and whether it would just frustrate me. I just spent some considerable time with your links and I will be going back. I will definitely be talking to you more about this. I think you just pushed me over the edge to make one!!! Thanks so much.

-- Happy woodworking!

View snowdog's profile


1183 posts in 5319 days

#14 posted 02-26-2008 02:26 PM

It looks like functional art to me. Like most others here, I have been toying with the idea of building one but was not sure if it really would save all that much money, especially if it didn’t work well when I was done :)

Great post, thanks

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5219 days

#15 posted 02-26-2008 03:36 PM

Good job. I love shop made machines. I tried one of these years ago using my lathe. But I didn’t put the love into it that you seem to have done. I will be interested in how you like it over time with the manual feed.

Love your knobs!

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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