18" Shopbuilt Thickness Sander...Blake Style

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Project by deucefour posted 09-12-2010 07:14 PM 11094 views 73 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First of all thanks to all the LJ’s who have built these and blogged on the process, especially Blake for answering my questions. If someone knows how to add links to Blake and Yorkshire Stewarts sanders, please feel free to do so.

Anyway the goal for me was to build this as good and as cheap as possible. The trial run gave me results accurate within 1/100th over 8 different points measured on a piece of 2×6. You might look at the other sanders posted on this site but I will give you the little things that I learned along the way making this.

First make sure that the drum and sandpaper extend adequately over the edge of the table border, I had the sandpaper unwrap on me because i caught an edge. I only had about 1/4” overhang so I subsequently had to gorilla tape the edge, which some factory sanders require anyway. so now i have a 17 1/2” wide capacity. I had slight damage to the sandpaper and still got great results. also when truing up the drum, be patient, and let the sandpaper cut until it is done cutting, Be patient and check it to make sure it is true to the table. also true the drum again after the coats of epoxy have been applied.

Buying 5/8 rod from a bearing supply company will give you a better rod than you can get from a big box store but it is 4x the cost, I would stick with the cheaper stuff if I ever made another drum. The same goes for the bearings. alot of my cost went for higher dollar bearings and rod

The wood was all scavanged from a buddy and some of it had already been joined with pocket screws, I will be interested to see how well it all holds up. however it seems sturdy now. all other joints were miller dowels and seem very strong. the machine runs very quiet and has little vibration, I plan to build a cart with storage underneath and add some storage under the rear part of the table

I used a 1.5 hp 1725 rpm 110v motor, the pulleys increase the speed to 2200 rpm. The table is 18” wide, and remember the drum is pushing toward the operator, don’t take too big of a bite and you will get good results.

I set it on some bench cookies and seemed to further reduce vibration, I would definatly order the sandpaper/velcro and switch from grizzly, if you call and order one of their “thickness sander conversion kits” it will come with velcro and sandpaper for about the price of one roll of sandpaper. I probably have 300 bucks in parts for this if you dont count glue, epoxey and the other items that should be a staple in a shop.

I do plan on building a belt cover after I trim the shaft. Thanks for looking and if I can build this I know that you can too. also I will be happy to answer any questions but my machine has not stood the test of time yet, however I had contacted blake and he has used his for quite some time and says the he wouldnt change a thing.

Update picture – the last picture is of the guard that I attached, it just uses hinges and a latch, I tried to use 4 rare earth magnets but they were not strong enough to keep the guard in place if bumped.

Thanks for looking.


19 comments so far

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 3490 days

#1 posted 09-12-2010 08:14 PM

Nice job. I’d like to build one myself.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View rkevins's profile


79 posts in 3539 days

#2 posted 09-12-2010 09:45 PM

do you have the number for the Kit ?

View snowdog's profile


1167 posts in 4592 days

#3 posted 09-12-2010 09:50 PM

Hmm it cost you $300 and you can buy one for about $600+ hmm that is a tough one. I was hoping it would be a lot cheaper

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

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3684 days

#4 posted 09-12-2010 09:52 PM

Very nice job. I’m particularly interested since I plan to build one shortly.

Can you tell me what you used for surface on the table?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View deucefour's profile


285 posts in 3863 days

#5 posted 09-13-2010 02:58 AM

The 12” model is around $600 bucks, I figured an 18” model to be $800 +, It all kinda adds up when you buy good bearings, rod, belt, pulleys and motor. I was hoping to come in a little cheaper also but it was still worth it to me and the challenge was fun because I am not a very experianced woodworker. It also seems to run really true and accurate which was also a plus.


View deucefour's profile


285 posts in 3863 days

#6 posted 09-13-2010 03:02 AM


I used 3/4 MDF and Formica because thats what I had, however Blake recommended free melamine laminated from a cabinet shop. I would go with the melamine if you can get it for free, it would be less trouble and the formica shows scratches. I also used oak for the border and miller dowels, seems real sturdy. Thanks


View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4483 days

#7 posted 09-13-2010 05:35 AM

Turned out great! Glad I could help. Enjoy it.

Here’s the link to mine you asked for:

Click for details

-- Happy woodworking!

View deucefour's profile


285 posts in 3863 days

#8 posted 09-13-2010 05:48 AM


Are you talking about the kit from grizzly? I dont have that # but i just told them what I needed and they were able to find it. it was a kit to convert over to hook and loop sandpaper, hope that helps


View Ken90712's profile


17820 posts in 3798 days

#9 posted 09-13-2010 04:54 PM

Nice drum sander, I’m almost done with my 18 drum sander as well. I’m doing the kit from Stock Room Supply and have just the top to finish. Thx for the post.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View snowdog's profile


1167 posts in 4592 days

#10 posted 09-13-2010 06:55 PM

I am sure if I search I can find a few “kits” but can you post a few links to these “kits” that everyone is talking about?

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

View deucefour's profile


285 posts in 3863 days

#11 posted 09-13-2010 07:55 PM


The only kit that I was aware of was the velcro for the drum, and the sandpaper that mates up to it. (from grizzly) they called it a conversion kit because it was to change an existing sander to hook and loop sandpaper. I was not aware of any other kits. but I am sure there are some out there. the item I just described was about 33 bucks and a switch was 14 bucks.


Thanks, I’ll have to see it when you are done, I think snowdog may be looking for the parts you are using. at good luck


View snowdog's profile


1167 posts in 4592 days

#12 posted 09-13-2010 08:43 PM

Yeah, I was looking for a parts list and was just being lazy <smile>

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

View drbyte's profile


836 posts in 4671 days

#13 posted 09-13-2010 08:56 PM

Why do you have to trim the shaft?? Why did you not use the whole length for sanding drum?? Great looking sander!!

-- Dennis, WV

View deucefour's profile


285 posts in 3863 days

#14 posted 09-13-2010 11:18 PM


I got a longer shaft on purpose because I would have hated to come up short after constructing everything, besides a sander any bigger than this would be pushing it on space in my shop, I had already increased the size from the original plan of 12” to 18”

glad you like it, by the way get your rod longer than you think you need, I just checked and my final rod length is 24” for the 18” drum.


View woody57's profile


650 posts in 4036 days

#15 posted 09-14-2010 03:08 AM

great job
one of the best I’ve seen

-- Emmett, from Georgia

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