Supermax 1938 Review - 4.5 out of 5 stars in my book.

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Review by BobLove posted 03-29-2018 05:01 PM 5750 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Supermax 1938 Review - 4.5 out of 5 stars in my book. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I recently bought the Supermax 19/38 drum sander. This is my first drum sander and I have to say that I’m really surprised by how much I like it.

The main purpose was for sanding thinner panels for scroll saw work. My wife likes to scroll saw and when she saw a demo on one she wanted one so it was a win win decision.

My original concern was it only being 120volt sander. I don’t really have a shop and the one circuit in the garage is already taxed especially if I use my dust collector. Suprisingly, this thing is really quiet, or at least I think it is. I haven’t put a clamp on meter on it to see what its drawing but I haven’t tripped the breaker either.

The adjustment up and down is very smooth with no back lash. It’s pretty quick to change the sanding wrap. My wife can do it in about 2 minutes. I think the clamp system is better here than the Jet version. She plans all her sanding by grit working up to the finer grit.

We’re pretty conservative when feeding it. We don’t take heavy cuts and haven’t ever seen the intelligent conveyor speed reducer kick on.

Assembly is a little difficult, this thing is really heavy. We bought the mobile base, the bigger one with taller wheels. The Rockler all terrain mobile base. Just note, you’ll need the base extension to accommodate this thing because it wider than the standard model. The mobile base is incredible as well… expensive but well worth it in our case.

We bought the in feed and out feed tables (an extra cost) They work well and are adjustable. It’s not hard to do once you read (an understand) the assembly instructions.

My only negative feed back is that the shelf on the base is really flimsy…. I’ll probably cover it with some plywood to firm it up.

Dust collection, the 4” attachment is well made but some what cumbersome to use if you don’t have dedicated dust collection. This thing can coat a small SUV in sanding dust in a very short time. Just ask me how I know.

Making it out of parallel for widths greater than 19” is really easy to adjust and reset. We haven’t used it yet but it’s nice to know its there when we do need it.

4.5 out of 5 , only because of the flimsy shelf. I would definitely recommend this to someone looking to buy a drum sander.

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4 posts in 1170 days

9 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


5271 posts in 3100 days

#1 posted 03-29-2018 05:32 PM

I just bought the Supermax 16-32 and got it put together. It is heavy and really well built. The instructions are good. I have only put a couple of boards thru it but it works well. I will provide a complete review after I have used it a bit.

View sawdustjunkie's profile


412 posts in 2829 days

#2 posted 03-29-2018 10:46 PM

I have had mine for 2 years. Cost almost as much as my table saw, but I use it on almost every project ad wouldn’t know if I could live without it anymore.
A smart investment for a shop!
I buy my sandpaper in large rolls and cut it to size myself. Sure saves some big money by not buying precut rolls.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View BobLove's profile


4 posts in 1170 days

#3 posted 03-30-2018 01:00 PM


Where do you get your rolls? I’m looking a Klingspor but I’m not sure what type of roll I should be looking at. I can do the layout and cut the taper. Supermax has some good instructions on that.

Does anyone else have a bulk roll supplier that they would recommend?

View splintergroup's profile


5253 posts in 2334 days

#4 posted 03-30-2018 02:51 PM

I’be been using the Klingspor aluminum oxide bulk rolls, on about my 10th roll now. I haven’t tried other vendors or abrasive chemistry since the red stuff has worked fine. You won’t find much quality difference between vendors on just the abrasive, but the price differences can add up over time. Just be sure you are comparing the same backings (i.e “weight”). The Klingspor backings allow me to soak belts in Simple Green or ammonia to clean out burn marks, glue, or sap smears without compromising the belt.

View wrenchhead's profile


234 posts in 4276 days

#5 posted 03-31-2018 05:29 AM

Great review! I just purchased the 1938 and got it put together a couple days ago. I bought it based on the reviews i read from Lumberjocks. I am putting it through the paces now and hopefully will review it in a couple weeks. Has anyone noticed that the Conveyor belt motor wobbles? I followed the troubleshoot guide and loosened the motor box bolts, ran it and re-tightened it but still oscillating. Contacted Supermax and they told me that they do wobble some but they are sending me a new bushing to try. Super friendly tech support. Just curoius if anyone else ran in to this.

-- I could quit if I wanted

View robscastle's profile (online now)


7941 posts in 3316 days

#6 posted 03-31-2018 07:11 AM

Hello Bob

You on the right track with the shelf, make another strong Ply or other wood ones.
You never know what you can stack on them!!

Buy your consumables in bulk and dont be surprised if they eventually cost more then the initial machine purchase.

You can clean the consumables with a abrasive cleaner, (an esential purchase) then later if it gets cloged with resin your pressure cleaner will recover them for another run,

Do a search on drum sanders and all the LJs that have them will have posted their views on how to maximise their productivity.

I use Sisa but any other brand is just as good I would think.
There are other posts showing a velcro conversion, however personally havent bothered as if a belt breaks its operator error or is life expired on the machine, not forgetting a second life is awaiting on sanding blocks.
The only negative aspect from my view is the fact you almost need to be a prostrate examiner to operate the spring retainers!

Yor application is correct as the name implies “Drum Sander” not “Drum Thicknesser”


-- Regards Rob

View therealSteveN's profile


7997 posts in 1686 days

#7 posted 04-28-2018 05:50 PM

I too have a Supermax 19/38 and I love it, as already said very well built, works as it should, and most of all gives me what I bought it for consistently sanded parts consistently, add quick and easy and it is just icing on the cake.

I was confused when OP said something about a stand? Mine came with one, and a Wixey height gauge. I thought mounting the Wixey was more confusing/difficult than the assembly.

I have been getting my paper in rolls from Supergrit

You have to scroll down the left side of topics to “rolls – cloth paper,” there I pick “cloth paper,” and then I scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for 6”. Everything at the bottom is X weight cloth backing, and is the heaviest stuff, and believe me if the backing is good, the sanding is good. I have been using the 6” stuff, but some may want 4” which would be easier to wrap. I’ve been going back and forth between the Aluminum Oxide, and the Zirconia, and so far I’ve really not been able to pick a clear winner, but I’m feeling the Zirconia more on finer grits, and the AO on heavier grits is what I would suggest.

The really course stuff costs more, but I usually start at 60 or 80 which both are a little more, and then get 120, 150, and 220. To tell the truth I use a LOT more 220 than anything else, and go for the 50 yard roll for that, and sometimes get 2 or 3 rolls to keep down the number of purchases. I have a 15” planer, and everything goes through that first. It is a heli head, and I love the finish it leaves me, the sanding is just to decrease the amount of finish sanding with a ROS I need to do, so the 220 is all I usually need.

You will have to cut your lengths off the roll, and I am inside right now, and for cutting I have a piece of plywood with a gator clip at one end. I start under the clip, roll it out, pull it tight and razor knife it off. Anyhow I can’t remember the exact length of the small rolls I cut off the bigger roll, but price wise against the pre-made rolls that SuperGrit sells it is almost free.

Nice enough folks, shipping isn’t super fast, so you will have to plan, but my experience is if they can get it to you the next day, you are somehow paying for that in higher price. With the free S&H and speedy shipping folks cost is also usually inflated somewhere to make that happen. Supergrit goes with a $10.00 flat rate shipping, unless it is very large. When you go to your cart you can see S&H before having to give credit info, which is what I feel marks a dealer as being honest, so many you have to give it all up before they will spill the beans, no fair.

6” cloth backed PSA discs for my Worksharp are 75 cents apiece for 320 grit. Compared to $19.95 for the Worksharp pack of 5 disks it’s a steal. Lot’s of good prices, so far nothing I have gotten has been poor quality, but they have some non cloth backed stuff that is so low it could be junk? I’ve only ever gotten what sounded like quality stuff from them.

-- Think safe, be safe

View HickoryHill's profile


236 posts in 5258 days

#8 posted 02-21-2019 02:19 PM

Well apparently my engineering degree’d brain is failing me. I think the infeed/outfeed table setup is horrible. The two bolts on top and set screws on bottom is horrible. It will never be tight. I got it all lined up and then couldn’t push one of the pins in the drop the table. The one I could drop was not level when I put it back up.

But given my latest track record in the shop, apparently I am just a flat out re-re. #nothavingfunanymore

-- Jim, Michigan

View therealSteveN's profile


7997 posts in 1686 days

#9 posted 02-21-2019 07:51 PM

I had my in/out tables on, and working great in less than 30 minutes. Didn’t time it, but it went quick. Just wondering if yours has been Adjusted by a shipping company? Or possibly a return for good reason that a paid by the part restocker overlooked? I’m not sure how Supermax does theirs? Some tool places don’t do well in that regard…

I don’t specifically remember the nutz and bolts of mine, but using this, it went well.

-- Think safe, be safe

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