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I recently bought a drum sander and it's great, but I keep getting burn marks on the sandpaper. I have figured out that they can be avoided by taking lighter passes, and running the conveyor belt at slower speeds. OK, but even when I think I'm being extremely careful they still pop up when I'm not expecting it. The worst part of it is that once the burn mark is there, it makes an ugly, black, deep gouge in whatever I try to run through the sander after that point. So I have two questions- are there any other secrets to avoiding these burn marks, and once you have one is there any way to remove it? For example, could I scrub it with a solvent or something? I'm going through sandpaper faster than I can afford it so someone please help me out!
 

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One, use the right grit sandpaper; Don't start too fine. Two, don't take too big a bite. Take lighter paSSES.
Three, clean your drums often with a gum rubber pad. Four, get feed and speed right. Some woods, as you know are prone to burning. On them sometimes you have to take lighter pass, but take them FASTER to keep from overheating by sitting in one spot too long. As to removing the scars, sanding (hand), scraping (hand); you get the idea. Avoidence is the key. I think.

Steve
 

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From using my drum sander, I'd have to agree with the above comments:

-Use the correct feed speed. I actually found that faster is better, as the wood is in contact with the paper for a shorter period of time, thus less heat is generated at one particular point. I was getting some slight burn marks on maple right out of the shoot, so I sped the conveyor speed up and that solved the problem. You definitely have to take lighter passes with a faster feed rate speed though.
-Keep the paper clean and use the rubber eraser/gum stick/whatever you want to call it to keep the paper on the drum clean. Raise the lid and clean it off after every few passes, depending on the wood, how big the piece is, etc. This will also help the paper last longer.
-Wood such as pine will gum the paper up in a hurry, sometimes after 1-pass.
-Take light passes, going no more than 1/8-turn on the handle at a time. If you're using a finer grit paper, such as 220-grit, you'll likely be better off going 1/16-turn.
-I have not found any "easy" way to remove burn marks/built-up pitch from the paper, maybe somebody else has found a solution?
 

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What type of wood are you running through your sander? As others have stated, light passes & feed speed are extremely important but some hard woods just will not go through without burning or gumming up the paper.
I have a difficult time sanding hard woods and oily woods such as cocobolo & bloodwood…while other hardwoods sand just fine.
Some softwoods such as pine and sinkeer cypress gum up quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have mostly been running walnut and rosewood lately. I never thought about actually speeding the conveyor belt up, I'll try that! I'll also try soaking a belt in Simple Green- I will be completely stoked if that works! Has anyone tried that? Sometimes the belt will be completely fine except for one slim burn mark, and yet it's rendered useless- so frustrating!
 

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You could try what bently said above. It should clean the belt. And definitely get a rubber cleaning stick to keep the paper clean when in use…..

Now, for the answer I really wanted to give you, is the one thing that stopped this with me is I started to use good paper. As soon as I stopped using the jet paper, and switched to deerfos, never a burn again!

It's also cheaper than buying the pre-cut rolls and last longer too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Childress, that's a great tip- so do you have to cut those yourself? Is it rather painless? It looks like the rolls are about $17 each- is this correct? That's quite a bit more than what I've been paying (I've been paying about $6/roll) but if they don't burn then I guess it's worth it.
 

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Peter - not sure if this was already covered or not, but keep that sandpaper tight to the drum - if it overlaps even slightly - it will burn instantly.

Have to defineately agree with Childress on buying the good paper - I was fortunate to find bulk rolls of 3M Regalite (I think) on Craigslist and this paper NEVER burns and doesn't load up. It is really amazing stuff.

I cut my own strips and for me the price and performance is worth it….........

Jeff
 

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Looks like you answered your own question Pete. What does the word "cheap" have in common with the word "quality". I have found that i tend to get just what i pay for and whenever i try to go cheap i end up paying more in the end. I have never had burn marks from our drum sander. Two things i do, buy good quality paper that is hook and loop, take roughly 1/12 turns for very light passes
 

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Pete
Light passes…the lighter the grit the lighter the pass…
The slower the speed = more heat = more burn
hard woods lighter passes
use the belt erasedr frequently….

dry wood helps is your stock kiln dried?

Enjoy your toy..I got mine 2 months ago it is great…You'll get the hang of it.
 

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check your rollers to make sure there is no marks on them …hollows will leave a rasied mark on your job and high points will burn… coarser paper to get to required thickness and the a fast pass with a finer grit to finish.
we mostly put treated pine through oursand for that we use 120. sometimes we have to run kwila,vitex or american white oak which i tend to hit with 80 and then a pass with 120….no problems. our native timbers burn something wicked(rimu and matai) so i only take .10 of a mm a pass for that as has been said earlier speed feed versus cut is everything.
 

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My Jet 22-44 OSC started to leave some burn marks on me. I looked at my sandpaper and I guess I didnt had it tight enough on the drum. Itghtened up my paper and the problem went away.
Mine was totally operator error!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I usually use my drum sander to flatten a panel after gluing up multiple boards- I use 24 grit for this. Do you guys recommending going from 24 to 60, then 100, 150, and finally 220, or can I skip some of those? It seems like I can go from 24 to 80 if I take lighter passes and more of them, then go from 80 to 150 and, again, take many light passes. Which approach is more time efficient in your experience, many passes with few grits, or many grits and less passes? I'm getting ready to order a bunch of paper and I want to get the order right. Let me know, thanks!
 

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Peter5,

It'll work either way, you'll just have to make more passes for each grit you skip, compared to working up through the grits consecutively. I think it depends on how big of a batch of wood you're running at a time. It usually only takes me a couple of minutes to change between grits. Figure that 2-3 minutes is several passes for something not overly long to go through the drum sander. But then you'll also need to clean the paper more too, which adds a little more time.

I'd say if you're running a batch of something that's all the same thickness through the drum sander, it'd be more efficient time-wise to work through the grits, rather than skipping grits.

For instance, if you have 3-of something (cutting board, panel, whatever) that are all the same thickness, it's still going to take you the same amount of time to change the paper, whether you're running one panel through the sander, or ten panels through the sander. If you skip grits on 10-panels though, it's going to take a lot longer since you'll be making lots of extra passes. Hope this makes sense.

A numerical example would be the following:

Not skipping grits, you make 2-passes on each grit: 24-60-100-150-220 = 10-passes.
Skipping grits means extra passes on each consecutive grit, but only 2-passes on 24-grit since you're starting there: 2-passes on 24-grit, plus 5-6-passes on 100-grit, plus 5-6-passes on 220-grit = 12-14-passes.

I have not performed this experiment on my drum sander, but I know when handsanding or using my ROS, it definitely takes a lot longer when I skip grits, compared to just working up through the grits, which is what I've based the above example on.

This is not necessarily an exact representation of the number of passes, just an example to show that it'll likely take you more passes by skipping grits, plus a little more cleaning of the drum paper with your eraser.
 

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Peter, I don't own a drum sander and have never used one but I do find them interesting. I have read several threads on LJ about drum sanders and the one thing that has really stuck in my mind is a comment one of the other guys gave as advice. He said, "remember that this is a SANDER and not a planer." Just a thought. Lighten up on the amount you are trying to remove.
 

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Grandpa,

That's a good point. I tend to not use my drum sander as a planer. Unfortunately, I don't yet have a planer, and am currently on the hunt for one. I've used my drum sander as a thickness sander before, but it takes forever! I've been able to remove about 1/32" or a little more at a time on soft woods like poplar, using a very coarse grit of paper. Any more than that and I'm asking for trouble. And hardwoods, forget it beyond 3/128". It works in a pinch, if need be, but certainly has it's limitations.
 

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Re: cleaning burn marks off the paper. I spray my burned area with simple green, scrub with a brass brush, repeat until clean. A PITA but it will salvage paper.
 
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