Comments on Delta 18/36 Drum Sander

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Forum topic by Stargazer posted 05-14-2010 03:27 PM 4654 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Stargazer's profile


49 posts in 3209 days

05-14-2010 03:27 PM

I bought one of these sanders after reading less than favorable reviews, but I figured if I took my time I could make it work. And it was the only one I could afford.

At first everything I tried to sand turned out to be a disaster. The conveyor would stall and ruin the piece, the paper would clog and burn the wood (delightful smell), and forget trying to run a piece wider than 18 inches. I couldn’t believe Delta put out something like this.

The more I’ve used this sander the more familar I’ve become with it, learning it’s little quirks and what it can and can’t do. I can now turn out some good work with it albeit a very slow machine.

I spent some time leveling and adjusting the table, had to bypass the conveyor motor reset switch after I finally wore it out and now it seems to do OK on wider panels. The key is low and slow when sanding wide work.

As for the wood burning problem, I figured out that the hollow sanding drum will eventually become loaded with dust. This dust acts like an insulator and does not allow the drum to cool properly, thus burning the wood and ruining an expensive piece of sandpaper. So now I frequently shut the sander down and blow the dust out of the drum and haven’t burnt a piece since.

I still would not recommend it for a production shop, just too slow. I am now eyeing a 26” Shop Fox dual drum sander, about $2K. I’m saving up for one now, only $1999.00 to go.

Pensacola, FL

5 replies so far

View 2Sand's profile


11 posts in 3204 days

#1 posted 05-14-2010 04:06 PM


Be cautious about dual drum sanders. Setting the second drum properly is tedious, and the offset between the two drums changes with each grit change. Essentially, the first drum removes some thickness from the panel, and the second drum has to account for that removal if it is to contact the panel face properly.

Watch the used marketplace. Woodmaster makes a great 50” drum sander that is about $3,000.00 new, so you can likely find it in your budget if you are careful. The hook and loop method of holding the paper allows for quick changing, and since MOST of your sanding will be less than 25” wide, you can actually run 2 grits on the same drum and switch between sides of the sander. When you need wider, just swap out the paper on the drum.


-- Fast, Fair, Superior Sanding Supplies

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3436 days

#2 posted 05-14-2010 05:29 PM

I have the same sander, Delta…
It was a step ahead of nothing.
Now I am looking for a drum sander with capabilities of over 20 inches but under 36.
Space is important and so is having enough HP to clean up my lumber.

Something will show up eventually. Until then the delta will have to do.

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4161 days

#3 posted 05-14-2010 06:16 PM

That’s interesting. I have a Jet and I have never had the problems you described. The only time I get a little burning is with highly figured maple, but a second pass through without changing the height removes any burn marks. I seldom have to clean the sanding belt and have never experienced a conveyor stall. I thought all drum sanders were pretty much the same, but I guess not.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Stargazer's profile


49 posts in 3209 days

#4 posted 05-18-2010 03:27 PM

Stroke sanders have their place but for sanding wide, glued up cabinet door panels a drum or wide belt sander is needed. These panels MUST be completely flat and uniform before they’re millled on the shaper. There’s really no way a stroke sander can economically do that IMHO.

I’ve looked at and wondered about the Woodmaster line. It is the hoop and loop sandpaper idea that I didn’t like. Seems like the sandpaper would eventually bunch up on the “downwind” end of the drum. Maybe others can comment on this. Their machines look good quality. Great idea about the different grits on a single drum.


View a1Jim's profile


117468 posts in 3846 days

#5 posted 05-31-2010 11:58 PM

I bought a delta as my first sander the first piece I tried to sand stoped the conver belt. I looked underneath an found it had a 1/4 rubber belt that drove the sander thats when I loaded it back on my truck and returned it.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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