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Forum topic by rockus posted 07-02-2018 11:11 PM 938 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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rockus

9 posts in 880 days


07-02-2018 11:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine sander

Recently I have been blessed with quite a few local orders for various furniture projects that I like to make, including cedar adirondack chairs and some inexpensive children’s furniture made from construction lumber. I need to try to speed up my production to handle the volume and keep my turn times reasonable. I would say that 60-70% of my time is currently spent sanding.

My first thought was to purchase a drum sander. However, none of this stuff makes me very much profit, so I don’t want to spend a ton on speeding up its production and end up in the red for the next year. Besides that, I don’t anticipate needing a thickness sander, just something that will help me get to a finished surface quicker. I have considered purchasing a Jet 10-20 drum sander that I found used for $400. I have also considered building a drum sander based on Stumpy Nubs’ plans (probably still close to $400 as well as a LOT of time), or using my lathe as a drum sander like in this video (by far the least expensive solution, but probably not all that reliable):

https://youtu.be/gWR06B27p7E

After searching around on LumberJocks, I also found a good many threads as well as some YouTube links for shop-made v-drum sanders. This got me excited until I noticed a comment that it is difficult to use a v-drum sander consistently on long boards. There are MANY boards in these projects that are in the 36” range, and quite a few that are longer than that, up to 80”.

After thinking about this for some time now, I have come up with a hypothetical question that gets to the crux of my situation, and am very interested in how you all might approach it:

How would you go about finish sanding 100 construction-grade 2×4s if you needed to get it done quickly, and without spending more than $500?

Maybe the v-drum sander will be fine for what I need it for? Maybe a shop-made drum sander is the only way to stay under the $500 and still get what I need?


21 replies so far

View LesB's profile

LesB

2126 posts in 3862 days


#1 posted 07-03-2018 12:04 AM

The fastest way to a smooth finish on the type of surfaces you are describing is with a planer. One of the table top variety would work fine just making light passes. You will probably have more use for a planer in the future than a drum sander so think of it as a long time purchase and if you expect to use rough wood in the future I’m sure it will eventually pay for itself and you might want to consider a bigger planer.

-- Les B, Oregon

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1864 posts in 2736 days


#2 posted 07-03-2018 12:06 AM

If thickness sanding isn’t important, then the drum sander is probably not the best option. It’s not as fast as a wide belt sander and you’ll still need to sand off the drum marks.

A Rotex is nice, fast and easy to handle but it’s more than $500. On the budget you’re on, I’d choose a belt sander or perhaps an inline air sander assuming a large compressor was on hand. Both work quickly but do require some experience to use well – especially the belt sander.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

874 posts in 3741 days


#3 posted 07-03-2018 12:28 AM

A flap sander will significantly reduce the time spent on the rounded edges.

View rockus's profile

rockus

9 posts in 880 days


#4 posted 07-03-2018 01:26 AM

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I do have a benchtop DeWalt thickness planer that I like a great deal. I have trouble getting nice surfaces on construction grade lumber, though, since it tends to be pretty knotty with gnarly grain to boot.

The Rotex did catch my eye. I might end up going this route just because of its versatility, although it is more than I had hoped to pay.

JAAune – when you say wide belt sander, are you referring to a larger handheld belt sander? When I search for “wide belt sander” on google, I’m getting big commercial machines that are way up in the thousands.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7405 posts in 2618 days


#5 posted 07-03-2018 01:35 AM

There is alway the DIY route – got a treadmill? :)
(This guy has a nice setup with dual grit belts)

Cheers,
Brad

PS: I’ve got 6 treadmills for free in the last 2 years…

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1864 posts in 2736 days


#6 posted 07-03-2018 01:37 AM

I did mean the commercial wide belt machines but I only brought them up to highlight a shortcoming of drum sanders. Both types of machines do a good job of evenly sanding boards. But drum sanders are much, much slower and not really geared towards production so don’t expect speed from one. If perfect thickness isn’t necessary, I’d take a handheld belt sander or a 6” Rotex (5” isn’t as fast) over the drum sander.

If you want a big, unwieldy machine to sand quickly, you might find a used stroke sander for $500 on Craigslist. I’ve been wanting one but can’t justify the floor space for one yet.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1864 posts in 2736 days


#7 posted 07-03-2018 01:43 AM

There is the Bosch version of the Rotex. I’ve not used it so I can’t personally vouch for it but you may find the reviews worth reading. It’s about half the cost.

Dual mode sander

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1273 posts in 914 days


#8 posted 07-03-2018 02:06 AM

You could outsource the sanding to a commercial shop with a wide belt for a few hundred. Takes up zero additional floor space and you can be doing something else meanwhile.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Clarkswoodworking's profile

Clarkswoodworking

289 posts in 553 days


#9 posted 07-03-2018 05:24 AM



You could outsource the sanding to a commercial shop with a wide belt for a few hundred. Takes up zero additional floor space and you can be doing something else meanwhile.

- TungOil

That’s what I do !
Scott

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12842 posts in 2799 days


#10 posted 07-03-2018 06:47 AM

You may be over-sanding. Use better quality lumber and spend more time laying out pieces and you should get a decent surface from a planer, hit with 150 or 180 grit, then a finish, should be good. Construction lumber will have lots of knots which means frequent grain direction changes + softwood = lots of tearout = lots of sanding. You may find the labor savings of using better lumber balances out the increase in material cost.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View bd1886's profile

bd1886

34 posts in 382 days


#11 posted 07-03-2018 07:40 AM

The only area I may be able to contribute in this is hand held sanders and abrasives. Some major change ups (that have helped me) have been switching to air tools, automotive/marinegrade abrasives and the proper hardness of pads for the sanders. (Sanding lumber grade wood has challenges and a hard PSA pad helps significantly.)
The other main area is abrasive choice….and finishing boat interiors….put me right in the middle of shops where sanding hulls met with sanding interior finishes in this constant “air driven hum” of hell! But? Learned a lot because of such a huge diversity in materials bring shaped and formed.
Anyways, using hand sanders most likely will always be a part of most work and maxing that out (right along side power planing/sanding equipment solutions) can only be good.

I’m with you…..sanding sucks! (....and thankfully just flat “is perfect” for a lot of projects.)

View rockus's profile

rockus

9 posts in 880 days


#12 posted 07-03-2018 01:10 PM

I’m pretty sure I will end up going the Rotex route. After watching a few videos on them, it looks like a purchase I will be glad I made for a long time. I’ve seen these in Woodcraft before, but I thought they were just really expensive ROS’s.


There is alway the DIY route – got a treadmill? :)
(This guy has a nice setup with dual grit belts)

Cheers,
Brad

PS: I ve got 6 treadmills for free in the last 2 years…

- MrUnix

I love this sort of thing. I may end up doing something like this in the future just for the fun of it.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8674 posts in 2996 days


#13 posted 07-03-2018 01:58 PM

RAS115 – Grinder type “sander” removes imperfections quickly. 360.00

RO 150 – This will remove the RAS115 swirls. 620.00

150-5. – The ROS will make it presentable. 380.00
http://www.bobmarinosbesttools.com/sanding/c/1010/ipp/5000/sb/0/action/showall/

This will to the job efficiently but it’s over budget. It’s difficult to do the job quickly and inexpensively
but I wish you luck in your endeavors.

The Bosch mentioned above may be worth your time as the reviews suggest it’s of value.

So if you have a

Grinder
Bosch ” Rotex”
ROS

That will get you where you need to be. Good luck now

View Robert's profile

Robert

3436 posts in 1900 days


#14 posted 07-03-2018 02:22 PM

Sorry, I don’t think spending $600 for a hand sander is the solution for what you need to do ???? Keep in mind you’ll need dust collection for it.

I would buy that used drum sander, or find a commercial shop to run them for you.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

524 posts in 2151 days


#15 posted 07-03-2018 02:23 PM

+1 for the thickness planer. I get a very good quality finish off my planer when using sharp knives and construction grade lumber. Take light cuts.

Another option might be a hand plane. I can get a better finish off the smoothing plane than I can ever get with sandpaper.

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