New Supermax 19-38 drum sander on the way. What grits do you guys use?

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Forum topic by ScottKaye posted 11-08-2013 01:22 PM 12295 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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788 posts in 2929 days

11-08-2013 01:22 PM

As the title suggests, my new Supermax 19-38 will be delivered in a few hours. It will show up with 80 grit paper already installed on the drum. My question to you guys is what grits do you find useful on your drum sanders?
I’ve had experience using a Jet 22-44 at my friends shop and that was a big enough push to convince me I needed one for mine. I believe he had 80 or 100 grit loaded on his drum. We never went to a higher grit which still created several hours of random orbit sanding. I was thinking that we could have at least cut in half the time spent using ROS’s if we had gone through 120 then 150 or even beyond. I know that as you climb through the grits, you will need to take shallower and slower passes to prevent burning of the wood and gumming of the paper. Also I understand that you start random orbit sanding with the last grit you used on the drum sander to get rid of the scratches the drum sander creates in the wood. Can one achieve an almost ready to finish piece of wood using a drum sander?

By the way, my friend showed me a method called trace coating made famous by Charles Niel in which you use an alcohol based dye that dries fast after the wood comes out of the drum sander and prior to using a ROS. The idea here is the light coat of dye provides a roadmap for you to sand with your ROS. It sits on the “hills and valleys” caused by the scratching of the drum sander. As you sand the wood with the ROS it takes away the “hills” first and shows you how much more sanding is needed until you the valleys disappear and that’s when you are done. Its quite affective, though very time consuming if you last used 80/120 grit on your drum sander.

Also do any of you use a coarser grit paper than 80 grit for faster stock removal (i know its not a planer!) and glue removal? I’m interested to hear what you guys that have drums sanders have to say. I’ll do a full review of the 19-38 after I’ve used it for a while!



-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

32 replies so far

View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

646 posts in 3667 days

#1 posted 11-08-2013 02:33 PM

Honestly Scott I tend to leave 80 grit in my sander pretty much all the time. I find even if I have a very nice show piece that’s going to be visible and I run it through the sander it tends to get some imperfections from the sanding, especially things like snipe. If your pieces are too long sometimes when you run them through the sender it will stop during the feeding process and create a divot in your wood. Learn that the hard way. I mainly use it just for rough sanding to remove glue on joints and endgrain cutting boards, things of that nature, and maybe just to finesse the thickness if I need to. Besides, the main huge reason I don’t change my paper out very often is because it is a hassle. Would much rather use an ROS to get my wood looking the way I want. Having a drum sander in your shop is a great asset and luxury. But it will not replace fine sanding. It’s my two cents on it anyway. Hope you get more responses and the answer you are looking for. Have a great day man.

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

View ScottKaye's profile


788 posts in 2929 days

#2 posted 11-08-2013 03:17 PM

Thanks for the reply Drew!
I read all the horror stories associated with Delta and Grizzly machines about paper changing, paper stretching and conveyor belt tracking. Thats the beauty of and one of the main reasons I bought the Supermax. Easy paper changes as in 5mins or less! Also, its super easy to adjust the belt tracking and paper stretching is pretty much a non issue with the Supermax and their patented spring clamping system which keeps the paper tight against the drum. So having said that, and if the above were non issues for you as well, would you consider going up in grit if it werent such a hassle?


-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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788 posts in 2929 days

#3 posted 11-08-2013 03:19 PM

By the way, when did you change your Video schedule to Saturdays? No wonder I didnt see on from you on Monday! Hope the change helps you logistically!


-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

646 posts in 3667 days

#4 posted 11-08-2013 03:24 PM

If it weren’t such a hassle like mine is then yes. Convenience is always great to have on any tool.

Actually I didn’t change to Saturday. My last vid was my Halloween video. I had to take a by week due to chores around the house that needed to be done. Could not get out in shop all week last week. Actually I haven’t got in the shop at all this week. Still trying to prep for winter. I will, however, be finishing the cabinet this weekend. I really need it for a roll around kitchen island that I need to do for commission.

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

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Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

646 posts in 3667 days

#5 posted 11-08-2013 03:26 PM

I think the most that I would take it up though is to 120 grit. I would still use an ROS at 180 or 220 grit to finesse the look

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

View Julian's profile


1618 posts in 3666 days

#6 posted 11-08-2013 03:47 PM

I have a Supermax 37×2 drum sander. I use 100 grit paper on both drums. I use this machine sometimes to help flatten pieces for glue up or just to help start the sanding process. I do the final sanding with either a small hand held sander or by hand. Changing the paper takes me more than 5 minutes in order to get it tight. I always clean up the paper after every use to make the sandpaper last longer. I never use it to clean off dried glue. The glue will definitely gum up the paper and cause burn marks. These drum sanders are also great to help flatten out highly figured grain that would tear out in the planer. My machine is a little different than the one you purchased but thought I would share my thoughts.

-- Julian

View Tim78's profile


16 posts in 3553 days

#7 posted 11-08-2013 11:20 PM

I use 80 and 120. I typically leave the 120 in to remove remaining snipe and chip-out from DeWalt 13 inch planer. I love my 19×38. I have never been successful in getting it truly flat. My brother has the 37×2 about 100 miles away. When necessary, for a really flat surface, he helps me out. I spent several hours using the 80 grit to get to thickness one weekend. Waste of time. Planer does such a great job of getting close. I tend to use Hard Maple. The planer likes to chip it out when the grain is not even. The sander cleans it up. My two cents.

View Bill7255's profile


428 posts in 3261 days

#8 posted 11-08-2013 11:58 PM

I have then19-38 Supermax and really like it. I generally leave 120 grit on the drum. I have experimented with other grits, but find the 120 is a good compromise. Once out of the sander I use the ROS starting 150, the 180 and finishing with 220. Doesn’t seem to take me much time to get through the grits. Maybe because I am using the Abranet sandpaper with the Cero sander that I also really like

-- Bill R

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3963 days

#9 posted 11-09-2013 12:05 AM

I run 60 and 80 girt on my big grizzly dual drum sander. I run 120 on a small laguna drum sander.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3666 days

#10 posted 11-09-2013 03:00 AM

Believe it or not I really like 24 and 50 grit paper for thicknessing wild figure that would chip out in the planer. These grits are also great for removing paint and grunge from reclaimed wood (not to mention the 50 year accumulation of bird crap on my dad’s old barn wood).

My daughter really liked the 24 grit look and we used it on all the woodwork in her clinic. It has a weathered texture.

On the other end, I don’t use finer than 120 as it just loads up/burns too easily.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1146 posts in 4041 days

#11 posted 11-09-2013 05:08 AM

I just use 80 grit. If I were running a large job through I would probably bother with going to 120 grit (but not beyond that, as I have had burning problems with 150), but for the small jobs that I am running through (normally just an end grain cutting board or two) I don’t feel that it is worth the hassle of switching grits. I just go straight to a ROS with 80 grit, then move through the grits from there.

-- Paul Mayer,

View skipj's profile


97 posts in 3248 days

#12 posted 11-09-2013 02:40 PM

I love my super max. I did 9 kitchens in the last 11 months. 90 % using maple. I mill all my stock and then run all of it through the super max, 2 light passes with 80 grit takes care of the plainer snip, 1 pass 120 grit then 2 really LIGHT passes 180 grit. After assembling everything I go to 220 on ROS. What I mean by LIGHT passes is the drum is just thouching the wood anything more it will burn. I change paper under 2 min. with 120 sec. my best time.
A side note. Once you burn 180 grit paper its not much good any more.

View ScottKaye's profile


788 posts in 2929 days

#13 posted 11-09-2013 03:06 PM

Thanks for all of your comments. From what Ive been able to take way from you guys is that I should start with a roll of 80 and a roll of 120. If my calculations are correct I should be able to get 17 wraps from each roll at 52 yards per roll which should last me a good while. I think I will also get a 35’ roll of 36 or 50 as well as a 35’ ft roll of 150 to see how they do. Industrial abrasives seems to have good prices.


-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View moke's profile


1655 posts in 3752 days

#14 posted 11-11-2013 06:52 PM

I think Supermax has a three pack of varying grits….I bought one of these to experiment, but have settled in on 120. I and my nieghbors make some segmented bowls and that is perfect for a glue-up, and works well for the other projects too. I did use some 36 grit to take a cup out of a thick board….. it took forever but worked was too wide for my jointer.

I have never bought a roll of abrasive, but that looks like the best idea.

-- Mike

View JimRochester's profile


575 posts in 2590 days

#15 posted 04-02-2017 12:01 PM

I thought I would bump this thread because I just upgraded (hopefully) from a JET 16-32 to the Supermax 19-38 and the guy at Rockler was asking what grit I used.

I won’t run through the grits like I do with the RAS. I will however only use as course as I need to get the job done. Then I’ll load the finest I have like a 220 and make a few passes. The lines will still be there, but the deep grooves will not. It will feel smooth to the touch so all my RAS has to do is get rid of the lines. Usually I can start with 150 or 180 and a few minutes of sanding I’m golden. Cuts the sanding time dramatically.

-- Schooled in the advanced art of sawdust and woodchip manufacturing.

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