What kind of 'BIG' sander do I need?

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Forum topic by robert triplett posted 01-29-2014 04:05 AM 2488 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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robert triplett

1566 posts in 3735 days

01-29-2014 04:05 AM

I have a Performax 16/32 drum sander and have been using it for a few years. I make cutting boards and boxes. I am moving to a bigger shop-3 times my current one- and I am considering getting a bigger sander with more power. I am retiring and have the chance to fix up the new shop to be more productive than the old one. I have most of the tools I need, but is a bigger drum sander like the Grizzly 24” a good idea? Come on, give me some good reasons to go for it!!! Or not. I don’t think I want to go with a wide belt sander, but I have never used one. I do a lot of thickness sanding with highly figured wood and don’t trust my DeWalt 733 planer to do the job. Would a better planer help?

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

14 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4278 days

#1 posted 01-29-2014 04:08 AM

Stroke sander maybe.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6061 posts in 3444 days

#2 posted 01-29-2014 04:11 AM

I think a helical head planer would be worth a look.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View richardwootton's profile


1701 posts in 2586 days

#3 posted 01-29-2014 04:29 AM

I always trust Loren’s opinion when it comes to tool related questions. Dude knows his stuff!

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View rustfever's profile


783 posts in 3941 days

#4 posted 01-29-2014 04:38 AM

I am selling the 30’ stroke sander as it will not fit in my new shop.

Yes, you read that correctly. I sold my building and am spooling down my business. Moving into a much smaller building. The Stoke sand is going, as is the Grizzly morticer and the second Davis Wells horizontal drill. [ Already disposed of the 24”Performax Drum sander, Saftey-Speed panel saw, and hundreds of small tools.]
Make someone a heck of a deal on these last several items!

Sorry, the Lobo 37” belt sander is staying in the new shop. Can’t get along without that one!

-- Rustfever, Central California

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3565 days

#5 posted 01-29-2014 04:39 AM

I honestly don’t see why you need to replace the 16/32 you already have.
Unless you do very wide cutting board of course.
I would still consider how many items I need to sell to recoup the investment.

I must also say that 60% of my tools were purchased just because I wanted one :)

My dewalt 735 planer is doing really well and I do plane some exotics as well.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4278 days

#6 posted 01-29-2014 05:10 AM

You can back bevel the knives on a DW733 too, to get more
of a scraping cut for tricky grain.

Stroke sanders can’t be reliably used for precise thickness
sanding but are much faster than drum sanders
for finish sanding.

View a1Jim's profile


117940 posts in 4208 days

#7 posted 01-29-2014 05:46 AM

I think a helical head planner might help, but won’t replace a good drum sander,if you don’t need to sand anything larger than a cutting board than you really don’t need a wide belt sander. If you have room a stroke sander might just do the job as Loren suggested.


View Boxguy's profile


2868 posts in 2898 days

#8 posted 01-29-2014 06:12 AM

Robert, I like the boxes and cutting boards you have posted they are really nice work. These big tools were major purchases each taking up most of a year’s profits selling boxes. But, I have no regrets. I can now make better boxes in less time and have more fun doing it.

I have had good luck with three big tools for making boxes: Powermatic 15 inch helix head plane, Grizzly cyclone dust collector, Steel city 24 inch dual drum sander.

The Powermatic 15 inch plane with the helix head. Works great with curly grain. You do need a cyclone styled dust collector to keep up with it. I recommend a small sized Grizzly collector with a 6 inch outlet.

The second tool is a Steel City dual drum sander. It is the only one on the market that you can crank down far enough (12 inches) to send a whole box through to re-sand the top or bottom. It also lets you sand the two sides of a cut-off top to get a really perfect fit.

The dual drum sander does not replace sanding with random orbital grits, but it gives you a much nicer place to start. With proper placement and some sliding shut offs, you can service both the sander and the planer from the same collector, but you can only run one at a time and get enough suction. I did put Velcro on my drums and now it is a much better tool.

Between the planer and the dual-drum sander, you can be much more efficient and your work will be really flat.

-- Big Al in IN

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3434 days

#9 posted 01-29-2014 06:49 PM

I agree with what A1Jim said. I have an older 16/32 Performax I acquired from an old friend of mine 2 years ago, and really luv it. I did find out you need to run your boards through about 3-5 times at the same setting before you lower it. It’s much easier on the motor, and it doesn’t seem to heat the motor up as badly.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Boxguy's profile


2868 posts in 2898 days

#10 posted 01-29-2014 08:28 PM

Robert, more info about tools that I recommended. In your new shop include lots of 220 circuits and outlets. All these tools need 220 to run well and should have their own circuit.

I recommend heating a shop with plastic hot water coils set under the concrete floor and powered by a simple water heater and a small circulating pump. Nothing to get clogged up with sawdust. No filters to mess with. Shop is warm. Inexpensive to run, especially if powered by propane or gas.

Planer $2,345 Powermatic

Sander $2,270 Delta. Looks like Steel City has quit carrying this sander, and it is now being carried by Delta. From what I can tell it is the same sander with a better on-off switch (good idea).

Dust Collector $1,869 Grizzly (includes shipping and stand)

Since you are wondering…the total current price for all three new is $6,484 but if you are buying these one each year and are selling lots of boxes for money you need to be a business and have a tax guy to make this number work.

-- Big Al in IN

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3735 days

#11 posted 01-29-2014 11:35 PM

Some good ideas. Thanks. I like the 16/32 drum sander, but it is slow. Maybe I will have more patience when I am no longer using it up everyday with 7 year old boys! I like the idea of a planer with a helical head. I seldom use the 733 except for rough lumber. Boxguy, I appreciate the advice. I have some other improvements to make to the new shop- spray foam insulation and wiring. Maybe enough for some very good tools. I will be between needing to woodworking for income and still being a hobby person when I retire. I could get along with out the money, but not the woodworking. Then I have to sell what I make to keep going. Ira, I will give you a call.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 3595 days

#12 posted 01-30-2014 06:15 PM

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond but been busy. I was in the same dilemma about a year ago and this is what I did. I had a 16/32 and felt restricted by the throat size and width at times. A 22/44 came up on craigslist so I bought it. I am not sorry that I up-sized. Now I don’t have any size problems (even with my large coffee table slabs). At this same time I sold my old 16/32 AND my planner as I dimension all my boards with the sander now. NOW, the problem is, I got the 22/44 Pro model and it has a larger foot print. In my small shop this is a problem but I am dealing with it. Another problem with the 16/32 & 22/44 is that they are both 110 vac and NEED a 20 amp breaker plug in to not cause headaches when placing heavy loads on it.

My suggestion, go for the 22/44 as that will take care of all your needs far into the future and evaluate your need for your planner. When planning some REALLY figured maple my tended to rip out chunks and so I still had to really sand. With the sander, NO RIP OUT. Good luck and happy buying.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3735 days

#13 posted 01-31-2014 12:21 AM

Jim, I have thought about the 22/44, but get enamored of’really big’ tools like a Grizzly 24”drum sander with 2 drums. Thanks fot the advice. I have a few months to decide. Robert

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2899 days

#14 posted 01-31-2014 05:07 AM

i would look for a used newer wide belt on cl

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