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  • Thickness Planer or Drum Sander?

    Having recently purchased a bandsaw for resawing purposes I'm looking for suggestions on making life easier once the lumber is cut. Even though I went and got a 1/2" Timberwolf blade there is still quite a bit of sanding to do, especially when I'm doing it with a pad sander and a random orbit sander. I've been looking at the Dewalt three blade planer as well as the DIY sanding drum kit from Stockroom Supply as options but not sure which way to go as it will be a while before I could get both (still not sure if there both needed anyway).

    I'm looking for sugesstions, if you could only get one for a while which would it be? I have been to other sites but many focus on furniture building and their needs are slightly different. As a scroller which would you get first and why?

    Thanks,

    Don
    Don

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
    Benjamin Franklin

    At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.
    Benjamin Franklin

    A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.
    Benjamin Franklin

    www.dogwoodstudiosnh.com

  • #2
    Gosh, that's a tough choice. Is the drum sander the type that you can use for thicknessing? If so, I'd probably go for it since you have the re-saw capabilities.

    I'm doing some re-sawing as well and I find I'm still learning about blade drift.
    "Still Montana Mike"

    "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
    Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC

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    • #3
      Depending on how flat you are able to achieve with the band saw to resaw, a v-drum sander like stockroom supply should be enough. The sandflee is a v-drum sander that is commercially available.

      I made my v-drum in the shop and was under $125 when done. That included used motor, with new pillow blocks and shaft. MDF for the drum and melamine for box were left over from another project. Stockroom supply has some downloadable PDF of the general plan and there are a lot of shop made version ideas if you Google v-drum sander.

      The big thing a planer does for you is make the two sides parallel. Since my band saw can only resaw 4.5" width boards, I resaw 7" boards on my table saw and only need to use v-drum afterwards. So, if your band saw is set right a v-drum should be all you need. I have a 13" planer, but don't use it for this type work.

      Think about what tolerance of parallel you need and never forget about planer snipe.

      Steve.
      Steve.
      EX-16, DW-788, Dremel 1680

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      • #4
        I use a 4 inch belt sander with 80 grit then a palm sander with finer grit for making plaques or signs etc.You didn't mention how wide a board your using.John aka qlty

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        • #5
          qlty makes a good point. When the 3-blade planer was mentioned I assumed you were talking about wider boards. My v-drum is set up for 22" width. For narrower width boards that will fit on a belt sander, it gets very inexpensive. You can get a 4" from HF for under $80 if you watch the sales (or get coupon from back of Wood magazine to save more). Supergrit.com sells the belts all the way to 320 grit. Although HF has cheap belts they have a very noticeable bump that you won't get with better brand.

          Steve.
          Steve.
          EX-16, DW-788, Dremel 1680

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          • #6
            My first choice would be the Dewalt 735 13 inch planer. It does an excelent job down to 1/8" thickness and the pieces need to be at least 12" long. You do have to pay attention to grain direction with the thin wood so that it doesn't chunk out. It cleans up the bandsaw surface quickly and leaves an excelent finish. If you will need wood less than 1/8 you will need to go with the drum sander. Some people use sleds etc. to do thin wood, I am not that brave.
            I would like to add the drum sander to my colleection at some point because I hate sanding.
            Rolf
            RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
            Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
            Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
            And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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            • #7
              Thanks guys. I'm still working out the drift on the bandsaw myself and will be able to tackle this a little better once I get the proper fence; tried a cheap craftsman fence and returned it within 2 days.

              For clarification I'm looking to surface the material mainly and achieve flat sides for puzzles, signs, bowls etc. the edges will only matter if I end up gluing up to make wider boards. I would be doing a mixture of thicknesses from veneers for bookmarks to 1/2" and 3/4" stock for puzzles and various projects. I am also looking for the flexibility of wider boards as I'm looking at some ideas that would use either a built up or solid piece in the 8-12" range and that would need to be flat on both the front and back faces. Am I asking to much from one tool or is one of these sufficient and if so which one?

              Thanks again,

              Don
              Don

              An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
              Benjamin Franklin

              At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.
              Benjamin Franklin

              A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.
              Benjamin Franklin

              www.dogwoodstudiosnh.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I believe the Dewalt 735 planer, is the only planer on the market that actually has settings on it to plane down to 1/8". Also, it's a 2 speed planer. Word of warning though....using the slow speed for some reason dulls your blades very quickly, and I've heard this from many.
                WWW.ThinBoards.com

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                • #9
                  My opinion is, it all depends on how much of a mess you want to make.
                  Whenever i use the planer it gets hauled outside....that sucker is a mess maker big time.
                  I built a V-drum sander from Stockroom supply and use it all the time. It does not thickness your wood per say, unless you want to keep measuring the wood, as you use it. You can use it on solid boards, and fretwork too, and anything else you may want to sand flat.
                  My opinion and I'm sticking to it.
                  Gloria ............... Two memorable things to say in life, "Hello" for the first time, and "Good-bye" for the last.

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                  • #10
                    I use a planer, but I also would like to have a sander

                    Bob
                    Delta P-20 & Q-3

                    I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!

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                    • #11
                      If you are going to buy a used planer be aware of the end snipe at both ends .
                      You'll waste a lot of wood .

                      One way to save the board is tack a couple of sacrificial pieces of wood with a glue gun on either side , sticking out a couple of inches at each end .

                      Newer ones have a handle on the side to prevent this although I have not tried one .

                      Roger

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                      • #12
                        I like a drum sander to finish off re-sawn wood. It gives an even thickness, and even though the one in the community shop is regularly abused, I try to get to it before someone gunks up the paper on the drum. If I had room in my garage for one more tool, that would be the one I'd go with. If only I didn't need to keep the car in the garage . . . .
                        Carole

                        Follow me on my blog: www.scrollsawbowls.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wooddog,
                          You need to connect a dust collector to that puppy.
                          Especially the Dewalt as it has a serious blower built in. My hose came off once in the middle of a job the shop was burried in an instant. But the sander should also be connected to a dust collector.
                          Rolf
                          RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                          Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                          Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                          And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Keep in mind that the v-drum types from Stockroom Supply and Sandflee are not meant for reducing the thickness of the wood. They can, but extremely slowly. The hook and loop sand paper simply rise and touch the wood. You also need to keep steady movement on the piece being sanded or a ridge (snipe) can happen. I've not used a thickness sander personally, but think the v-drums are more friendly to the surface than a true thickness sander or planer. Especially fret work is safer with v-drum than the thickness or planer options.

                            Steve.
                            Steve.
                            EX-16, DW-788, Dremel 1680

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Generally speaking, drum sanders and planers are meant to compliment each other, not necessarily do the same job. Ideally one would use a planer to dimension resawn wood right off the bandsaw, then move to the sander to remove the machine marks from the planer, while keeping the thickness consistent.

                              That said, I have a planer and if I could only have one, I'd stick with the planer. I think it's just a lot more versatile. If my resawn boards come off the bandsaw a little inconsistent in thickness, the planer is the right tool to fix that up. When starting with rough sawn lumber, I always plane it first so that I have flat surfaces and consistent thickness, before I resaw (don't have a jointer either). I couldn't imagine having to do that with a drum sander, unless one had a big commercial unit like the TimeSaver Norm Abrams had in the New Yankee Workshop.

                              IMHO, where the drum sander excells is in cleaning up those planer marks, saving a lot of hand sanding and on wider panels that can't fit in the planer. I made a couple end grain cutting boards that would have been a lot easier to smooth out had I had a drum sander.
                              Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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