The Drum Sander Explained

A drum sander is a powerful machine that can be used to sand wood and plastics. It can be a hand held machine or a large piece of equipment that is used in a variety or woodworking projects or for forming plastics. Drum sander attachments can be placed on a power drill that is then used to sand an object. A large drum sander can be operated like a bench machine employing a variety of drums and sandpaper grits.


In woodworking, the purpose for a drum sander is to perform a large number of sanding chores that can be accomplished quickly and neatly. The drum is either an abrasive material or has abrasive material attached to it. Drum sanders with attachable paper usually have a clamping feature that allows for the quick change of paper to accomplish the need based on the grit, or grade, of the paper. The use of very high speeds allows an operator to accomplish a sanding stage quicker than using other types of sanders. Using a bench type drum sander lets the operator use both hands applying the piece of stock to the drum as opposed to hand held units where the drum is applied to the wood.

Sandpaper Changes

The versatility of the drum sander is evident in the ease of paper change. This allows the operator to change the grade of paper quickly to obtain different results on the same piece of wood, or change paper to suit a sanding need for another piece of wood.

Bench Drum Sander

Most bench type drum sanders are installed on their own stand for stable operation. Many are equipped with a dust containment attachment or some type of dust vacuum feature. This feature not only protects the operator from flying dust and other wood debris, but also helps reduce dust dirt that needs to be cleaned from the machine. There are three distinct factors to consider when buying a shop style drum sander: the frequency you will use the tool; the types of material you will sand and where you plan to locate the machine. Typically, you will need a minimum of two feet around the machine for a safe operation.

How Much to Spend

How much you use the drum sander will have a direct impact on what quality machine you should buy. If you, as an avid woodworker, believe that a shop styled drum sander is an invaluable tool, determine what percentage of your woodworking projects will employ the drum sander. If it is less than 20 percent, purchase one of the many high-quality home workshop models. But, if you plan to use the machine more than 25 percent or more than 50 percent, consider a professional level machine even if it is for your garage workshop. The constant use, versatility and durability of a professional grade drum sander will not disappoint the woodworker who puts it to constant use.

Check out sources for both new and used drum sanders online at Do-It-Yourself.