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Thread: Drum sander abrasive loading up

  1. #1
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    Feb 2010
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    Default Drum sander abrasive loading up

    I recently changed the abrasive on my drum sander after getting a lot of mileage from the 80 grit that had been on for quite some time. Just a few passes with some spruce that was salvaged from an old piano and I have the mess that you see in the pictures below. This is the first spruce that I've worked with. Is this common? Is spruce so resinous that it loads up this quickly? Are there any tricks to keep this from happening so quickly? I have adequate dust collection and haven't had this problem before now.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Take less off at a time, feed slower, can you slow down the drum speed? There are sprays that can extend sanding paper life: http://microfence.com/dynaglide-lube...onsb-p-81.html In fact I need to get some!. Use 60 or even 40 grit for abrasive planing, then switch to finer grits for surface quality; we just switched to 60 grit from 80 on our wide belt sander and it was a good move. Resinous woods are hell no matter what.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your thoughts, Rick. Yep...I can slow down the drum speed and I'll give that a try. This drum sander is rigged up on an old Shopsmith, so slowing it down is no problem. I don't have this problem with the western red cedar which I thought would be as resinous as the spruce.

  4. #4
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    If you can, get some good dust collection set up so you're not sanding built up sawdust.

  5. #5

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    80 grit isn't too fine for spruce. Feed it at different sightly diagonal angle helps, and you can still feed it multiple passes at each depth.

  6. #6
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    OK so maybe I'm a bit of a neanderthal but I use 36 grit for grinding it down and 180 for fine finishing. I bought some 80 grit but it's a pretty pointless grade especially when trying to initially dimension stuff like cocobolo and that really dark koa you can get. I just put some Swiss pine through the sander yesterday at 180
    and it didn't clog - lovely silk in this stuff for which I got 4 tops from a dreadnought pattern - 2 tenor and 2 concert, $10 each

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Howlett View Post
    OK so maybe I'm a bit of a neanderthal but I use 36 grit for grinding it down and 180 for fine finishing.
    Yep...I've been thinking that using paper that is more coarse would be the way to go. In this application, the drum sander is essentially used like I use my planer for furniture making. It is more about dimensioning the stock than it is preparing the surface for finish. That (preparing for finish) is still done with progressive rounds of hand sanding and scraping.

  8. #8
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    I have one of those belst sander ereaser sticks, when my belts start to clog up it will clean it up. http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200...-x-2-x-12.aspx

  9. #9
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    Did you remove the old finish from the piano lumber before sanding? Usually the only time my sanders look like that is when I try to sand paint or varnish.
    Alan
    The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    It could also be the particular board that is causing problems, and the small drum may be more prone to buildup because of the less overall surface area of the abrasive, and thus, more heat. When I have problems with buildup, I usually step back to a coarser grit until close to dimension. For surfacing, I frequently use 50 grit, sometimes 36 grit too, then 80, then 120. Some woods I do not try to take past 120, some can go to 220. The worst offenders so far have been Satinwood, some local Pine, and Cocobolo, in that order. I use belts, and when they load, I have a jig outside where I line them up and powerwash them. This works well, until the abrasive wears out.

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