What is the Difference Between Drum Sanders vs Wide Belt Sanders?

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With Covid-19 keeping us in our homes, our lives have been filled with many different hobbies, in addition to those we already had (which we have an opportunity to improve, now). Among them, we can mention writing, painting, sculpture, and bringing that selection of TV shows and films up to date, as well as one that is a bit unusual, such as carpentry, or woodworking.

People are renovating their homes alone, or building incredible motorhomes, among thousands of other things. Despite being a little intimidating for beginners, carpentry can be a wonderful hobby, and for those who want to start this hobby for good, there are some basic tools for beginners, one of which is sanders! But what are they for? And what is the best choice between a drum sander and a wide belt one? Read more in this article below to decide which one suits you best!

What Is a Drum Sander, and How Does It Work?

Drum Sander – via woodmagazine

A drum sander has a very direct relationship with the amount of money that should be invested in the purchase of this equipment. It is a large machine used for wood and plastics, ideal for large carpentry projects, or when there is a structure made of plastics. If you already know that this is what you’re looking for, I recommend you take a look at these drum sander reviews.

In addition to being pre-assembled, they can also be assembled in your own home, which may be something more affordable. It generally measures the following: 29 ½ inches (0.74 meters) wide, 24 ½ inches (0.62 meters) long, and weighs around 190 lbs (86 kg), with at least 0.6 meters of free space on all sides to ensure sufficient working space. As you can see, it’s no small tool, but it can help you save time and effort, in ways you can’t even imagine.

Which Projects Should You Use It On?

Its purpose is nothing more than to efficiently polish a large number of pieces of wood, very quickly and neatly. The device is provided with a suction mechanism, where it will remove the sanding residues from the work area – if the model you’re looking for doesn’t have this feature, you can always get yourself a dust collector.

This machine is mostly used for more abrasive materials at a higher speed than other types of sanders, giving the user the freedom to use both hands to manipulate the work item and reach fast and smooth results.

When buying a drum sander, or even before, there are three factors that you need to consider: your frequency of use, the types of wood you will use it on, and the area you plan to place the drum sander on. Make a list of materials you want to use and your projects – determine your use frequency, as well. If it is less than 20% of the total project time, purchase a less expensive model.

However, if what you estimate should be between 25% and 50% of your project’s total time, then you should invest in a professional unit. When it comes to woodworking, there aren’t shortcuts, as they will be very visible in the final products.

But What About the Wide Belt Sander – What Is It?

Wide belt sander woodworking – via sparksbelting

The wide belt sander is the most common type of sander in modern workshops, and it is called that because it allows sanding belts to be wrapped in two drums. The rear drum is powered by an electric motor while the front one spins freely.

In addition, it has a tension release lever that is considered very useful by many carpenters, where it allows their belts to be easily changed by new ones, always maintaining their quality and their grit. Not to mention that most of its models have a tracking adjustment button that keeps the belt always in the center.

Its Uses and Cons

As a portable sander, it is the best electric tool for flattening and smoothing wooden surfaces. Carpenters and joiners use it extensively to level table tops, rough wood planks, dressers, etc… This belt sander is also considered excellent for scraping, while the stationary or bench version is useful for sanding smaller workpieces.

Its brutal power is considered both its strength and its disadvantage – on one side it can be a serious problem, and if not used correctly it can leave countless grooves, especially at the end of the boards; on the other side, if you have some experience under your belt, a wide one won’t be a problem!

Drum Sander vs Wide Belt Sander Comparison

What Now? Which One Should You Go For?

Still don’t know which is best for you? Don’t worry, there are several other sander models to learn about and research. Of course, all are good, but they have their cons, like the disc sander, the combined belt, the oscillating spindle sander, the orbital sander, among many others.

See which one will be better for the use you want to make of it, the materials you will use, and the frequency you’ll need it. Do not forget to be very careful when using these power tools, and always remember to wear appropriate protective clothing, and above all, have fun! Thanks for reading!