Friday, March 25, 2011

Let's try this again - another new tool in the shop

This was a heck of an afternoon!

I had every intention of going out to lunch to celebrate my buddy Rick's birthday. But I was delayed, waiting for a UPS delivery of a new drum sander.
The box was a little dinged when it arrived. OK, there was a hole punched in the side of the box.

I'm always a little worried when there is a shoe print on the box.

But it had plenty of packing to protect it. Cool.

The only problem was - the sander was much shorter than I envisioned it. Sure, if a six-year old was operating it, it would have been fine mounted on the base I had. As it turned out, I had to build a platform to raise it up.

And since it was Rick's birthday, there was a bit of a celebration going on. So building the platform took a bit longer than it should have taken.

A 45-minute project turned into a three hour one, thanks to the birthday celebrations (i.e.Patron and Maker's Mark shots) that were taking place in the shop. DO NOT (I repeat!) DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
Here's the unit mounted and hooked up to the dust collector.

This is the fifth drum sander I have owned -- my first was a Performax 37x2 sander which I purchased in the mid 90s.

It was a first generation tool, and there were a few issues with it. But after my pals Dave and Alex tweaked it a bit, it tracked straight, and the drums stayed parallel to the bed.

The sad part is - just when I got the beast working well, I sold it because I moved across the country.
When I got to Vegas and was setting up a new shop, I bought a smaller model - the 16/32 sander.

It pretty much sucked, and within a month or two, I traded it in for a 22-44 sander. Again - major suckage. Why?

Whoever came up the idea of an open ended sander must have been delusional. It just doesn't work. The drum almost never stays parallel with the conveyor bed, and you end up with tapered panels. Sure, you can flip them around and sand them in the other direction, to even things out. But it's a hassle. The idea of an open ended 22" sander that will sand a 44" wide panel is insane. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

Finally, a couple of months ago, I decided to try a drum sander that was captive on both ends. I blogged about it here, and as most of you know, that was a bit of a disaster. Still, I didn't stop searching.

So - today, after unpacking and setting up the sander, I tested it by running a particularly gnarly (but gorgeous!) piece of Cherry through it. Yes, this is a really small sander, but it'll do the trick for a few specific projects around the shop.

Have a look.

By the way, Jet includes this special tool to help clip the sandpaper to the drum. A nice touch, but I've never used it. I've heard it works fine, but my fingers are small enough to attach the paper without too much trouble.

I really hope this is the last sander I have to purchase before I can afford the sander of my dreams.

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