What Is A Drum Sander?

So you’re in the market for a drum sander for your small shop? Or possibly you have never heard of a drum sander yet.

Let’s take the time to understand what drum sander actual is before we begin digging in too deep.

A drum sander is a powerful stationary tool that features its own conveyor belt to help feed wood through the machine.

On its way through the machine its passed through a drum that has abrasive sandpaper attached to it.  Drums are available in varying widths to accomated your needs in your small workshop. 

Basically, if you’re familiar with a planer in your previous woodworking adventures the drum sander is the same thing in a way. Although in the instance you are using abrasive sandpaper.

Why You Might Need A Drum Sander

Having a drum sander for the small shop is one of those tools that you might be able to live without but until you own one you can never go back.

Every woodworker might not need a drum for their shop but there a few practical cases were owning one would make your shop time that much more enjoyable.

If you’re in the market of making end grain cutting boards. End grain cutting boards are extremely popular right now with a lot of hobbyists and full-time woodworkers making them.

Before now if you didn’t know planning end grain with a normal planner is extremely dangerous. The planer tends to grab ahold of the wood fibers and turn it into a projectile.

Owning a drum sander if you’re in the business of making end grain cutting boards consistently is absolutely essential in my book.

Drum sanders are great for boosting production out ouf your small shop. Having this great piece of kit helps speed up those montous tasks that most woodworkers dont enjoy. 


Drum Sanders For The Small Shop

Ok, enough rambling on let’s get into the main reason you stopped by today. Let’s take the time to talk drum sanders for the small shop.

There is an array of different drum sanders on the market these and below I’m going to give my opinion on a few of them and my own thoughts.

As a small shop owner myself, I know how important purchasing the right tool the first is.

Below I will lay out some of the cons and pros of some of the machines available on the market today.

If you don’t see a particular piece of equipment on the list feel free to let us know. We would love to help get you the information you need to know.

Super Max 19-38

First up on our list of drum sanders for the small shop is the Super Max 19-38. This Super Max has been rated 5 out of 5 by Wood Magazine. Also well has been an Editors Pick award from the American Woodworker magazine.

One thing I love about the Super Max tool company is that there focus is 100 percent on the brush sander and drum sander market. Not only is there focus on drum sanders but they also make an American made product. Below I am going to lay out some of the details of the wonderful piece of machinery.


Conveyor Speed: 0-10 FPM
Sanding Capcity
Max Width:38 two passes
Min Lenght:2.25”
Max Thickness: 4”
Min Thickness: 1/32”
Drum Speed: 1740 RPM
Drive Motor: 1.75 HP
Drum Size: 5”x19”
Overall Dimensions: 27D x 46W x 52H
Power Requirements: 110V 15amp

JET Drum Sander 16-32


The JET 16-32 packs a punch as a drum sander for the small shop.
Having the ability to rotate your boards 180 degrees and remove up to 32” of material. That’s just amazing if you ask me.

Below I put a few of the basic specs I feel are important to know if you’re considering a machine like this. 

One thing I have come across in my research is that it looks like customer support is not the best if you need to make a call in.

This could be just a few people expressing their feelings online. Although I feel the need to mention it so you can properly make a decision.

Spending money like this on a piece of equipment you want to make sure you’re getting the best in all aspects. Not only quality but quality support from people that care.

A little more information on this drum sander. The package will come in a couple of separate boxes and require some assembly on the base before beginning operations.

Nothing too crazy you’re a woodworker you can handle it. After the base is assembled it’s just moving on to the box that has the drum and motor and attaching it to the base.

Then, of course, attaching the sandpaper to drum. Once that’s completed your ready to begin making sawdust. Attaching the paper is going to take some practice to get right. This not a JET thing this is an experience with a drum sander thing.


Conveyor Speed: 0-10 FPM
Sanding Capacity
Max Width:32” two passes
Min Lenght:2.375”
Max Thickness: 3”
Min Thickness: 1/32”
Drum Speed: 1720 RPM
Drive Motor: 1.5 HP
Drum Size: 5”x16”
Overall Dimensions: 27D x 46W x 52H
Power Requirements: 115V 14amp (recommended 20 amp circuit)

Grizzly Drum Sander G0458


Love or hate them, Grizzly Tools is the next item up on our list. If you don’t know much about Grizzly tools here’s a little bit of a run down.

Grizzly products are manufactured in quality controlled facilities overseas and then imported into then distributed to North American and wherever else they might go.

Nothing wrong with this business model since that’s how so much of manufacturing is completed in this day in age.

Some people although tend to talk down the Grizzly products quality. I have owned many Grizzly products and they are all still in my shop.

I have nothing bad to say about them and will continue to purchase them as needed. That’s the end of my rant.

The Grizzly  G0458 is a great little drum sander with a small footprint. Don’t let the small footprint fool you. For its ability to clean up 36” wide pieces.

Some of the early G0458 seemed to have problems with tracking issues. The issue seems to been solved in more recent iterations available today.

Although if you happen to stumble upon an older used model I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it. The tracking issue seemed to be more of a patience issue on getting the machine dialed in.

One thing about this model is it is quite heavy so I would make sure you keep it stationary in your shop. Shipping weight of this bad boy comes in at 328lbs!

I don’t think you can go wrong with Grizzly products and I’ve never had any problems with there support.

Although just be warned it’s definitely not the fastest but they will get the job done.


Conveyor Speed: 2-12 FPM
Sanding Capacity
Max Width:36” two passes
Min Length:6”
Max Thickness: 4.5”
Min Thickness: 1/8”
Drum Speed: 3450 RPM
Drive Motor: 1.5 HP
Drum Size: 4”x16”
Overall Dimensions: 41.5” x 22.5” x 50”
Power Requirements: 110V 11.5amp

WEN Drum Sander

Wen is a company that has been around since 1951. Most might now that Wen actually pioneered the tech that’s inside of an orbital sander.

This Wen drum sander comes with a 2-year warranty which is great most of the drum sanders for the small shop we have reviewed thus far only are only including a one year warranty.

Wen has packaged together a great little drum sander at an incredible price. The one thing in my opinion that holds it back is the max width stock you can run through this drum sander.

If you have a product that your mass producing that would fit perfectly in this work envelope then this could be great for you.

In the available pictures, you can see the opened of the drum sander has a metal bracket that looks like it can be removed quite easily.

It can be although your reduce the rigdity of the machine greatly by doing so. Complanits of the surface finish can be found once removel of this part has been completed.  

Other than that I truley dont think you can wrong with Wen as like as the small work evenelope is not a deal breaker for you.


Conveyor Speed: 0-10 FPM
Sanding Capacity
Max Width: 9.5”
Min Length:4.75”
Max Thickness: 3”
Min Thickness: 3/16”
Drum Speed: 1440 RPM
Drive Motor: 10.5amp
Drum Size: 5”x10”
Overall Dimensions: 36 x 19 x 45
Power Requirements: 120V
Warranty: 2 year

Final Thoughts

There a lot of different things to consider when purchasing a drum sander for the small shop. A lot behind just the floor space it’s going to take up in your shop. But things like warranty and customer service after the sale.

Read through the article closely and pick out a few of characteristics f what you really want out of a machine and make sure make sure the manufacturer can provide what they say they will.

Be sure to follow along with me this year of 2019 we will be putting a lot of great things this year and we sure dont want you to miss any of that.

How can be sure not miss anything? Simple click this link here a follow along with our progress through the 2019 year. One last thing gives us a follow at @youtube and @instgram for even more great content.

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