Drum Sanders are sometimes called thickness sanders and are manufactured by companies like Performax, Powermatic, Grizzly, Woodmaster, Supermax, General International, Oliver and Delta. Abrasive strips are cut from a continuous roll of abrasive cloth and wrapped around the horizontal cylinder on an abrasive drum sander.
There are three different ways that you can cover the drum on your sander. You can always purchase precut strips that are the exact length you need, and they have the angled ends precut to the specification of your sander. This method is the most convenient, but also the most expensive!
An alternative is buying rolls and cutting your own strips. You can use a number of different width rolls, but the most popular and easy to use are 3" or 4" wide. The key is to trim the leading edge of the abrasive strip so that the angled edge is equal to the circumference of the drum. If you want to use a wider or narrower strip, the angle will change, but the length of the angled edge will not--always cut the edge equal to the circumference of your cylinder. The trailing edge of the strip should be cut as a mirror image of the leading end. Of course, if you always purchase the same width abrasive, you can simply use your old strip as a template to cut the new strips. The downside to using a 50 yard bulk roll of abrasive is twofold. First, depending on the length of the strips you require, you will mot likely end up with some "waste" at the end of the roll, that you can use up on a pad sander or by hand. Second, sometimes bulk rolls contain an undisclosed seam that must be cut out if you encounter it, and again, you experience some "waste" in material. Usually the cost savings for buying in bulk more than offsets any extra material you end up with.
Another method, and this is ideal for a one-man shop, is to order continuous sanding belts that are a few inches longer than the length you require. Most often, custom sized sanding belts can be made up in multiples of only three or four, which makes them less of an investment than a whole box of precut strips or an entire 50 yard roll! Once you receive the belts, simply cut the joint away and angle the ends to match the circumference on your cylinder.
Whichever technique you choose to wrap your drum, make sure that you use a high-quality, cloth backed abrasive with a resin bond. You do not want to use a lesser quality abrasive than you would use on a belt sander, so avoid shop rolls that are manufactured with a glue bond!
For more information, give us a call at 800-814-7358 or visit us online at: www.abrasiveresource.com