Drum Sander Vs Belt Sander- What is the difference?

Sanding hardwood floors is like making a delicious, appealing, and unique cuisine from the same regular food materials. It’s more than bringing the taste and look of the food.

Sounds complex?

Well. When you install a new hardwood floor in your house, you must sand it. Even if you are using wood-made furniture or other materials, sanding can be substantial. It makes the wood surface smooth, shiny and brings a new look just as the first time.

There are At least ten types of the sander (sanding tool) available out there. Each of them has different designs, structure, size, and performance. Drum and belt sanders are popular types of active Sanders. These machines can do almost all sorts of sanding. Yet, people get confused about which one is to select or better between these sanders.

In this content, we will take a few moments from you. We are going to explain the topic of drum sander versus belt sander. You will also learn how to use them.

Drum Sander

Drum Sander

Some people know this as a planer though both are different. Drum sander sands the board while the planer cuts it. A drum sander is just a big size sander like the lawnmower for your garden.

A drum sander can perform heavy-duty finishing of your hardwood floors. It uses broader and bigger sanding paper rolled or slide around the drum. The size of this paper is more prominent than a belt sander. This drum is made of heavy metal. When you turn on the drum sander, the drum puts heavy pressure on the hardwood floors. The sandpaper provides aggressive cutting action due to the weight by moving the device thoroughly.

Drum sanders are suitable for large sizes of the wooden surface. It works fast as the aggressive cutting action plains and gives finishing quickly. For a large area, multiple layers of finish, you should select the drum sander.

Two significant facts you should consider in using a drum sander. The sandpaper grit and the speed of the drum. You need to follow the grain for a satisfying finish. Usually, drum sander can be the prior choice for a floor with damages, cupping, etc. In a line, a drum sander is an excellent choice for professionals. Yet you can use it well by doing practice.

Belt Sander

Belt Sander

A belt sander is an excellent tool to remove a significant amount of materials faster, like the drum sander. It is convenient in size. You may find a belt sander in either handheld portable size or benchtop mounted.

If you want to work with tough corners, small crevices, a handheld belt sander is a good selection. It gives you flexibility, as you can move it anywhere. A benchtop mounted device gives you sufficient control over the target material. However, a belt sander is good for sanding and leveling the rough surface with free movements of the device.

The linear sanding action provides good results while working with coarse grits. This ideal sander is suitable for any person. It doesn’t matter you are a DIYer or professional or new in woodworking. You can flatten the uneven surface or scribe the countertops. You just need to change the belt frequently.

A belt sander has a fully looped sanding belt. It fits the sander housing. You need to slide a belt with less wide than drum sander around the two wheels. When you turn on the machine, an electric motor spins this belt. The movement of the belt is in forwarding motion.

Common Facts of Drum Sander vs. Belt Sander

Criteria Drum Sander Belt Sander
Size Bigger like a lawnmower Small to medium
Weight Heavier Lightweight and medium weighty
Belt size Wider Versatile
Belt sliding Around the metal round drum Around two wheels
Portability Tough to carry or move without running the device Handheld design helps to carry anywhere
Cutting action Aggressive Linear
Versatility Available in single conventional design Portable handheld and benchtop mounted designs
Applicability Good for the heavy-duty finish Good for a sufficient amount of materials removal
Speed Faster for a larger area. Faster for small surface
Ideal For professionals and others having good practice For anyone, from DIYer to professionals
Surface type Works great on flooring Reaches small crevices, nooks, and crannies
Noise Heavy noise Less noise

How to use a drum sander?

Drum sanders put heavy pressure on the surface. So, you need to clean the surface first before you switch on the device. Remove everything from the floor. Also, clean all the nails, cracks, gaps to avoid damages on the hardwood floors.

Wear safety gear to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth. There will be lots of dust while sanding the floor. Remember, you should keep the floor out of sawdust every time you sand.

As it’s a big guy tool, you can start from the corner where the place of the room is less visible. Usually, two conventional methods are available for using a drum sander.

The first method is going along the wood surface’s length from side to side. When you turn the device on and off, you need to tilt it. You shouldn’t stop suddenly in one place. There is a lot of chance to damage the flooring.

The second method is to use the sander diagonally. You start sanding from one corner to the opposite one. Turning around and then going backward – this is how you move the running drum sander. Tilt every time you turn it off and on. Start again over from the nearest corner. This way, you can cover the whole area.

In case you are using coarse sandpaper, then start with medium-grit sandpaper. Then gradually use fine-grit sandpaper. Drum sander may not reach every corner you want to sand. In this case, you may get the help of an edge sander or small belt sander.

How to sand wood floors with a belt sander?

Drum Sander is, of course, an excellent tool for floor sanding. But you can use a belt sander too. You must be careful when you are using the belt sander to sand the wood floors.

You can’t connect the belt sander into a regular power outlet, as it is quite different. Take the service of an electrician to connect the device directly to your house’s fuse box. Experts suggest not to try this yourself. Instead, an electrician would be helpful. Otherwise, you may get electrocuted or damage the circuit. Do not turn on the device now.

Install the sandpaper onto the wheels of the belt sander. It would be helpful if you start with 50-grit sandpaper. Then turn on the sanding machine. Start cross-cutting the wood floor at a 45° angle. It’s an essential part of the sanding floor with a belt sander. It helps to eliminate old stains, leftover marks from the surface.

Turn off the machine after you complete the first finish with 45° angle sanding. Then, install another brand new 50-grit sandpaper. As you are cross-cutting the wood surface, you should always go back and sand straight pass to eliminate all the sand marks.

In the second stage, you should sand the whole floor in a complete straight direction. It will be a bit aggressive cutting action. So, make sure you are not inviting new drum or sanding stains. When you complete this stage, there will be a lot of finish and marks lying on the floor. It’s the sign that you are doing better.

Now, turn off the belt sander. Install new 36-grit sandpaper. Sand the whole floor with it. Follow up the sanding straightly with a 50-grit sand belt. Clean all the sawdust and start sanding again if there are still any marks left.

At the last stage, turn off the sander and install a new 80-grit sandpaper roll. Now, you should sand firmly while moving the sander in a straight direction. Level the surface as much as possible. Turn off the belt sander.

Thus, you can use a belt sander for sanding the wood floors.

Final Words:

Sander is an unchallenged device to bring a new look in the wood surface, a masterpiece made of wood. You can use versatile types of sanders in regular woodworking. However, drum sander and belt sander are more beneficial forms of electric sanders. You can find it harder to use them first. But with a lot of practice, you can master the sanders. Have a happy sanding time!

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