Using A Drum Sander

by Tobe Walter
(New Jersey)


The drum sander, an inexpensive tool to rent, handles the major part of floor refinishing. The machine consists of a revolving rubber covered drum mounted on , a wheeled frame that tilts backward to lift the drum from the floor. A sheet of sandpaper is wrapped around the drum; a removable bag attached to a vacuum arrangement collects the dust. A popular drum sander, excellent for home use, is powered by a 11/2-hp motor that operates on 117 volts, 25 to 60 cycles AC or DC. It can be plugged into any wall outlet.


When you are ready to use the machine, first tilt it backward so that the drum clears the floor. Then switch on the power and gently lower the drum until it contacts the surface. If you lower the drum too quickly, the sandpaper will scar the floor. The drum sander operates in both directions. Raise the drum at the beginning and end of each cut, or pass, across the floor. Sand with the grain whenever possible. This machine tends to pull away from the operator; hold it in check so that it moves at a slow and even pace throughout the operation.

To insert paper, remove cord from outlet, tilt the machine, and lift the drum cover. Use the key supplied to loosen the drum that carries the sandpaper. Some models require an open end wrench. Wrap the new sheet of sandpaper around the drum and then tuck its ends into the slot. If you are using a small belt sander, make sure belt is traveling in direction of arrow printed on back of belt. Pull the sandpaper tight on the drum. Use the key to lighten the paper around the drum. Plug in the cord and turn on the power. Stand clear and note whether belt is tracking evenly; adjust if necessary.

Orbital Sander

To remove old sandpaper disk, unplug the machine, turn It upside down, and use a wrench to loosen the lock nut. When renting the sander, ask for extra sandpaper in coarse, medium, and fine grades. Make sure sandpaper disk Is centered. Use coarse sandpaper first, follow with medium and fine. Start with an open. coat sandpaper to remove heavy coats of wax before switching to medium-grade paper.

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