|As you compare drum sanders, be sure to ask these important questions.
Is It Made In The USA?
Seems like Woodmaster is the only drum sander still made right here in the USA. American workers hand-assemble every Woodmaster from US-made components. Your drum sander is built in Kansas City, Missouri and it’s built the way machinery used to be built – heavy, solid, true, simple, overbuilt to last. When you call, you’ll talk with a real person right in KC – folks who earn a wage running and/or assembling our machines.
Can Either Drum Be Operated Independently?
Only Woodmaster dual drum sanders let you sand with one drum independently of the other....all with the simple turn of a lever. Now, you can quickly move the second drum out of the way. In actual, day-to-day shop work, craftsmen find this one feature, alone, is worth owning a Woodmaster over any other sander!
Woodmaster owner, Edwin Miller, describes this advantage in his own words. He writes, "The double drum? I wouldn't go any other way. Here's how I use the two drums. I put coarser, 100-grit sandpaper on the first drum at the 'feed' end of the machine. And I put finer, 180-grit paper on the second drum at the 'exit' end.
I can run wood through both drums in one pass. Or, when I want to, I can raise the finer-grit second drum out of the way and run wood through just the coarser-grit drum. Using the machine's reverse, I can bring the wood back to me and feed it back and forth to dimension it. When I get it to the thickness I want, I lower the finer-grit drum back down.
Both drums can go up and down - actually, it's the table that goes up and down but the effect is that you can sand with one drum, the other drum, or both drums.
All that gives me quite a bit of sanding leeway. The primary advantage is you can do primary and secondary sanding in one pass. It's so smooth it's amazing. And it's a huge time saver - I save at least 80% of the time it takes to hand sand. And then of course you can sand with just fine, just coarse, or both fine and coarse in the same pass."
Does It Have Integrated Bottom Draw Dust Collection?
Bottom draw chutes capture dust before it can rotate and load the sandpaper. Woodmaster was the first to incorporate this important feature in a drum sander and we’re the only company we know of that has kept this feature as standard equipment on all of our drum sanders. Unlike chutes on Taiwan sanders, Woodmaster dust chutes are not hung from inside the hood as an engineering afterthought…they’re fully-integrated into the body of the machine, the same as you’d find on a wide-belt sander.
Can it be equipped with a Conveyor Reversing Switch?
Woodmaster's infinitely variable feed system lets you add a conveyor reversing switch -- your work-piece comes back to you as it gets another sanding pass...an advantage not possible with any overseas machine that we know of. Eliminates hiking between infeed and outfeed. Saves time and money.
Does it have Easy-Change Hook and Loop Sandpaper?
Woodmaster originated the hook and loop system for Drum Sanders. Compared to cumbersome spring clip methods on other sanders, Woodmaster's system eliminates stretching, creasing or creeping. Here's what Fine Woodworking Magazine says:
"Changing abrasives on the Woodmaster is a snap. Once the machine's large cover is off, there's plenty of maneuvering room. Changing abrasives on the Grizzly is awkward.
…of the closed-frame machines, the Woodmaster… gets my top vote. It is robustly built, smooth and quiet in operation, offers easy abrasive-strip changing, and a reversing conveyor."
Does The Sander Feature Industry-Standard Drum Speeds?
3-M Corp., leading sand paper manufacturer, conducted studies and concluded that, for 6” diameter drums, 750 rpm is the optimum speed for sanding efficiency and longer paper life. Hence, all our drums turn at this recommended speed. This translates to a drum surface speed of 1,150 fpm. Taiwan sanders turn at twice this speed, which can glaze the sand paper and burn the work piece.
Does it have Dynamically-Balanced, All-Steel Sanding Drums?
Woodmaster uses dynamically balanced 6” steel drums. We do not use aluminum even though it would be easier and cheaper to machine. Aluminum retains and conducts heat. This makes it a favorite metal for cookware, but in a sanding drum it causes excess heat build-up, melts glue and destroys sandpaper. Also, we do not use rubber coated steel drums. In this case, we agree with Grizzly Industrial, who says this about their 24” sanders with aluminum drums – “Customers have asked us why our drums are not rubber coated. Rubber-coated drums become “spongy” and do not sand evenly or parallel to the ends.”
Does it have an Industrial-Grade Conveyor System?
The conveyor belts on Woodmaster drum sanders are noticeably more heavy and rugged than those found on Taiwanese sanders. Woodmaster conveyor material is used in all sorts of heavy industrial applications including sawmills and other heavy materials-handling applications. Woodmaster belts have a deeper and heavier pile and heavier backing, which means you get a better grip on your work piece while also getting longer life out of your belt. Only Woodmaster sanders use 4” trapezoid-shaped, self-aligning conveyor rollers. Our rollers are nearly twice the diameter of Taiwan rollers. This means you get twice as much leverage on your work-piece – perfect for aggressive sanding and large, heavy pieces.
What’s the Guarantee and the Warranty?
Most established machinery manufacturers will freely admit that you may at some time have a problem with your machine. That’s why established manufacturers back their equipment with strong guarantees and warranties. So while you’re comparing features and prices, be sure to compare warranty programs. Insist on the following minimum coverage:
60-Day No-Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee — If the drum sander you receive isn’t as it was represented to you, you need to have some recourse. If a manufacturer isn’t confident enough in their equipment to back up their word with a no-questions asked money-back guarantee, how confident are you in their equipment?
5-Year Limited Warranty — Again, if a manufacturer doesn’t trust their equipment enough to back it with a strong warranty, should you trust that equipment? Some warranties have so many exclusions that they’re almost meaningless, so be sure to ask about the specifics of the warranty. Again: if a manufacturer isn’t willing to back up their product with a minimum 5-Year Limited Warranty, you might want to shop elsewhere.