Tool Test – Grizzly G0459 Drum Sander

From June 2006 Popular Woodworking

Grizzly’s Baby Drum Sander Rocks

Early in my career I was spoiled forever by a 42″-wide, three-head wide-belt sander. I can’t keep from comparing other sanders to that, and this new drum sander from Grizzly isn’t that kind of machine. But it is, without a doubt, the best value in a thicknessing sander suitable for small-shop use that I have seen. Many small-scale sanders use lightweight materials and leave one end of the machine open to gain  width capacity.  Grizzly has taken a different approach , keep it simple and solid. It has some limitations in capacity and precision, but considering performance and price, this is the machine I want in my shop.

3-G0459-drum-sander.jpgIt won’t sand a wide tabletop or a wide assembled door, but it can sand the parts before you put things together. I’d rather put together good parts than risk making more work with an unpredictable machine. I found no sniping or variation across the width from the pieces I sanded with the G0459. It was hard to hit a precise thickness due to the flexibility in the hook-and-loop abrasives, but this flexibility eliminates many of the problems found in rigid drums. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to make.

Setup was minimal; I needed only to attach the crank handle and dust port. The drum and drive motors had plenty of power and changing the abrasives was simple and painless. The conveyor belt is the same rubber found on industrial machines, and the gear-driven four-post height adjustment operated smoothly.

The pluses outweigh the minuses, but it isn’t a perfect machine. I’d move the speed control to the same side as the other controls, and change the knob that holds the lid down. If the hood were extended down, the dust collection would be improved, and the requirement to tape the ends of the abrasive rolls doesn’t seem right. I can easily live with these shortcomings to gain the performance, ease of use and predictability of this machine.

Robert Lang

More information on the drum sander from Grizzly

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