Drum sander poll - what's you tool of choice?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rodent, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Performax 16-32

    1 vote(s)
  2. Delta X5 18" x 36"

    1 vote(s)
  3. other - please detail the make/model and why

    2 vote(s)
  1. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    If you were in the position to purchase a horizontal drum sander - especially if you had to purchase one again - which would you choose Delta or Performax?

    Performax 16-32

    Delta X5 18" x 36"

    Each has features of interest, and each appears to have a good track record in the shop. I'm currently leaning towards the Performax.

    Thoughts or opinions?

    All the best,

  2. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Just dont get the 10-20 and try to make multiple passes. Thatis the mistake I made. :scowl:
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I bought the Delta and am not unhappy with it. At the time I just felt like it looked like a more solid design than the Performax.

    Don't rule out the Grizzly and make sure you have adequate dust collection. These things produce a lot of dust.
  4. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    A drum sander is also on my shopping list. If I were to choose between the delta and performax, I'd go the delta way simply because its $100 cheaper.
    What I probably will end-up buying though is the Carba-tec drum sander. It's $990 AU (about $740 US) for no other reason than that it is cheaper. I'd rather save my cash for other tools.

    Carba-Tec is an australian chain of tool stores. They have their own brand built in china. Usually copies of the better stuff at a cheaper price.


    here's their sander.
  5. DavidRavenMoon

    DavidRavenMoon Inactive

    Oct 20, 2004
    I was going to buy one of these back when I was getting my shop setup. But I got a planer instead. Unless you are doing acoustic guitar tops, you really don't need one of these.

    I did all my book matched tops with just a Delta bandsaw with riser block and a Delta 12" planer. I had a Jet jointer too.

    Grizzly makes some nice stuff. I had a Grizzly belt sander.

    I don't have a shop anymore... :(
  6. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I took a trip up I-5 to visit the local Grizzly showroom yesterday. I'll say after viewing the vast assortment of tools on display, and spending quite some time in the drum sander section, that a Grizzly 16" double drum sander could fit the bill quite nicely. A couple of things would need to be modded in my shop (add a 220v circuit and increase my dust collection capacity) before I could use this, but it definitely appears to be a quality piece of machinery. Right now it's a toss between the Performax and the Grizzly.

    Dave mentions above that using a planer should be sufficient, and that a drum sander not necessarily a needed tool for the shop. My research (reading and talking with users) has shown that you can get away with just a planer ... but you'll have better results with highly figured woods by utilizing a horizontal drum sander for you final thicknessing passes, as your odds for tearout are greatly reduced. A horizontal drum sander is also a great tool for levelling any irregularities that may occur when gluing a bookmatch top, and it serves as the perfect tool for honing your body in to the exact thickness dimension.

    A planer is good for creating the initial passes when generating parallel surface planes and for 'hogging' the thickness when buying wood that significantly exceeds your required finished thickness. A horizontal drum sander is best used to take what the planer prepped and fine tune it into tolerance nirvana.

    I guess the need for a drum sander then could be determined by the woods you plan to use in your projects, and how much hand sanding you want to perform on the front/back sides of you bodies and uncut necks. It's definitely an extra cost that is difficult to justify if you only plan to make one or two basses.

    All the best,

  7. If I had half the money you guys are spending on these factory jobs, I would build one way better than I've got now and have enough left over to go for something else.

    As clever as some of you folks are and as simple as you've seen these things can be, for the life of me, I don't understand why you are madly driven to drop a grand on these things. :confused: This tool probably has enough design plans available for it on the web that you could find one that would suit in a heartbeat. I've seen them built from scratch, adapted from other tools, and adapted into other tools - just to give you an idea of the versatility of the concepts. Given those possiblilities and the fact that we all share the need for more space, it would be a real no-brainer to make one that would better suit our custom requirements.

    or maybe it's just me... :(
  8. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    Maybe it's a disease enabled by long hours working to develop the engineering designs, manufacturing details, and tooling required to make these:


    For me, my love is in building basses and not tooling. With the few hours I have free each week, I'd rather design and build a bass than work out the details on building the machinery to build the bass. Someday my focus may change, but right now I have to place a $$$ figure on my near nonexistent available free time. I do count the trade-off of the time expended designing/building a new tool against the monitary cost of buying one to do the job ... and right now it forces me to look at purchasing ready-made equipment from manufactures.

    Someday I'll have the free time (but hopefully not proportionally less finances) where I can also design my own tooling. By then I'll most likely also have a good list of custom tools I'd like to make (a one-pass fret slotter immediately comes to mind) to aid in managing consistency, quality, and interchangability of my parts. But the tool designs will also have hands-on and time tested body/neck building process knowledge designed into them - right now all of my designs would be heavily influenced by aerospace composite manufacturing processes ... and I believe there's a whole load of overkill in making a bass body utilizing much of these million dollar composite workflows and multi-axis machines.

    All the best,


  9. You see Rod, I look at it the same way. My time costs money too. And the money I earn with my time is spent on the little things like oh say...living and trying to stay living! Were I to raid my living expenses for "time-saving" tools not expressly needed in the building process, I would be shirking my responsibility to my family. Hence, the other way around the problem is to use my noggin and my own time which is essentially free (because there ain't no one paying me for it now) to get what I desire.

    So I took 2 days and $100 to build my tool and within a week was using it instead of saving for 6 months and hopefully not needing the money for something else before I can make the purchase. Tell me all you know about saving time... :eyebrow:

    Funny, and all of that IS because I love building intruments :spit:
  10. teej

    teej Venmo @teej1986

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I nearly passed out after I came to my senses and realized I just shelled out $220 for a router kit. :rolleyes: It's not that I don't have the money (oh, I've got the $$), and I'm not cheap... I think I just don't like spending large sums of money on one thing.
  11. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    For me it is simple. I don't really like tools. I don't like spending money on them, building them, maintaining them, any of it. I just want to build instruments. I tend to buy the cheapest stuff I can get away with and avoid building tools and jigs at all cost.

    Is your sander a power feed, Hambone? I think you are compairing apples to oranges. I have a 16" Grizzly. It was cheap compaired to others but gets the deal done. It's a dual drum power feed. I used the hand fed ones at school and was happy to spend the extra money for a power fed one (and to avoid having to design and built something, scrounge the parts, etc).
  12. Ed R

    Ed R

    Oct 25, 2005
    I've owned both and I feel that the Performax is the superior product. The Delta's design just makes it harder to use, and the feed rollers are not sensitive at all- there is NO dynamic feedback on when you make contact with the sanding drum, plus the infeed roller can be very difficult to get some stock underneath. The Performax has issues of ts own but they're minor in comparison. The ony real issue I've had with the Performax is that sometimes the head doesn't stay parallel with the belt and I forget to check it before I start a series of passes on 14-inch wide stock.
    And as to comparing a planer vs a sander, I found that working with figured woods on the smaller planers led to either the heartbreak of psoriasis ( um, I mean chipout on the figured woods) or the nightmare of removing/sharpening/replacing/resetting the planer blades every few days. Those blades go dull REALLY quick when you start pushing maple and wenge through them. The sander produces better results and is tons quieter!

    I have no experience with teh Grizzy sander but I concur big-time with the guy who said that whateer sander you shoose you're going to need imprved dust collection! I went as far as to buy a 2-horse mini-collector and bag just for the sander. It's a SERIOUS dustmaker and it makes as fine a powder as I've ever seen, and it gets EVERYWHERE.
  13. teej

    teej Venmo @teej1986

    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    A-ha! Scott, you've said exactly what I was trying to say.
  14. No it's not, it could be, and I've got the parts for it but it's not necessary right now for the amount I do.

    Is your's 18" wide? :eyebrow:

    But your's is the second post alluding to me being more of a toolhead than a builder. That's not true and it's a shame that's the impression being taken because you've missed understanding one of my primary motivations for building the way I do.
  15. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    Mine is just 16" wide like I said.

    I don't think you have to be more of one than another. You can be a great builder and great tool/jig maker (some big names come to mind).

    I think when you are taking about a difference of $5-600 or a few days of time (depending on how effiicient a builder you are) it's not really that big of a deal to buy a tool over building it.