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Building a Drum Sander Table

Updated: Apr. 21, 2020

Try this low-cost drum sanding technique, complete with dust collection

FH11MAR_SANTAB_01-2Family Handyman
Improvise a low-cost drum sander using your drill press and a custom sanding table with dust collection. Build it in an hour from scrap wood.

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Build a drum sanding table

Drum sander table in action

Mount a sanding drum in your drill press and clamp the sanding table to the drill press table.

If you don’t want to pop for a dedicated oscillating drum sander, a sanding drum chucked into a drill press is a quick way to sand contours. But unlike the real deal, there’s no dust collection, and since the drum doesn’t oscillate up and down, only the lower edge of the sanding surface gets used. It also means there’s always a little gap where the drum is slightly above the drill press table. This simple sander table solves all these problems automatically.

Use 1/4-in. or any other thickness plywood for the base, and size it slightly smaller than the drill press table so you can clamp it down. Build a 1×4 frame, a few inches smaller than the base, so there’s room for the clamps, and glue and pin it to the frame. Then glue and nail 3/4-in. material to the frame for the top. This one is 16 in. square. Build it longer or deeper if you want to sand wider or longer stuff. Cover the top with plastic laminate if you wish. It’s worth the trouble because using a drum sander is tricky, and the slippery surface makes it much easier to control sanding.

Finally, drill a hole slightly larger than the drum in the center of the top and a dust-port hole in the frame sized to fit your shop vacuum hose. Move the drill press table up and down to use the entire sanding surface as it wears.

Figure A: Drum Sander Table

You can build a drum sander table from just about any scraps you have lying around your shop.

Drum Sanding ABCs

The biggest mistake drum-sander neophytes make is to remove too much material on each pass. Don’t be overly aggressive: Use coarse grits only when necessary, and use very light pressure on each pass. Feel for imperfections with your fingertips, and mark the high spots with a pencil.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Drill press
  • Hammer
  • Hole saw kit
  • Sanding drum

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • 1/4-in. plywood
  • 1x4
  • 3/4-in. plywood
  • Plastic laminate
  • Wood glue