Floor Sanding Tips: Focus on Drum Sanders
There are many different types of sanders that can be used to sand a wooden floor, and of course each has a specific use which differentiates it from other similar equipment. However, one of the most daunting, and as result sometimes lesser used machines, is the drum sander. While it may be a scary prospect, the drum sander is actually an incredibly effective tool to use if you want to sand large areas of wooden floor, or if you need to remove unsightly bumps, gouges, or areas where your floor has lost some of its lustre. Still not sure? Here’s some more information about the drum sander and how best to use it.
Yes, it is BIG machine
Let’s first deal with the elephant in the room, yes the drum sander is a beast of a machine. It will take at least two people to lift the sander, it is difficult to manoeuvre, and is far too expensive to buy your own. However, these perceived flaws are also its strengths, as this size and power that it has allows it to really strip a large quantity of wood away from the surface with relative ease. If your floor is in dire need of revitalising, a drum sander will certainly achieve that.
Professional help can save the day
As a general point of order, you of course want to ask a professional before trying to do any work on your floor, but especially if you think that the drum sander might be right for you. Due to their size, many hire shops will stock a very limited number of drum sanders, so it’s a good idea to check in advance that you can hire one.
Sandpaper types to remember
Sanders are rendered redundant without sandpaper, so it’s essential to buy the correct amount. With the drum sander, you will want to have a good gradient of different grits of sandpaper, beginning with an abrasive, coarse grit, working down to a fine grit eventually. The hire shop will be able to show you how to fit the paper, which comes in long sheets, and will need to be changed each time you transition to finer grit. It is probably worth overbuying, as any you don’t use can normally be sold back to the hire shop.
Sanding the floor
The actual action of sanding the floor with the drum sander itself is fairly straightforward. While heavy and powerful, it does an excellent job. You want to avoid any jerky movements, and to spread your focus evenly over the floor so you get a consistent texture. One tip that experts will often use is to practice on an area that might not normally be see, maybe somewhere that is usually hidden by furniture. It’s better to mess it up where no one will see than in the middle of the room!
Obviously the drum sander is best used in conjunction with other machines, like an edge sander to do the borders or in areas that the drum sander is too big to reach. However, if you have a large area of floor that needs sanding, and even more so if it needs a heavy duty re-finishing, the drum sander is very much the right tool for the job.
For more drum sander tips check out this recent post on the subject.
Image from Flickr Creative Commons