How to Use a Drum Sander – Hints and Tips
One of the most common questions asked by people, who are looking to sand the floors of their homes, and possibly add value to their property, is in regard to the use of a Drum sander. Many hire shops will recommend this particular piece of machinery for home use, even though it is a particularly daunting task, given its size. However, the drum sander really is the best tool for the job, if you bear in mind the basics of how to use it.
Drum sander in stock?
One of the first things to make sure is that your local hire shop actually has a drum sander in stock. It seems obvious, but clearing a room, and doing all the preparation work is quite an undertaking if you then can’t get the equipment you need. Drum sanders are heavy duty machines, so it’s unlikely the average hire shop will have a large number in stock, so plan accordingly and phone ahead to book.
Gradients of paper
In any floor sanding endeavour, you will need a gradient of sandpaper, beginning with something more rough and moving down gradually to a finer grit. It is always advisable to buy more than you need, as most hire shops will buy back unused paper for re-sale, and running out could further delay finishing the work. Drum sanders are not always the most straightforward to load paper into, so it is certainly no harm to have the shop load the first run onto the machine so you can get an idea of how to change it yourself later on.
Drum sanders are large, industrial strength machines and must be treated as such. The proper safety equipment is absolutely essential when using this machine, and even small lapses can cause a vast array of injuries. Fundamentally, the need to be safety conscious being the second you leave the hire shop. The drum sander is very heavy, so will need to be lifted carefully, ideally with more than one able bodied pair of hands. Once you get it into your home, there is also a need to be careful with the power limitations, so don’t use extension leads as they will likely be damaged by the high voltage, possibly even presenting a fire risk.
Lastly, it would be wise to use some protective gear, both in terms of eye protection, and a mask to prevent dust related injuries. Although newer drum sanders have excellent dust minimising solutions, there will always be some residual particles, which can be dangerous to breath in, or if they get in your eyes.
Although the drum sander may seem like a daunting prospect initially, it offers a really efficient way to get an excellent result. Other sanders, like an orbital sander, or chemical based wood stripping agents may offer a slightly less labour intensive option, the outcome is worth the extra effort, leaving you with an even textured floor for years to come.
For more about the equipment you need to sand your floors, read this recent post.