Benchtop drum thickness sander
Greetings! So my girl bought me a book over xmas titled “Make Your Own Ukelele”. This $20 book has cost me about $250 so far as I follow the white rabbit ever deeper.
I just pushed the button on a small benchtop drum thickness sander by Jet, the JWDS-1020 for just over $800. Since it is on backorder I thought I’d open it up to the varied opinions of this merry little band whilst I still have time to un-push the button.
Thanks in advance, MJ
I have the Jet 18-36, not the benchtop, but I have a lot of miles of lumber through mine.
I use it primarily to thickness really thin stock, from .050 to .125. There is really no other way to to that on a lot of pieces, so I find it indispensable.
Its also a very frustrating machine at times. Its very slow. If you try to take off too much at once, it will burn a ring in the paper, and you'll be changing paper often.
It is the tool I have the greatest love/hate relationship with, but I couldn't do without it.
Its not the same model as yours, but I'm guessing its still relevant.
I think you've made a good choice. I have a Performax/Jet 10-20 sander that's 11 years old and it still works great.
Many benchtop sanders can only sand down to 1/8 inch, but the JET can go less than 1/16 inch. Perfect for things like Shaker Boxes and shop-made veneer.
You'll get the best possible results with good strong dust collection.
I just bought the Jet 10/20 as an extra for work. It has been great so far. Nice size. Picked a scratch and dent one new for a good price. Happy camper so far.
I don't have that particular unit but I think it's pretty universal that small drum sanders are very useful and extremely irritating machines. Expect a learning curve, some issues and have fun with it.
Why would anyone want to make a ukulele?
Haaaaa... ummm.. right.?
Thanks all, I think I'll let it deliver. Another Q: does the double-wide thing really work?
I've used the double width feature just a couple of times to sand a panel. It works, but you have to have the cantilever set up just right, and it's slow.
I use 120 grit on pretty much anything. 80 grit is faster, but it leaves really deep scratches. Anything finer than 120 is too slow, and still requires hand sanding after.
I buy giant rolls of mostly Jet paper from Kingsport, as the least expensive approach. The back is marked with the lines to cut the paper to the right length. You can get precut pieces, but it's more expensive.
Getting the cantilever just right is finicky. You want the thickness sanded to be equal across the width of the drum. A little thicker on the outboard side if you want to sand double wide panels. Newer 18/36 sanders have a better adjustment mechanism. I settled on shimming the bed with pieces of paper to make fine adjustments, rather than loosening large bolts and tightening to get the drum arm to even thickness, which is really hard to do.
I ordered 1 pack of each grit to start, maybe I'll drop the highest & lowest. I have a 120 belt on the 6x48 that never gets changed, so I'm guessing I'll wind up settling in to one of them out of laziness. Now I just need to figure out a home for it. It's looking like the scroll saw is headed to craigslist.
If you don't already have one, you're going to need a decent dust collector.
Just a thought you can get Supermax 16-32 for a little more than $300 more, it has a stand, but I don't see why you couldn't put it on a benchtop. And I believe they are in stock. I ordered mine through Amazon it was here in 2 days.
I love mine. Belt changes are a snap, power is good, dust collection is superb. The new models have DRO's and self adjusting feed rate.
You do realize the first ukelele will be worth close to $1G, right? ha ha
Another cheaper option is to buy a bench top thickness planer for much less than $800. Most woodworkers get this before a drum sander and use it more often. If you need to thickness to 1/8 to 1/16, look into the Brian Boggs vacuum box for your bench top planer. It will cost you a few dollars to construct and take less than an hour to assemble.
I can't even get down to 1/8 on my thickness planer without the board literally disintegrating as it passes under the knives. I tried it a couple of times, and it cost me a couple of nice pieces of cherry and two good pairs of underwear.
Thought about the larger one, but it comes down to space. If I ever take over the room next to my shop (now part of my office) I'll be making all kinds of changes, but for now it has to be the benchtop.
The first one got done, a "boxter". I'll post a photo at some point. The second one I'm going for the curvy sides etc. I also have to learn how to play I suppose.
Thanks for the suggestion, I suppose I fit in the most woodworkers category. I already have a 12" helical jointer / planer that gets me to just under 1/8" but I need to be at less than half of that. I put in a raised bed, but the planer gets very hungry going any thinner.
The sander arrived today and like most brand new toys I'm enjoying it. What is the realistic expectation for flat and true on one of these? What I've run so far is not coming out with parallel faces, and upon reversing and sending through again (without changing the drum height) it bites again and I get a hump in the middle of the stock.
It's not off by much, can a machine like this (Jet 1020 benchtop) really be dialed into "abrasive planer" territory?
You can get it dialed in, but it's work.
I'm not sure exactly how yours is adjusted, but hers what I did on my Jet 16-32.
There are 4 bolts that hold the drum and upper arm to the base. Loosen the 4 bolts, adjust the drum parallel to the conveyor, tighten the bolts.
But it doesn't work well. Just tightening the bolts can through it off. The new 16-32 has an adjustment that's supposed to help, but mine doesn't have that feature.
I adjusted mine so it is a wee bit high on the open end of the drum. So that would be a few thousandths thicker than nearest the motor. Then I use some scraps of paper as shims, underneath the conveyor, where it is bolted to the base. Paper is fine as a shim, as it won't compress. And you can use different thicknesses of paper to get the bed parallel to the arm.
So really, it's easier to adjust the conveyor than the arm. You can get it pretty exact.
I just got one too - a Hafco Woodmaster though, which is basically a Korean copy of the jet.
I find it invaluable for thinner stock, and it is very, very good at handling gnarly grain that would otherwise be almost impossible to plane well.
I have a frame for mine, which is a tad large. Adding castors to the base has had two advantages - the greater height means that work will pass over other tools and it can be filed out of the way easily - the thing is a serious space-hog.
mine came adjusted well out of the factory. Across a board it was close enough to perfect that I was unable to measure any difference with a caliper capable of 0.05mm. Probably less than the depth of an 80 grit scratch.
Got the sander dialed in to .005, which I am sure was at least half luck. I'm liking the machine so far.
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