How to Safely Use a Drum Sander

Preventing injuries is the number one priority when using a drum sander. While there are obvious safety precautions such as wearing protective eye wear, proper handling of the sander is crucial. Different safety precautions should be taken depending on whether you are working with a drum sander that is mounted to an oscillating motor on a bench or using a smaller hand-held version.   

Dangers of Drum Sanders

One of the most dangerous areas of the drum sander is within 4 inches of the oscillating sander bit. It is important to not move too quickly when sanding wood. The other important thing to be aware of when sanding is that you should not sand too deeply with one swipe because you may lose your grip and injure yourself in the process. Using irregularly shaped wood pieces may also cause risks in the same fashion--so be sure to inspect the wood carefully before deciding to sand it.  

Hand-held Drum Sanders

While hand-held drum sanders can be quite convenient, they can also be more dangerous.  The most common hand-held drum sander is actually a bit that can be added to any common drill and used for larger pieces where a stationary sander will not work. Without careful eye coordination and a steady hand, it is easy for hand-held sanders to get away from you, not only causing harm to your project but to yourself as well.  

Other Considerations

Do not try to use a drum sander to work on pieces that are too small or not properly clamped. This is definitely a recipe for disaster--so be sure to clamp all small wood pieces properly before using the sander.  

Remember that the drum sander has much more power than most hand-held belt sanders and that they use courser grit paper. This alone can make the machine more dangerous. 

When working with hand-held drum sanders attached to drills that are not cordless, be careful with the cord and always keep it behind you and the piece that you are working on. 

Always make sure the exhaust ventilation is turned on while working--especially when working with larger pieces.  

Inspect the wood before beginning to the sand and check for any strange irregularities or impurities in the wood.

When working with a drum sander for long periods of time, always wear proper hearing protection.