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July 17, 2020 4 min read

how to cut drum sanding strips

Quick Summary

Cutting your own drum sanding strips is an easy way to save money without jeopardizing the quality of finished workpieces. You can cut sanding strips from sanding rolls or sanding belts. Cutting from sanding rolls is the more ideal solution. The key is to trim the leading edge so that the angled edge matches the drum circumference.

Topics Covered

Drum sanders do a great job of flattening and smoothing wide wooden panels and plastic stock. The larger ones can be operated like bench machines and use a range of drum sizes and abrasive grits.

Most abrasives suppliers will sell you abrasive strips pre-cut to the precise length that you need, with the angled ends also cut to match your drum sander’s specifications. While this approach is the most convenient one, it’s also the most expensive. If you use a premium abrasive like zirconia, the cost can add up. 

In this blog, we’ll explain how to cut your own drum sanding strips, which can yield the sizes you need at a competitive price.

Cutting Sanding Strips From Sanding Rolls

Buying entire rolls and cutting your own strips is the most economical option. The trick is to trim the abrasive strip’s leading edge so that the angled edge matches the drum circumference. The angle will change depending on how narrow or wide the strip is (3” to 6” are the most popular), but the length will not always cut the edge to make it equal to the circumference of the drum. If you always use the same width, you can save time by using an old strip as the blueprint for cutting new ones.

If you’d like to go this route for your drum sanding strips, Red Label Abrasives actually sells sanding rolls specifically for drum sanders. Our drum sanding rolls are designed to be the appropriate dimensions for drum sanders and are easy to cut into strips. There’s no need to pay extra when you don’t need to. 

Determining The Dimensions Needed For Your Drum Sander

In order to know the dimensions of the sanding rolls you’ll need to order, it helps to know the dimensions of your drum sander. You can use our guide below to determine the size of the rolls you’ll need.

Make

Model

Roll Size (Width)

Number of Wraps/Roll

Delta

18-36

2” wide roll

5 strips

Jet Performax

10-20

2” wide roll

13 strips

Jet Performax

22-44

3" or 3 1/8" wide roll

6 strips

Jet Performax

25-2

3" wide roll

6 strips

Jet Performax

16-32

3” wide roll

9 strips

Ryobi

WDS1600

3" wide roll

9 strips

Woodtek

25-2

3" wide roll

6 strips

Woodtek

37"

6" wide roll

4 strips

Powermatic

25"

4" wide roll

4 strips

 

Cutting Sanding Strips From Sanding Belts 

Another method some shops or individuals use is to cut sanding belts that are slightly (a few inches at most) longer than the required length. Custom-sized sanding belts can be bought in smaller multiples, making them less expensive than an entire roll or an entire box of pre-cut sanding strips. All you have to do is cut the joint away and angle the ends so that they match the circumference of your drum.

Some shop owners hesitate at the thought of purchasing 50 to 70-foot bulk rolls of sandpaper. Depending on the length of the strips they need, they could end up with surplus ‘waste’ at the end of the roll. This extra material can be used on a pad sander or for jobs done by hand, and the cost savings you realize when buying in bulk more than compensates for any leftover material you might have.

Whatever method you use to cut your own drum sanding strips, make sure that you buy a high-quality abrasive. Abrasives with a cloth backing are less stiff and rigid when compared to paper backings, which will help to prevent chatter marks on your workpiece.  At Red Label Abrasives, options include aluminum oxide and premium zirconia drum sander rolls available in widths of two to six inches, lengths of 50 to 70 feet, and different grits to suit a wide range of applications. Both types deliver a quality finish while reducing heat and loading, ensuring results that you’ll be happy with.

Contact An Abrasive Specialist

At Red Label Abrasives, our drum sanding rolls are compatible with leading brands like Jet Performax, Ryobi, Supermax, and Woodtek. You can cut them to match the size of the cylinder on your sander, which represents a huge cost savings if you buy a new and different-sized unit in the future. 

We’re a family-owned business that has been producing premium quality abrasives for both hobbyists and industrial manufacturers since 1982. All of our abrasives are produced to order to ensure you’re getting fresh products. We can also custom manufacture abrasives to meet your exact needs. Please visit our online store and if you have questions about the best product for your needs, please call 844-824-1956 or fill out a contact form.