I know this has been kicked around a few times but I need an opinion. I am a small one man shop. As a full time firefighter I only do small jobs and am not necessarily steady at the moment. I currently hand sand all my face frames with a RO as that is all I have. I have an opportunity to buy a Jet 16-32 drum sander. It is not my first choice but I don't know that I can pass up the deal. A friend of mine's father-in-law bought it and subsequently passed away before it was even un-boxed. It is now taking up space in my friendís garage and he offered it to me. Again it is brand new in the box. It retails for $1099.99. He wants $400.00 for it.
I know it is not a wide-belt and it is an open end. However, I am currently hand sanding. I am sure it could increase my production and consistency over my current operation but I am not sure if I should take up the space if it is not going to help me out or cause me other finish type work. What do you all think? Again, I know a widebelt is what I need and want but that is a ways off. Should I look for a better, wider drum, or take the deal?
From contributor U:
It wouldn't be my first choice either but for that price I don't think you could go wrong. If you set it up and used it once and didn't like it, you could sell it locally and recover your money. As far as drum vs. belt goes, most of the guys on here are going to tell you to get a belt. I think the decision should be made based upon what you are going to do with it. If you are going to build your own doors and plenty of them then definitely go with the belt.
We are a two-three man shop and we outsource our doors. Our drum sander works well for us as we mainly only run face frames, drawer fronts, etc. through it. We used a random orbit for years because we didn't have the drum. The drum definitely takes a lot of time off of sanding.