Over the past several years, wide-bodied drum sanders have become popular in home woodworking shops, as we continue our quest to take the drudgery out of sanding.
Like a thickness planer, though, those tools can only make two opposite faces of a workpiece parallel. The Sand-Flee PS35000 isn't limited in that way. In fact, the Sand-Flee works more like a jointer. After setting the stainless-steel tabletop just a hair lower than the top of the drum during the initial setup, you pass the workpiece over the drum by hand, giving you control over the feed rate and pressure. In my tests, I found it impossible to bog down the tool's 1/3-hp motor, no matter how hard I pushed. The lack of a self-feeding mechanism is a big plus in many ways. For example, I easily sanded some very small scrollsawn workpieces that would get lost between the pressure roller and drum of a traditional horizontal drum sander. You also can sand extra-thick or tall workpieces on the Sand-flee because you're not limited by the distance between the feed belt and drum. (Most drum sanders max out at about 3" of thickness.) It's especially handy for sanding box joints and dovetails smooth after assembly. Although workpieces shorter than about 2'long sand like a dream, keeping consistent pressure on longer workpieces is more problematic, and I couldn't get as smooth a surface as I get sanding those same pieces on my self-feeding drum sander. Hook-and-loop abrasives install quickly on the Sand-Flee's 19"-long polycarbonate drum, so you can start and stop an abrasive strip anywhere along the drum. I loaded three grits of progressively finer paper on different parts of the drum and quickly sanded a narrow workpiece through three grits without changing paper. Much of the dust created drops harmlessly below the tabletop, and a 2-1/2" dust port hooks nicely to a shop vacuum to make it even cleaner. The manufacturer touts the Sand-Flee as "portable," and it is, to some degree. You can stand it on edge for storage so it doesn't always take up the 21x35" footprint created by the wooden mounting base, which, by the way, you must provide. —Tested by Marlen Kemmet



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