An abrasive cleaning stick can go a long way toward keeping your sandpaper clean and unclogged. Why is that a big deal? Clogged sandpaper won’t sand effectively, and will probably burn your stock. This is especially true on surface sanders. However, what can you do when a simple cleaning isn’t enough? Is it possible to get those tough clogs and burns out of the paper on your drum sander? Probably. The key is in using something a little more aggressive than an abrasive cleaning stick.
What’s the magic ingredient?
You’re probably wondering what the trick is. If a cleaning stick won’t do it, what will? You may not expect this answer, but a piece of polycarbonate is the answer. Available at home centers, polycarbonate can do an amazing job of getting tough spots out of paper on your drum sander. The only problem with the approach? It puts a gross smell in your shop at your cleaning the sandpaper.
Tips on using a cleaning stick
Abrasive cleaning sticks are really incredible and work great for cleaning surface sanding belts, but there are a few good tricks for using them. Especially when they start to get small, and you don’t want to get your pinkies too close to the sanding drum.
The final puzzle piece
Knowing how to clean the abrasive on your drum sander isn’t much good if you’re not familiar with wrapping sandpaper on a surface sander. Don’t sweat it, we’re here to help you with that.
Polycarbonate (Lexan) is stronger than acrylic (Plexiglas). Cutting acrylic with a table or band saw creates lots of messy shards. It appears that the resin on the paper sticks to the melting plastic and then flies off in your shop. I haven’t used polycarbonate but I did check the prices of it and it’s probably cheaper to just replace the sandpaper on the drum.
Do you know if acrylic will work the same as polycarbonate for this trick? I have lots of acrylic onhand for my laser engraver.
Sorry but I do not know.
Woodworkers Guild of America
Hi George … I have had good results soaking my sanding strips in warm water and dish soap. I let them soak for an hour or two, scrub with a stiff brush, rinse, then hand up to dry overnight.
Fact of life with such sanders, have found removing them and soaking in warm water for several minutes with Krud Cutter from the box store makes them like new again, of course you’ll need a few on hand to keep going in the mean time.