For both the aforementioned sander machines, the method is the same. You begin with a rough paper, which will smoothen the ridges between the boards. This will shape a uniform surface. Further, every grit is created to remove the ridges from the paper preceding it.
The sequence that the paper will follow starts at 36 or 40, followed by 60 grit, 80 grit, 100 grit, and finally, 120 grit. You can also reach 180 or 220. It is better to try hand sanding 2 sample pieces and applying some oil before proceeding to the subsequent step.
The drum sander is definitely not recommended if you are attempting to sand for the first time. Although these have a very efficient drive, and a rotating belt to do a great job, they are not easy to learn to use. Furthermore, if you make a mistake, the potential damages could be costly. If you still want to start out, you have to start on the high ground.
There are two types of sanders: lever sanders and tip sanders. Both operate using sandpaper belts. Out of the two, the tip sander is the easiest to use. They are characterized by two wheels which help you tilt the machine when you want to change directions. The level sander, on the other hand, lifts the machine mechanically and brings the drum lower.
Make sure you start with the paper away from the floor. When you tilt the machine down, and after the sandpaper touches the wood, you will start feeling a pull. This makes you switch action from push to pull.
Bear in mind that you have to keep the machine moving for all types of sanders. In case you stay for too long in the same place, you would get a hole in that area, which would take you a bit more added effort to fix the grit.
After you have completed the 120 grit pass, you may wet the surface. Then you have to wait for the surface to dry before you make a pass of 120 screens. It might feel that skipping a step would make your job easy, but this is a wrong perception. If you happen to go from 60 to 100 grit, you will have to spend a long time attempting to wear down ridges using paper that is not suited to the job.
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