About Me

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All claims are strictly my personal opinion.

james draper profile pictureWho Am I?

Hello there, my name’s James Draper and I’m an experienced professional craftsman. My father owned a small woodworking shop and I helped him (or tried to!) in any way I could, it was his absolute favorite thing to do whenever he had time and that passion passed on to me.
Seeing him turn old, beaten down furniture into seemingly brand new objects with a simple sanding machine blew my mind and to this day the thing I love most is to bring life back to old things. I’ve owned a professional shop since I was 24 and now, at 45 (time flies!), I run it successfully and couldn’t be happier doing anything else.

Why did I Create Sander Score?

My friends constantly come to me for information and advice about anything related to craftsmanship, especially when it comes to sanding because they know that it’s my favorite skill and the one I dedicate the most time to. The word started to spread and I got more and more requests for advice, including lessons on how to properly sand objects and surfaces, how to pick the best sanding machine for the job and my favorite – how to set-up a great small shop on a budget. I love to help and since this is what I love I’m more than happy to share my experience. This is where the idea for SanderScore came from. I wanted to share with the world my knowledge of sanding (my favorite skill) and write the best articles and guides I could about it, such as what the best machines are, my favorite brands, safety equipment and how to use a power sander.

I love to answer your questions and clear any doubts about sanding or anything related to craftsmanship so I encourage you to leave a comment or even shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to answer you! Thank you for reading, I sincerely appreciate your company and I hope I was able to help you!


  1. Hello James
    I live in the UK and was looking to get the Black and Decker BDEMS600 ‘mouse’ sander which comes high in your recommendations. Unfortunately the item appears to be unavailable in the UK. Do you know if there is a comparable version sold in the uk?

    • Hey Ann – sometimes the same model has a different name in different countries, sometimes leading to confusion. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the BDEM600 being sold in the UK under “BLACK+DECKER KA2500K-GB”, give it a try and let me know if you find it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

  2. I would like to remove the paint from a coffee table but on a fixed budget. Would the Black and Decker Detailer BDEM600 be strong enough to remove paint? I also have a fireplace facade that I would like to sand/detail.

    • Hey Sheryl, sorry for the late reply – I was on vacation! And yes, the BDEM600 is strong enough to remove paint on the items you’ve mentioned – as long as the paint layers are fairly thin and the wood surfaces are not too damaged. Good luck!

  3. Hi James,I’ve got a pine lodge,the size of a static caravan.The south facing side knees stripping right back to bare wood after layers of stain are failing,and water based coats of stain have been sandwiched between oil based coats.The timber is solid,4” T+G,profile and I was thinking festool R90 or Mirca but will accept and be guided by your superior experience,with a view to using the highly rated abranet mesh system.
    The cost of machine is,what it is,for this job as long as the tool is up to the job. After completion the sander can be put to good use with all my decorating DIY etc
    Thanks in anticipation and all advice gratefully received

    • Hey Andy, hope you’re having a great weekend!
      Considering all the traits of this type of job, you’ve actually aced the machine choice – both the Festool R90 or the Mirca DEROS are fantastic options with the edge going to the R90 due to the possibility to change pad shape (into a detail sheet for example). If you want to spend less and get an equally good match, you could always go with the less expensive Festool ETS 150/3 EQ and couple it with the super affordable BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600 Detail Sander to ensure that you reach every little corner with ease and achieve a perfect result. When it comes to sandpaper, I’d have to go with the Abranet as you mentioned. Start with around 80 to to 120 grit to remove all the old layers of coats without damaging the wood then move on up to around 150 to 240 to achieve a fine, smooth surface that’s ready to get a fresh coat.
      Hope that helps! Be sure to leave another comment if you need any further guidance – I’ll be here.

      • Hi Mr Draper. I am now retired and have been slowly getting my wood working shop in order. My sanding device is ( was ) a 6 foot stroke sander built by the Mennonite’s, it is a heavily built machine but does not do the fine job I need for the projects I work with. I have been researching drum sanders and read all your reviews. I reside in Ontario Canada and some machines can not be found here. Because I am on a fixed income I am searching for a good used machine. I think a 25 inch to 27 inch drum sander would do what I need to do at this time. I was told to stay away from the open end sanders because they tend to lose their stability and will not give you a uniform sand across the width of the lumber. I also read that many of the machines have table height adjustment issues. Help, I do not need a job repairing machines that are not reliable. General seems to jump out at me. I also have miles of different grit 6 inch sand paper that I would use on my new machine when and if I find one. Any suggestions??

        • Hey Ron! Open end drum sanders have deeply evolved in recent years to become a very, very solid choice although closed will always give you the most quality and stability – that’s a guarantee. Now, I’m not sure which machines you’ve got available in Canada but from experience, General (which you mentioned) is very similar to Grizzly (I tried a dual drum sander) which makes it a solid choice – if possible, keep an eye out for Powermatic as well. If you can find it, I’d highly recommend that you get a model with digital readings on height – they give you the most accuracy and the table height adjustment is often a breeze. Hope that helps and good luck!

  4. Hi James. I’m looking for a solution to a problem I have with interior paint in a room in my house. The paint was low odour and left an unpleasant smell which is still present nearly 4 years later. It is due to a problem in manufacture and likely to due bacteria presence in the paint. I think the best solution is to try to remove the paint and start again. Do you think sanding would be a safe option? There are four or more layers of paint to remove. Would a pro sander and vacuum work? Do they remove a layer of plaster too?
    Any advice appreciated

    • Hello Miss Hunt. I’ve had the same issue myself and sadly there’s no escaping it when it happens. While you could try to paint over it and wish for the best, a refinish would be the best option even though it’d take a few more hours of work. Sanding walls is fairly easy as long as you’ve got the right machine and a vacuum is essential to prevent a huge mess all over your house and to maintain a breathable atmosphere as well. Plaster walls are a breeze to sand safely, as opposed to drywall, so you don’t have to worry – just sand away evenly until you notice the plaster itself showing up. If you want to know which sanders are the best for the job, you can take a look at this article that I wrote dedicated to this subject. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend – if you’ve got any other questions feel free to leave another comment, I’ll be here!

  5. Please help with advice. I am an experienced DIYer that recently tried a RO sander for the first time. The bad experience – detailed below – left me hesitant to use a ROS with a hook & loop attachment system. The problem with discs flying off and not reattaching is stuck in my alarm register. Should I just go to a stick-on pad system or try a different H&L pad/sander? Any feedback will be appreciated.

    • Hey Del, before answering I want to say that I read the review but I had to shorten the comment due to its length. Now let’s get to it!
      Between H&L or stick pads I heavily favor the hook and loop system. I’ve used both and noticed that with H&L I consume less paper, get better finish results and it’s easier and faster to change the paper. One thing you’re 100% spot on is that the quality of the H&L pad varies heavily with each machine and brand, giving you wildly different results and durability. This applies to both the machine and the sandpaper brand as well, they both contribute. I would have advised you to try a few different brands of sandpaper before switching the machine as it could have fixed the problem.
      About the h&l system itself though, I can say with confidence that it’s much better (in my opinion of course) than the stick pads. In my view it’s a true step up in quality and performance, hence the reason for its tremendous popularity since it started being used.
      That said, if you have the possibility you should give a Bosch RO sander a try – any model. They are among the very best and that applies to the H&L system of the machines as well so I’m sure it’ll make you regain faith in H&L machines.
      Thanks for stopping by and be sure to leave another comment if you have any other questions!

      • My sincere thanks for the informative reply and encouragement. Given the popularity of the H&L systems, it seemed there was something basic I was not informed about. My ROS experience left me feeling snakebit. Sadly, trusting brands is almost a thing of the past. It is pretty hard to keep up with which ones have let quality control slide.

        Nonetheless, what brands of sanding discs do you find reliable and durable?

        • No problem Del, that’s what I’m here for. Yup, these days the built-to-last mentality seems to have been slightly forgotten but some brands still stand the test of time. For sanding discs I’d have to recommend Mirka Abranet, while all of Mirka’s sandpaper “models” are great the Abranet really knocks it out of the park in both performance and durability. Every since I’ve tried them I haven’t gone back – get a box of them as a test and I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

  6. Hi I am lookimg at the When 6502 Belt Disc Sander.Our Power supply is 210-230 volts, with the suitable plug adapter can I connect direct to my power supply, or do I require a power transformer

    • Directly is fine Neil, the outlet dictates everything and any machine works on it without any conversion needed. Have a Merry Christmas!

  7. Great comparison James and very helpful. I’m just waiting for Black Friday sale to order my new Powermatic http 31A 1791291K Belt / Disc Sander. I have plenty of 110v or 220v single ph. outlets in my shop. From a performance / efficiency / economical standpoint…. is it better to wire the motor for 110v or 220v?
    Also, do you have any recommendations on sand paper products from a performance / durability / price point that you would use on this machine?

    • Hey Ray, I’m glad you found it useful! I’m sure that Black Friday will bring on some fantastic deals so that’s a great choice. If I can, I use 220V wiring since it’s thinner and safer than the regular 110v. From a performance and economical standpoint it’s the same, they both use the same power (kilowatts) it’s just the amperage that changes (gets halved in 220V wiring and as such there’s less risk of heating dangers).
      When it comes to the sandpaper for the 31A combo, Powertec and Sungold belts are nice and economical and the 3M belts are the very best. For the 12″ disc I’d say Powertec and Woodstock are great inexpensive options while the 3M once again are fantastic but pricier. Hope I’ve helped Ray and have a fantastic week!

  8. Great picture Mr.Draper, good luck with everything and thanks for the help!

  9. Love you James! Keep up the amazing work!

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