Sanding Sleeves for Craftsman





Introduction: Sanding Sleeves for Craftsman

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

I have a sanding drum for my Craftsman radial arm saw, and I use it often for thicknessing and for preparing for joining without a planer/joiner. Here you can see an Instructable I did about that.

A few years ago Sears stopped offering these 2 1/4 x 3 inch sanding sleeves. I have been looking for a new source. I even considered trying to make my own. But, Shopsmith offers almost identical sanding sleeves at this link. See the second photo. The sleeves are sold in lots of six. It is possible to order six identical sleeves of your chosen grit, or to order a bag of six assorted grits.

"Almost identical" is the key phrase. The Shopsmith sleeves are just a little larger in diameter, but not much. This Instructable will show how to make Shopsmith sleeves fit a Craftsman drum.


  • Screwdriver
  • Paper cutter or scissors and ruler


  • 8 1/2 x 11 inch scrap copy paper

Step 1: The Problem

The left side of the photo shows an unused Craftsman sleeve I still have. The right of the photo shows the Craftsman sanding drum placed inside a Shopsmith sleeve. Craftsman sleeves slide onto the drum with some difficulty. The fit is very tight. The Shopsmith sleeves are loose, even after tightening the screw on the drum as much as possible.

Step 2: Make Paper Strips

Cut two strips almost 3 inches wide and 11 inches long from a piece of scrap copy paper. I used a paper cutter for a straight and accurate cut. A scissors would work, too. Measure and mark with a ruler first, though.

Step 3: Wrap and Slide the Sleeve Into Place

Place the two paper strips over one another and wrap the sanding drum with them. Slide the sleeve onto the paper around the drum.

Step 4: Tighten the Screw

The photo shows the screw in the end of the sanding drum. Turn it as tightly as possible. Screw the drum onto the threaded end of the saw's shaft and use.

My sanding drum will continue to be useful into the future, even though the original sleeves are no longer available at Sears.



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    Thank you. I was beginning to contemplate all sorts of devices, even adapting a belt sander. Then I found Shopsmith's sleeves. I hoped they were identical to what I had used. But, adding a little paper for shims works out well. Thank you for looking.

    Phil, please don't take my previous comment as disgruntle or anything but a precaution word. I've seen your projects on these forums many many times and know you can handle such things. I was merely pointing out the possibility for others that may not understand how it can happen easily. With typical drum sanders, there is a rotating rubber section underneath to control the feed rate and keep it from slinging out. I too have a Craftsman Radial Arm Saw with such a capability, but I also have planers and oscillating spindle sanders so I never use the sanding option of the Radial Arm saw. But a good idea if you can control it.

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    Thanks. I started using my sanding drum in place of planing edges because of an article I mentioned in one of the Instructables I linked. It was an article in a Popular Mechanics encyclopedia from about 1968. At the time I got my radial saw, there was no money for a planer, and I wanted to join pieces without a seam showing. There really are no control problems with the sanding drum. Doing the mathematics, one turn of the elevation crank on my radial arm saw changes the motor elevation 1/8 inch or 0.125 inch. Changes in elevation when I am thickness in something amounts to 1/8 or 1/10 of a turn of the crank. That is a change in cutting depth of around 0.015 inch or less. When preparing the edge of a piece for gluing, I move one end of a fence three feet long the thickness of my thumbnail nearer to the sanding drum.i can just about take my hand off of the work piece and the sanding drum does not move the piece, let alone throw it.

    These are actually quite a useful accessory. Typically in the back board (the one behind the fence) a "U" shaped cutout is there to allow vertical positioning of the sanding drum so that various portions of the sleeve can be exposed, making any kickback hazard nil. My DeWalt can handle either the arbor end or the accessory end of the motor for mounting it. In the U.S., Harbor Freight offers their version which uses cut to width and length bits of sheet sandpaper, thus obviating the need for stocking varied and specific sleeves and grits:

    Good to go in the drill press too!

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    I have seen those sanding drums at Harbor Freight. I already own my Craftsman sanding drum. I know many use them freehand to shape or remove saw marks from an edge. I like the extra benefit of being able to use a sanding drum to prepare an edge so well that you really have trouble trying to find the glue line between the two pieces, or making pieces uniform in thickness where that is needed.

    Nice idea. The only precaution I would add is make absolutely certain you have total control of the piece you are sanding. Because that setup will sling the wood very fast across the shop if it gets out of control, and someone could get hurt.

    1 reply

    Thank you for your concern. I have been doing this for decades. The "cuts" are very, very light. Anything heavier and there is cupping or burning, or both. The challenge is to keep the cut light enough to smooth without burning or cupping, and to keep the work moving under the drum at a pace that smoothes without little marks from a slight high spot on the drum. I understand the physics of the wood being slung, but it has never happened or even come close to it. Cupping and burning? Yes. I have seen that. Slinging? Not at all.