Monday, June 5, 2017

The Sanding Arsenal

My Dad always said that "tools are half the job".  When it comes to sanding, that is for sure the truth.
If you use sandpaper that is too fine or a sander that is too small, it will take you forever to do a big job.

Efficient sanding usually involves starting with a coarse grit paper to remove the bulk of the material and then working toward finer grits to get rid of the deep scratches made by the coarse grits and leave you with a smoother finished surface.

Velcro, Softie Glue On, Hard Glue On, and Bolt On
 Here are the sanding pads we use on the 8" variable speed polisher/sander. 
Stick On (velcro) and Glue On Discs
The Velcro pad (yellow) is easy but the paper is expensive and not readily available.  The Glue On (white) is great for whatever sandpaper is locally available but 60 grit is usually coarsest available.  Sandpaper is stuck to the Glue On pads with 3M Spray Adhesive.  The Smoothie (blue) is a Glue On but is soft and normally used for surfboard finishing because it conforms better to curved surfaces.  

The last one is a Bolt On which is used with coarse resin impregnated discs for aggressive sanding.  It uses 7" hard discs that are available from the hardware stores here.  They are available in 20 and 36 grit.

Polisher, Mouse, and Dremel
The grinder on the left is an 8" cheap Chinese tool.  It is my 3rd one.  The first one died from lack of grease.  The 2nd one dies because water killed the electronic speed controller, and this 3rd one is a plain vanilla cheapest one available and has been the best.  Always disassemble and re-grease even a brand new Chinese angle polisher. 

The middle sander is a Black and Decker Mouse.  It is a vibrating sander and takes Velcro backed sandpaper which is not always available so I use 5" or 6" Velcro orbital sanding disks and trim them to size.

The last sander is a Dremel.  This is great for preparing and repairing gouges and cracks but not very useful for finish sanding.

Adapt SAE to Metric
When working in a metric country (most of the world), the spindle size is 14mm whereas the US size it 5/8-11.  If you need to buy a pad anywhere except the US, it probably won't fit.  That is why I bought this adapter on ebay.  Now I can use any attachment from anywhere in the world, on my 5/8 thread polisher.

Finally, hand sanding is how you want to finish most surfaces.  Foam blocks do a good job but if you are confined to small spaces, cutting up rubber squeegees may be the best bet.