was rated "Most Expensive" and NOT the best. It did about average
compared to the rest of the group. Of the 9 disks tested the 3M did not
do any better than any other paper when comparing finish quality and hook
and loop grip. It scored C+ for agrsssiveness. It did however shine in
the catagory of readability of grit. The 3M discs were 3 times more
expensive than disks that scored much better.
In all fairness to you, the chart you probably saw in the article leads on
to believe that the 3M is the best. Looking closer at the chare reveals
that the chart is an indicator of cost vs. performance.
Funny you should ask. True story:
I just bought some 3M Sandblaster paper about a week ago. Next day I
headed out to the shop to start some sanding. I do a lot of sanding. Five
minutes, later I came back in and sat down at the table across from the
missus. She set her coffee down and looked up from the mail with that
"Now what?" expression of hers.
I must have smiled. "You know how I always come in here and complain
whenever things go wrong? When advertisers over-rate their products? When
reality falls short of expectations?"
"You mean how you view mishaps as an opportunity to take a break? And
how you always go on and on whining whenever the slightest little
obstacle comes up?" she grinned. "What happened now?"
"See this?" I held up a dusty 1/4 sheet of the yellow paper. "This stuff
"I can see that," she said.
"No, I mean this stuff is the bomb!" I sounded like a 12 year old gushing
over a new pair of sneakers. "Really! It's great! This is the best
sandpaper I have ever used. Oh, I've seen the same propaganda before --
cuts 3 times faster, lasts 3 times longer -- but it's never been true.
This stuff really works! It's more like five or ten times better!"
She laughed and turned back to her bills. I headed back out the shop. It
briefly crossed my mind to step into the office and post a message to the
wreck, but I reconsidered. "Nah. Who gets excited about sandpaper?"
Jim, you might want to pick up the latest issue of Wood magazine. The 3M
Sandblaster was tested against 9 other brands of papers. The 3M did
alost as good as the other brands but it was 3 times more expensive than
the brands that did better.
Thanks for the tip, Leon. I will certainly have to do that. I've been
buying and using sandpaper for a good coupla years now (tongue firmly in
cheek), and I wonder how I could have missed those other 8 brands all
I seriously doubt an article could change my opinion, formed as it has
been from personal experience. However, if the article points me to a
brand that I find works better, I'll be nothing but happier and would be
delighted to relay the news.
I have for the last 15 years or so only used PC brand and 3M brand sand
paper. I at one time worked for a 3M wholesale distributor and had my pick
of any thing that we stocked and got it at no charge. I brought home
several rolls of 250 count sanding disks. I agree that 3M makes a good
product as far as the sand paper is concerned but there are "just as good
products" out there that cost much less. For me cost was not a factor.
The other brands dont advertise as much as 3M does and you simply do not see
the other brands being sold in the common Borg's. Norton, Mirca, and 3M are
often more commonly seen in the businesses that cater to the trades.
I didn't see that article. I'd like to know what sandpapers it claimed was
better. The 3M stuff saved me about four hours yesterday. Absolutely the
best I've ever used. If there is actually something better I wanna know
about it. I'd like to make my own comparisons cause I don't believe
everything I read.
PS I get excited about sandpaper when I can sand latex paint and/or laquer
down to bare wood in about ten or twelve strokes using 150 grit.
Just got the mag in yesterday's mail (I'm in NH) and read the article
quickly. The best rated sandpaper was the Klingspor open coat paper.
It was rated the most "aggressive," I believe. The best "value" was
the Klingspor stearated disks. The 3M "sandblaster" product rated
pretty well, but because it was so much more expensive, it didn't do
The 3-M stuff costs about a buck and a half more (in SW Ohio) for three
sheets than four sheets of the regular paper. I've only used a half sheet so
far whereas I would used at least three or four (full sheets)of the other
stuff by now. I've only used the paper. The sponges etc. were quite
expensive and I didn't need any at the time. If I ever see the Kligspor
paper I'll have to try some. The extra buck and a half was a great deal
considering it saved me about $120.00 in labor. Another thing I thought was
cool. I just folded the paper in half and it tore right apart easily. Didn't
need to cut it. Thinking about this I'm not sure it would hold up well in an
orbital sander. Has anybody tried it?
Grit 220 worked great in my ROS. The initial experience that prompted my
earlier post was for that followed by hand-sanding with 320 and 400. All
three grits were remarkable.
The first interesting thing I noticed is the apparent disregard the
product has for variations in the hardness of the material being sanded.
It easily and cleanly leveled some CA (super glue) seams in hardwood. In
general, CA sands poorly, especially with finer grits; it tends to clog
the paper, and most papers tend to cut the wood adjacent to the glue
joint much faster than the glue itself, so that without extraordinary
care, a noticeable hump is left at the joint. Not so this in this case.
The paper effortlessly left a smooth, flat, nearly invisible seam.
Some not quite perfectly dry bloodwood did clog the paper a bit, although
to a significantly lesser degree than usual, and after much more
(literally 3-5x longer) sanding than usual. If you haven't worked it
before, bloodwood has a very waxy sap, and although it sands and polishes
to an incredible finish, it does use up abrasive paper doing so.
I finished sanded four gaboon ebony chisel handles by hand, grits 220,
320, and 400. This used (but did not use up) approximately 1 to 1-1/2
square inches of paper for each grit, and took less than ten minutes
work. In contrast, the same task usually consumes 3-5 square inches of
paper per grit, and takes twenty to thirty minutes. Ebony is kind of
In addition, the paper itself is interesting. It's flexible enough to
follow gentle contours without cracking or wrinkling. It doesn't seem to
tear easily unless I'm trying to tear it. Specifically, I had no problem
tearing sheets into quarters or eighths, but it did not tear as many
sandpapers do at the seam when used while folded in half, nor did the
grit come off the paper at the folds.
Just another couple of data points.
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