Thanks for your answer on a Fein sandpaper alternative. It's good to hear
that I will not need a special backing pad. Do you have a source for Abranet
in the GTA? Or do you have a preferred US source. Thanks, JG
I use the pad protector, I don't know where you were told not to. The
fact is that the mesh is uniform and therefore can abrade on both sides,
you do not want it slightly abrading your sander's pad. Thus, using a
pad protector insulates your sander's pad which is presumably an
expensive part to replace. The pad protectors are less expensive and
Here's what Robert at Beaver Tools wrote me some time ago:
the MK9955 pad protector will work with the Festool 5" sander. If you
are using Abranet always use a pad protector with any sander that is
used. The pad protectors are cheaper to replace than the cost of the
pad. They are designed by Mirka to work with Hook & Loop pads to better
grip the Abranet abrasive.
I bought mine at Beaver Tools in St. Louis: beavertools.com I tried to
give some business to a distributer in Calsbad, but he never got back to
me on my order. Beaver Tools came through -- and with a wider
assortment of the product line.
Also, the grit of the Abranet is a bit more aggressive that the grits
I'm used to. I gather the grit rating has undergone a recent change,
but I noticed that the 400 Abranets did not polish ebony like 400 paper
did. This difference could be that the 400 paper tended to wear down
and become more like 600.
At any rate, I think the Abranet mesh is a milestone in woodworking, I
even use them by hand. I highly recommend Abranet.
In reply to both JGS and John Poole:
I buy my Abranet, by the box, in 180, 240, 320, 400 and 600 grit.
Usually larger quantities in 240 and 320. That's the solid surface
business for ya.
I buy mine from www.justintimefactorysupplies.com in St. Thomas
Ontario, near London. I know he stocks my disks, I am not sure if he
stocks sheets and rolls. Abralon is another way to get to much finer
grits-that competes with 3M Micron papers.
Norm is the guy to talk to. He also carries some of the replacement
Mirka pads for different sanders.
Velcro and Hook&Loop are quite different in make-up. The Abranet sticks
way better to H&L and that is the one reason to use an intermediate
pad. The Abranet screen itself does not have abrasive on the back, and
is isolated from the pad by the loopy part. The Lee Valley replacement
pad doesn't do well with Abranet. The hooky part isn't tall enough.
For finer grits, I change my strategy to another product, Jost
abrasives. Available at
http://www.specialtytools.com/index.php?cPath=2_35_3169 and yes, that
is over $3.00 for a single 8" disk for my Fein. Sooo that means if a
client wants more than semi-gloss, they pay large.
John at Specialtytools.com sells the replacement 'long-life' Festool
pad for the 6" for around $30.00. One of those lasts me a year using
Abranet and Jost.
Regarding the 400 grit feeling like it becomes a 600 grit, I think the
oil/resin in ebony is have some clogging effect, John. Abranet 400 grit
is very durable and 2 disks do an average kitchen counter. Slow the
sander way down for that. Just a hunch. The world of oily woods wreak
havoc on any kind of granular abrasive. A piece of pine can turn an 80
grit disk into a polishing pad tout suite.
European grit ratings are a bit different too. FWW has done a good
article about this in the recent (1 year?) issues. On some solid
surface products, when adjusting sanding speed, I can get a more
aggressive cut with 240 grit than 180. Weird but true. The speed of the
sander and the pressure applied vastly varies the differences in
If, on an acrylic countertop, I take the Abranet route to 600 grit,
then switch to Jost disks to 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2000, 2500,
then a single application of 3M compound and I end up with a genuine
mirror finish that is as glossy as the nose on a Porsche...
NW of St. Thomas, W on Hwy 3 from Talbotville. Named after my
great-grandfather (don't remember how many "greats" :-)
My grandparents are buried in the little cemetery at the corner of Hwys 3&4.
Been by there many, many times. I go from Sarnia to St. Thomas that
way. Drop south on 4 from the 402.
Small world indeed.
You must have shopped at Federated Tools then too? Just zip up Highbury
and turn right on Oxford. If one man knows his toys..oops... tools...
Yeah, I've dropped a couple of bucks there :) I live in Waterloo, but
I'm originally from N.Ont. so it's only a short hop to London for me.
And my daughter attended Fanshawe College which is right across the
street from FT.
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