Festool is expanding into the hand sanding business, with premium products of all kinds.
The new abrasives lineup features their Granat formulation, which they say achieves the desired results quickly and efficiently, even for unpowered hand sanding.
In my experience, Festool Granat abrasives are long-lasting, and indeed also high-performing. Festool adds that they’re durable, tear-resistant, and washable.
The various pads have a synthetic bonding resin that “provides a tenacious grip.” That’s always good, if you don’t want free particles dragging along and scratching your work – or worse, getting embedded.
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As an aside, I once had to polish up some metallurgical samples so that we could examine their structures in a microscope. We had a fancy sanding machine which applied pressure to a sample (which was fixed in a molded epoxy holder), but it ended up embedding diamond particles into the softish metal. I was working with an experienced metallurgist who taught me how to effectively polish by hand on a rotating wheel, and never looked at sanding anything the same way again.
Here’s what the new Festool abrasives lineup will include:
- Blocks – 4 sides and firm, with a medium-hard foam core
- Combi-block with a round side and 45° edge, for hard to reach places
- Abrasive sheets and rolls
- Abrasive pads – Vlies
(Vlies are kind of like Scotch Brite pads.)
The grit sizing ranges from P40 to P400, for sheet and roll abrasives, and 36 to 1500 for the Granat sponges and Vlies abrasives. Festool doesn’t mention if these are P grit standards or US grit standards, but assume they’re P-standard grits.
More Info(via Festool)
Example Pricing: 50 sheets of 9″ x 11″ paper for $36; 6-pack of ~2.7″ x 3.86″ x 1″ sponges for $22.
Following are some Festool UK intro video about the new sanding materials. I would have embedded them, but they’re not very exciting.
I have had great experiences using Festool sanding discs with my Festool random orbital sander. They cost a premium, but I’m convinced that in many cases they’re worth it.
Will their new hand sanding products be worth a premium? Possibly. I’ll likely continue to stick with 3M and sometimes Norton products, but the Vlies pads and Granat sanding sponges did catch my attention.
The pricing seems okay. Less than $4 per sanding sponge – that’s better than 3M’s Pro Grade precision sanding sponge pricing.
Can I change my answer? I’ll very likely try these. They’re priced at a premium compared to cheap sanding materials, but competitive with 3M premium sanding products.
A quick check shows me that 3M wet/dry silicon carbide paper is $42.50 for 50. $36 for 50 sounds better.
3M has an almost unparalleled breadth of abrasives offerings, but Festool has shown themselves to have extensive know-how in this area as well.