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.
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.
Vlies | Sandpaper | Pads | Granat Blocks
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.
I think they are a very appealing product. They are cheaper than 3m for the most part. Kind of surprising that they didn’t price them higher, considering their Usual pricing structure.
I’m really happy with Festool Granat in my Random Orbital sander, seems to last much longer than other manufacturers.
I doubt I’ll buy their sheet paper though, I got the 20lb bargain box of sandpaper from Klingspoor and that will last me a good while.
I have been using http://www.2sand.com/ for most of my general sanding material needs. They have excellent shipping response time and the products I have received from them rival anything I have used in the past. The one thing from 3m I have yet to break away from are the foam back sanding sheets. I have yet to get on board the Festool coolaid bus, so can’t make any comparisons. It is difficult to shift away from items that work for you into unknown territory, no matter what the reviews.
I thought Festool and 3M were in a “partnership of some kind to do abrasives for the automobile finishing industry. Is this related to that relationship?
Also, whats the difference between”P” and “US” grit standards. I always thought the grit was the number of “grits of sand” per square inch.
I don’t recall why the grits are different, but here’s a comparison table, based on particle size:
At lower grit levels, the differences are slight. It’s not until finer grit sizes where you see differences. According to that Wiki table, P400 ~ 320 grit, and 400 grit falls between P600 and P800.
As long as one stays within a system, it’s okay, since grit sizing is relative. Mixing US (CAMI) and ISO grit sizes is where problems come from unless one is really careful.
Grit sizing is based on average size of the abrasive particles. Finer grit sizes means smaller and finer particles.
Large grit sizes create wider and deeper scratches in a material, finer abrasives create narrower and shallower scratches.
Perhaps the US standard was determined by mesh size, which is measured in terms of openings per square inch.
well since they use metic system over there their ratings might be more grits per sq cm or some such.
which would make sense for other parts of the globe.
Finally who makes this for festool – do you know? Or suspect. Reason I say that IIRC there are a few other abrasive companies in Europe and Asia so I wonder who’s behind it.
Mystery Mysterious Mister
It’s generally acceptable to guess that it starts with the letter “M” and rhymes with Mirka.
The best multiuse sandpaper I have run across is from Klingspor. Their “gold” paper is fantastic. You can fold, roll, wad, twist, or do anything you want to it and it springs back into flat shape. I use it on a lathe almost daily and it makes great paper for making contoured sanding pads/blocks. It also tears by hand and I have made dozens of home made sanding mops with it. It comes in rolls, belts and sheets. Great stuff.