I have some sanding to do, and it’s going to be dusty.
I could use my Festool sander, but it’s going to be a bit heavy and maybe even unwieldy to use on the wall or even overhead.
I looked up wet-sanding methods, and it seems that for some of my upcoming projects, I’ll need to use dry sanding. Dry sanding can be messy, hence the search for a dust-free solution.
Although tempted to buy a Festool sander from my wishlist – their small delta-shaped finish sander – I took a gulp when I realized how much it would cost for the new sander, as well as new abrasives to go along with it.
This morning, I came upon the Mirka hand sander, which has a vacuum port and multi-hole grip face. It looked to fit the bill perfectly.
Actually, I first looked at Festool’s hand sanding block, which comes with an adapter for attaching a dust extractor hose. Festool also makes a small-diameter hose that mates directly to their sander.
The Festool hand sanding block can share abrasives with their RTS 400 orbital rectangular sander. That’s probably why it’s a little larger.
Ultimately, the Mirka looks far more economical, and I’m sure its slightly smaller size won’t be an issue. Its pad measures 2-3/4″ x 5″.
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Ah, and there’s even an optional hose that I can use to attach it straight to my dust extractor. Festool’s hose is more than double the price.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
I also picked up some Mirka Abranet sanding abrasive sheets, in 150, 180, and 220 grit. I ordered 10-sheet packs, and they also have rolls of the stuff. The rolls are less expensive per inch, but I can always buy that next time, once I’m ready to reorder.
Mirka has a solid reputation, and I’m eager to see how it goes.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
I still might order a Festool orbital sander – maybe the DTS 400 delta sander for working into corners. I’ve been doing smaller woodworking projects, and my regular 6″ sander is a bit too big for some things. The cost of a sander is one thing to consider, and the abrasives are another. With Festool, smaller sandpaper packages carry a big premium, and typical quantity packs are quite pricey.
I also considered that Festool recently introduced their own sanding nets, but I really think that a hand sander will be best for most of the finishing projects I have planned. For my woodworking projects, though, a new Festool is in my future, just not my immediate future.
I’ll follow up once I can put the new Mirka sander to the test.
We had the original Porter Cable drywall sanders – that are now widely copied (like the Aleko and Festool ones). Nothing wrong – and lots right – with Mirka offerings – but for drywall sanding (if that’s your task) – having something on a pole-end is often more convenient. I’m not sure that any of the hand (non powered) tools come with both extension poles and dust extraction. I know that some folks seem to like the manual sanders from Full Circle – but they have no provision for dust collection as far as I know.
I’m just finally getting around to some wall and ceiling repairs.
Hyde makes a pole sander attachment for using screens, but most of my repairs will likely be in small spots, or corners where a pole wouldn’t work as well.
I plan on using the Mirka gear for other projects, and it’s different enough than what I’m used to that I thought it would make for a good review opportunity.
I’ve looked at but never used the abranet product. Can that work on any sander?
does it work well on any sander?
In theory, yes.
Festool has special pads for their sanders, and Diablo has one for their SandNet abrasives, that can fit common sander platens.
You need a connection pad or pad protector to reduce wear on a sanding pad’s hook and loop surface.
I’ve used Abranet on my Festool and Bosch sanders. If you Google “Abranet vs Granat” or Abranet vs Festool – you will read lots of comments about how well (pros and cons) it works. Some folks say that it was designed and optimized for use on Mirka Ceros sanders – but I’ve found it works well on others too.
Stuart’s comments about using a pad protector are spot on. Not using one with Abranet will quickly lead to H&L failure.
Yup. I lent my delta to a friend. I quickly reminded him to use the pad protector, but I guess he forgot. I peeled off the mesh paper last night and a bunch of Velcro bits landed on my work surface. Both pad protectors still in the box.
Going back to stuart’s Topic, get the sanding block, dust collection hose and the mesh abrasive. It makes drywall touch ups nearly mess free! I use the Festool version, but it’s nearly the same. I’m trying the mesh with primer and paint (latex) and it’s much better than traditional paper. The paint doesn’t pill and load the paper nearly as much (but it can) which is a real pain in the butt.
I use Abranet (different varieties of it) on nearly all of my Sanders (2x Bosch, some no names, no Festool) and I use it by hand. I find the stuff to be amazing and it makes the dust collection on my two Bosch ROS sanders great. It’ll basically work on any velcro sanding pad, but you do need to be careful that it rips more than paper.
Basically, instead of paper clogging up and having to throw it away, this stuff rips eventually (but never clogs). I probably get 2-3x lifespan out of the paper because it doesn’t burnish my work with clogged spots.
I use abranet on my 6″ Bosch sander. 6″ sanding discs can be hard to find. I like it pretty well and it seems long-lasting. Yes, use the pad protector. I got a kit that had samples of everything (and I think a pad protector) on Amazon, so I could try it out. I’ll likely continue to use it mostly. Also use it on some hand sanders.
david urban burke
good point out on these products. may order tonight.
Approximately five years ago one of the major paint companies in the UK ran a promotion for the hand sander, various accessories including the hose for the vacuum and packs of Abranet paper, the clincher for me was that it all came packaged in a Systainer box generally a sign the manufacturer wants to be taken seriously. Abranet addresses most of the issues with traditional abrasive “paper” albeit at a price, however having had to use some normal sandpaper recently I was reminded why it was worth the cost. I have used the hand sander and vacuum combination to prepare whole walls and it has been very effective with minimal dust generation. I have used it on timber as well and it has worked well on this also. Given that Abranet was originally developed for use in the automobile painting business I presume it works well on metal.
I don’t mean to be rude, but everything that I’ve read in this post is completely wrong & an indication that you have absolutely no idea of what you’re doing or what tools to use for drywall finishing or the best method to contain drywall dust. You don’t need to waste any more money on the idea that some Mirka sanding block with abranet is going to work. Have you ever used a box vacuum sander (correct terminology)? I bought a Hyde box vac sander (not sanding block) years ago and used it for all of 5 minutes. Very unproductive and by far the worst method for sanding anything. And you never use an orbital or palm sander for finishing drywall. You really need to learn how to wet sand correctly and learn how to correctly mask with plastic if you’re worried about dust. I’ve never met or seen a drywall crew that uses a dust extractor or box vac sander when finishing. Have you ever dry sanded mud with a actual sanding block? Very simple to do and it’s not hard to contain the dust. Its only drywall sanding, so don’t make something that is extremely simple into a difficulty because you’re already using the wrong methods and tools. Wet sanding 101 – Apply 3 thin coats over mesh tape (mud dry before each coat) after final coat wipe & smear out your mud with a light damp sponge and scrape excess with mudknife and your done. Feather out the mud with a light touch and be sure not to saturate your sponge. Rinse and ring out as much water as you can. DO NOT use a sanding block or sandpaper for wet sanding and DO NOT wipe your mud down to the tape. It’s all about feathering. Know what that word means & how to do it. The only tools you’ll need is a couple of grout sponges and a mudknife.
From Stuart’s post – I got a different take on what he was doing. I didn’t think he’s working on newly taped and compounded surfaces – but on old work – likely with several coats of paint over botched taping, spackling, caulking or what not. That may not be amenable to wet sanding. But if he’s laying in blowout patches or adding new drywall and taping – then your recommendations would do the trick.
While you say that you’ve never seen a drywall crew use a dust extractor while sanding – I’ve seen plenty of professional painting crews doing just that to prep old-work surfaces.
I have been using the Kirby vacuum sander on drywall for decades. Put on hearing protection and this will smooth out drywall in no time. I cut the drywall sand paper to fit and will sometimes use a hand sanding block with fine grit to finish. I never used wet anything at all!