Central Virginia Woodturners

a registered chapter of the American Association of Woodturners

Sanding and Sanding Supplies

Here are the sites for the sanding supplies Nate Hawkes uses. His notes are at the bottom, after Jim Oates' scraper handout picture.

Blue Flex Discs velcro blue sanding discs http://www.vinceswoodnwonders.com

Pro Source Center for Abranet in Mirka brand name: http://www.prosourcecenter.com/servlet/StoreFront and the 3" disc page called Autonet: http://www.prosourcecenter.com/servlet/the-Mirka-Abrasives-cln-3%22-Autonet--fdsh--Abranet/Categories

Also for my own psa paper choice, 3M gold, as well as foam sources, it is all spelled out on my site at http://www.fredwilliamson.com/Pages-Methods/Sanding-Tips.html

Kirk McCauley's source, he has good luck with the gold paper from Online Industrial Supply. Here is their page: http://www.onlineindustrialsupply.com/psa-gold-paper-discs.html

Nate's notes:
I usually end up with either 600 or 800 grit; It depends on the wood. Walnut definitely has to go to 800, but ash and hickory I can almost stop at 400 without any visible scratches after oiling. I usually go to 600 to be safe. It seems to really help me not have to go back and touch-up spots that I couldn't see scratches in, but it sure is expensive. Even at the better prices, its not cheap! Anyway, I'm finding that I really have to use a light touch with the 800 grit to keep from polishing; I also have to keep blowing off the discs because the holes do fill up with dust, so they definitely are cutting not just polishing. With pressure on the discs, they glaze over, and dont' seem to be easily cleaned off with a rubber "cleaning stick". I bought some 80 grit and 120 grit abranet as well; it is pretty great stuff! It is worth the price. It is NOT flexible at all, which is a problem. I'm using "vince's blue flex" discs now for regular sandpaper, mostly because of the price. I think it is just as good as the Indasa white rhyno paper that I was using before to make my own discs, but they are something like $0.15 per 3 3/8" disc; the price savings from having to constantly cut is worth it. However, the film backing is definitely more flexible than the b or c weight indasa paper, I can't remember which it is. The 80 grit blue discs start to lose their abrasive if used very aggressively on their edges, but only marginally more than the white paper. Also, I realized after I was telling you about "starting" with 220 grit paper, I was talking about the exterior surfaces of some of the bowls; not all of them by any means. I can't get an interior cut that smooth to save my life. I'm going to bring a couple tools to the meeting coming up to show you my bevel relief, which forces me to take really light finish cuts, but cuts beautifully.

Sorry to talk your ear off;
And a day later:
While you often cannot sand right off the lathe because the wood is too wet, sanding bowls that are bone-dry from being in a woodstove heated shed for the last few months is not fun either. Even soft red maple is hard to sand when it is that dry. After the initial 80 or 120 grit to remove what little torn grain was present, sanding continued as normal, but I found that unless I started with brand new discs each grit, I would end up with scratches left when I blew it off with compressed air. You're probably far more familiar than I am with this, but I tell you its not fun! The abranet is great stuff; I experimented with a box of the 120 grit; it is really too rigid in the coarse grits to do well on the inside; very easy to make deep gouges as it removes wood extremely quickly. Also, it is not forgiving at all with any voids or bark; it can catch easily, leading to sore or bloody knuckles. I have completely abandoned my use of the white rhyno/industrial abrasives paper, in favor of the Vince Welch blue film paper. Its just a matter of cost really--I think its about .17 per 3 1/2" disc, which lasts long enough. Like the white rhyno al/ox stearated paper, it resists clogging pretty well, but because it has a lighter backing, the coarser grits are not as durable, and seem to lose their cutting power more quickly. From 150-400, they are okay, but after using 25 of each grit in 400,600,800 as an experiment (1 per bowl), I will stick with the abranet for finishing up. Its just not consistent, which may be manufacturing, or the abranet's ability to "wick away" the dust and keep sanding. I think I told you before how important it seems to blow the abranet out with compressed air though in the 600/800 grit range. It seems to save me time going back and re-sanding scratches though, so I think its really worth it. I just hope that the Pro Source Center folks don't realize what they've done by making their sales price so low, and decide to increase the price to the MSRP. It is supposed to be $30 or so for a box of 50 three inch discs, but they're selling for about $20. The 5" ones are much more affordable compared to how much surface area you get, but aren't as easily cut with scissors due to their fine metal mesh structure. You'll see what I mean.