“Dust-Free” Sanding

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The wonderful world of Kitchen and Furniture Hand Painting is a many varied and fascinating subject (in my opinion)… throughout the majority of my posts within this blog, I mention that I have used a certain process or piece of kit, but, I don’t explain at any depth (as it really isn’t the time or place).

In this blog, I’m going to look at “Dust-Free” sanding. A phenomenon that has changed the face of Painting & Decorating.

In the dim and distant past, if you employed a painter to undertake a project, the chances were that if sanding was necessary, you would have a house full of fine dust for the next two months… clean down surfaces and 5 minutes later there was another layer of dust settling. If there were rough surfaces, your painter would get out his P80 sandpaper and a block (and maybe even a dust mask) – great for him (maybe), but not so great for you or your home.

I’m relieved to say that today, as a technology savvy Painter & Decorator, things have most definitely taken a turn for the better… most of my sanding and preparation kit is “borrowed” from the high end automotive and joinery industries – where fine finish most certainly counts.

Extraction

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At the heart of my kit lies my extractor; a Festool CTL Mini a super compact machine that performs very efficiently – It operates category L dust removal (To achieve Class L an extractor must not allow more than 1% of extracted dust to pass out of the filter to a “maximum allowable concentration” (MAK value) greater than 1 mg/m^3.) – in simple terms; it removes 99% or more dust from the site of work.

Why is this important?

1. It is better for me – being completely selfish, I do a lot of sanding and I really do not want to be breathing in fine dust!!!

2. It is better for you, the client – absolutely minimal dust within your property at the time of the project.

3. Better for the project – more (and better) preparation can be undertaken.

Machine Sanding

I run a number of sanders – each has it’s own specific job and strengths… and are the very finest that are available currently on the market (in my opinion);

MIRKA DEROS

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Probably one of the most powerful and versatile sanders on the market, the DEROS, has been around for 12 months, or so, and is the big brother of the CEROS (I also owned one of these). The DEROS when coupled with MIRKA ABRANET is truly an awesome proposition. Abranet is part of Mirka’s net sanding range – instead of using paper with perhaps 6 to 8 holes to draw the dust through, Abranet is actually a net! the very fine dust is drawn through the abrasive netting by the extractor, meaning very little dust is left of the surface whatsoever. hundreds if not thousands of holes are much better than a mere handful!.

The DEROS is used for larger surfaces that need to be prepared – I typically use the 150mm backing plate, but a 125mm plate is still at hand, if necessary.

I use Abranet from P80 to P600 with the DEROS.

FESTOOL ROTEX RO90

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The Festool RO90 is a monster! extremely small yet massively powerful this sander is orbital with the added benefit of a intechangeable Delta plate (triangular)… perfect for jobs where I need to really take back rough or damaged surfaces, but also to use within the corners of doors etc. Again, this is efficiently coupled to the Festool extractor again using Mirka Abranet.

FESTOOL RTS 400

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This is the latest addition to my sanding arsenal. I recently took a trip to the Netherlands (my painting Mecca) and spied many Dutch painters employing it to great effect… for me the RTS 400 is second-to-none for fine finishing, is perfect for larger areas, but seems happiest working with Abranet between P320 and P600. Its light and extremely effective, with it’s rectangular backing plate, it is great for doors and drawers and now features a fine power control function!

Hand Sanding

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Having said that I embrace new P&D technology, sometimes it is still necessary to undertake a minimal amount of hand sanding. If this is required, I tend to use Mirka Goldflex-Soft (P150 & P320) or Mirka Mirlon Total for moulding etc.

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Hand sanding with these products is still prone to create a small amount of dust – I keep this to a minimum, and clear up as I go with either a Numatic International Ltd. – Henry HVR200A or a handheld Dyson DC34 vacuum cleaner.

A recent client reviewed my work and commented:

“He was meticulous in his preparation and I couldn’t believe how little dust there was after he had sanded down all the units.”…

Compact

“Good grief!”, I hear you cry, “but, I only have a small kitchen – you and all of that kit will never fit in!!!”… fear not! this is the beauty of my kit – it has taken a good deal of time (and effort), but my sanding kit fits into four Festool Systainers and as such is stackable; taking only a footprint of 440mm x 340mm (when not in use). I travel light and my kit has to work hard for it’s keep… if it is inefficient, ineffective or cumbersome, it does not see a second day!

I believe, as a Professional, it is my responsibility to keep abreast with advancements in my Industry (and others), so that I can deliver the very finest of results for my clients.

For further information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website.

Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.

 

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