October 16, 2008

Orbital Sander Face-Off

festool_orbital.jpgThe good folks over at Popular Mechanics recently tested three orbital sanders head to head. They judged on power & speed, quality of finish, and ergonomics. The three sanders are the Festool, the Bosch, and the Craftsman Vibrafree.

You're probably thinking, "Why should I even click on the link to read the results? The Festool crushed the competition, but the Bosch was a solid second, with both of them leaving the Craftsman in the dust, right?" Not exactly. What they discovered is likely to surprise you.

The test results, with video, are here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

July 23, 2008

Zip Sander - Review

zip_sander.jpgZip Sander, you're the one.
You make sanding lots of fun.
Zip Sander, we're awfully fond of you....

Tools that look like bath toys aren't usually up our alley, but the Zip Sander seemed pretty interesting, so we thought we'd take a closer inspection and try one out. And to be honest, we're glad we did. The Zip Sander proved to be a versatile addition to our sanding repertoire for a number of reasons.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 14, 2008

Final Cut Saw Blade - Review

final_cut.jpgWe weren't really sure what to make of the Final Cut Saw Blade when we first heard of it. The whole idea seemed...well...incredibly silly. Is someone really selling a saw blade with a piece of sandpaper stuck on it? It screamed 'gimmick' to us, but we were still interested to check it out because maybe, like chocolate and peanut butter, the saw blade/sandpaper combo is is a match of destiny. So we got our hands on one and used it around the shop for a while and the verdict is....

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

June 5, 2008

Skil 3375-01 Belt Disc Sander

Skil_Benchtop_sander_1.jpgA few weeks back we told you about Skil's new line of benchtop tools coming out later this year. Now, we're going to take a closer look at one of those tools, the belt disc sander.

Skil's sander comes with a number of nice features. There is a beveling table top capable of a 45 degree angle, a 2-1/2" dust port, and a pre-drilled cast iron base, for attaching to your workbench. The belt sander can also flip up to a 90 degree position. There is also a safey switch and the whole thing is powered by a 4-amp motor.

The Skil will be available in September, exclusively at Lowe's. There are a number of similar items on the market (the Hitachi and Grizzly, for instance), but not having used either of them, we can't say how the Skil rates. Our guess is that they're all fairly similar and that it comes down to a matter of brand preference.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

May 22, 2008

Mirka Abranet Sheet Sanding Kit

abranet_hand_sanding.jpgSanding joint compound can get pretty messy. We recently did some work in a small bathroom and even with the Shop Vac right up next to the sandpaper, the room still ended up looking like someone had walked in and detonated a bag of flour. This experience, which we've had about 1,000 times, led us to do some research on dustless hand sanding and as a result, we discovered Mirka's Abranet Sheet Sanding System.

Essentially, it's a sanding block with a vacuum port. The abrasive sheets are made of a mesh with thousands of small holes, meaning for easier sanding and far more efficient dust collection, not to mention a longer life for the sheet.

The kit, which looks like it comes with three sizes of sanding blocks, some abrasive sheets, and a vacuum hose costs about $150. A high price, but if it actually works, it might be worth not having to deal with the mess that sanding makes.

The whole concept sounds to us like a great idea, but we really couldn't find much more information on the product. It appears that the abrasive pads are available in stores, but as far as the sanding blocks go, we couldn't find anything other than a .pdf file on their website. We even tried calling them earlier in the week, but haven't heard back.

The promotional flier is here (pdf).

Abranet abrasive sheets at Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

March 25, 2008

Black & Decker DS321 Dragster Belt Sander

black_decker_dragster.jpgIt looks like this has been out for a while, but it looks pretty interesting so we thought we'd mention it anyway. The Black & Decker Dragster is a 6 amp belt sander with a unique design, which makes the nose of the tool more versatile than your average belt sander.

Because the front wheel of the sander is so small, the Dragster is capable of sanding much closer (3x closer, according to B&D) to the edge of an adjoining surface. Also, the guard that covers the nose of the sander flips up, making it easier to sand in and around things.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 4, 2007

Proxxon Oscillating Detail Sander - Review

proxxon.jpgWe're big fans of the Fein MultiMaster. In our opinion, it's one of the best tools to come around in a long time. And we thought that it stood alone, with no other tool like it. We've been hearing about the Bosch PMF 180 E Multi, a similar tool that's available in Europe and may or may not be coming to the states, but what we didn't know about was the Proxxon Delta Sander. It's the Mini-Me of the MultiMaster and we were lucky enough to get a chance to test one out.

The basics of the tool are the same as the Fein. There's the oscillating head with interchangeable blades, sanding pads, files, scrapers, and polishers. If you're familiar with the Fein, then all the controls will be familiar to you. The accessories change out the same way, with a little hex key, and there's a little dial to control oscillation speed.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 17, 2007

Proxxon Oscillating Detail Sander

proxxon_sander.gifUPDATE: Our review of the Proxxon Oscillating Detail Sander is here.

So everyone knows that the Fein MultiMaster is an outstanding tool and there is a lot of buzz right now about Bosch's similar PMF 180 E Multi and whether or not they'll be releasing it in the states, but did you know that there is another oscillating tool out there? We sure didn't, until we were flipping through the latest Garret Wade catalog. It's made by a company called Proxxon and they refer to it as their oscillating detail sander.

Strangely, the only place we could find any real information on the tool is at the Garrett Wade site, Minicraft, and ToolsAndMore.us. It's not on Proxxon's website and although it does show up in a hobby message board, no one who wrote about it seems to have any first hand experience with the tool.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 11, 2007

Wagner PaintEater - Review

painteater1.jpgWe're pretty vocal about our dislike (hatred, really) of painting. We're happy to spend 10 hours shaping a piece of wood, but for some reason we don't have the patience to paint it. And if painting isn't bad enough, there's scraping to think about. If painting is like getting your fingernail pulled off, scraping is like being drawn and quartered. So when we heard about Wagner's new PaintEater, we dove at the opportunity to test one out and see if it makes the unbearable at least somewhat bearable.

First, about the tool. The PaintEater is about the size of a coffee can. It's got an adjustable Velcro hand strap around the main grip as well as a secondary handle that can retract back up to the body of the tool when not in use. The handle, when in the down or up position, locks in place preventing any slipping or unexpected movement. The on-off switch has a nice dust protected cover over it and is located in a convenient spot. At the bottom of the tool is the brillo-like pad that does the actual paint eating. The pad is a bit hard to describe, it reminds us more of a sea creature than anything else. It's much more rigid than a brillo, but there is a bit of a give to it. The disc can be easily removed with an arbor stop and a twist of the pad. The tool is pretty light (3.8 lbs), so there should be no problem spending a day on a ladder with it.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (10) | social bookmarking

June 20, 2007

GMC ADS75 1.1 Amp Detail Sander

gmc_detail_sander.jpgGMC has recently released a little detail sander available at a really good price. It's sort of like Skil's Octo, but without all of the attachments. Still, at just a hair over $10, there's no way to loose on this one. It's essentially a little orbital that ends in a little point making it possible to sand those little spots that even hand sanding can't deal with.

The sander has a dust-sealed switch, a hook and loop sanding pad, a vacuum port, and what looks like a nice gripping area.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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