Power sanding makes a tremendous difference to the time taken to complete a turning project. However, many users who use the method
intensively find that conventional foam-backed pads very soon start to shed their hook-and-loop pads as the glue-line weakens due to the heat build-up from the abrasive action passing through to the backing disc.
By re-thinking the process, the late Len Piers, devised a
solution that obviates this annoying shortcoming of the power sanding method. Instead of having a foam-backed sanding pad, Len placed the foam on the abrasive so that
the backing pad is insulated from the abrasive-generated heat. Hence you have the convenience of a hook-and-loop fastening, coupled with a stiff backing pad which keeps its shape and doesn't try to shed its hook
fastening surface every time the going gets a little warm!
Since starting to use this system I've just become more and more impressed with it. Instead
of changing backing pads with a similar frequency to eating hot dinners, I have used the same pad for all my work. A highly recommended system. If you would like to try out the system
but don't have a suitable power drill, or would like to keep one just for tis arduous task, take a look at the economical Silverline product shown on the
Whilst power sanding is undoubtedly a very useful technique, some turners do not own, or do not wish to use, their power tools for this process. The ever-present danger from dust
inhalation also limits the attractiveness for health-conscious turners. Happily, the Grip-A-Disc system provides a halfway-house solution in the Shear Sanding system. This provides a comfortable hand-held tool, with a head which can be
positioned at the operator's choice of attack angle, on the end of which is a free-spinning backing pad faced with hook grips to hold the abrasive pad (see accompanying
photo). By gently applying the pad to the work, the rotation of the workpiece also causes the abrasive pad to rotate. By altering the contact angle between the pad
and the workpiece, relative movement is produced and voila! you have powered sanding without any external power source. Being less aggressive than using external power, this process is very
controllable and generates far less dust. A further advantage of this simple system is that the compact, positionable head makes it easy to arrange the head to allow the inside of natural
edge bowls to be sanded without risk to knuckles or bowl edges - see the photo for clear evidence.
The system is available with either 50 mm (2") or 80 mm (3") diameter abrasive discs and
backing pads. The abrasive discs are available in 80; 120; 180; 240 and 320 grits in each of the two sizes and may be used both on the Grip-A-Disc system and on conventional power
sanding systems which use a hook-and-loop attachment system. Lambswool bonnets (polishing pads) are also available in this useful product range.