Abranet the 21st century sandpaper
I wrote up this article on Mirka Abranet abrasive in Nov 2010, just before buying the Mirka CEROS 5″ random orbital sander. Almost 2 years on, the combination of Abranet, CEROS and dust extraction sanding still stands as probably the single best advance in decorating – It’s all in the prep, right!
In my experience dust is the one side effect of decorating that really annoys customers. On the other side of the coin, if customers want a top job, the basic requirement is … a decorator who does lots of sanding!
So how can you do a top job, sanding between coats (on woodwork and plaster ceilings and walls) without upsetting the home owner?
The traditional way is to tape up doors, hang plastic across windows, lay cotton sheets, tool up with masks and goggles and get rubbing down. Once the sanding is over, spend hours cleaning up, dusting down, shaking out sheets outdoors. Not ideal for the hair, and not very efficient.
The modern way. I am a traditional painter in terms of my skills and general attitude to work, but when it comes to sanding and being clean and tidy, I am a 21st century craftsman all the way – Abranet abrasive on a perforated sanding block connected to a good vacuum.
So simple but so effective.
I am yet to come across a customer who is unhappy about the dust I created in their house. 95% of it went from the walls and woodwork straight into a tired old Henry. (If you want an affordable first step into dust free sanding, hold off on beefy extractors, your Henry will still keep up, provided you keep the filters clean and prevent the bags from filling to bursting point. And splash out on a beast, using the few hundred you have saved on labour while dust-free sanding.)
Dust-free sanding is still not widely adopted
I have a hunch that only a fraction of decorators in your area have bothered to re-train themselves yet to use the Abranet system. (The equipment is too expensive, the sheets are too expensive, it’s a gimmick, it costs a lot of money to change the way you work…) Plenty of reasons why not. The trouble is, the decorators who have overcome all the obstacles, and are fully equipped, are now preparing rooms faster, more thoroughly, and more cleanly than the decorators who seem determined to ignore the advantages to themselves AND their customers.
Dust free painting specialists
In the meantime, if you need a quote for 95% dust-free period property decorating services from Traditional Painters in Cheshire, NW, Midlands, South East, South and NE, plus S Wales, contact a decorating specialist near you.
And if you have any dusty photos, you are invited to display them on the Traditional Painter Abrasives and Sanding forum. Remind us how bad it used to be before Mirka got sanding right.
Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, or print it out for reference. Thanks.
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