We all tolerate it, but nobody actually *enjoys* sanding projects: Sand the whole project to 100 grit, then to 120, then to 150, then to 180, then to 220, and finally to 240. That’s six changes of paper for every project, leaving a weekend woodworker little time for golf.
SandTrap, Inc. just introduced a new type of abrasive called “VariGrit” that lets you use only one sheet (or disc) of sandpaper to smooth your entire project from coarse to fine. How does it work?
SandTrap marketing manager Preston Dijityshaun told me, “We’ve developed a new synthetic abrasive grain material called aluminum immodium that breaks down at a predictable and controlled rate, becoming finer over time. It’s like magic.” In other words, the abrasive starts out at 100-grit, and as you sand, the abrasive grains break down to 120-grit, then 150-, and so on up to 240-grit.
I tested the 5” hook-and-loop discs in our shop while sanding some oak-veneer plywood parts for the trebuchet project (in the May 2010 issue of WOOD) and found them to work just as reliably as Preston said they would. Starting with a fresh disc I began sanding, and about 30 seconds later, I could actually feel the difference as the grit switched to 120. 30 seconds later, I felt it change to 150. After another 30 seconds, it switched again, this time to 180. A minute later, I’d gone through the two remaining grits and was left with a super-smooth veneered surface.
“We purposely set the breakdown interval to half-minute increments,” according to SandTrap’s Dijityshaun. “With a slower breakdown, you wind up sanding completely through the veneer. When that happens, you have to remake project parts, and frankly, that’s just less time for golfing.”
Taking a cue from the toothbrush industry, VariGrit abrasives offer another distinct advantage over traditional abrasives: They change color when the paper is worn out, letting you know precisely when it’s time to hit the links.
VariGrit discs retail for $49.95 for a pack of ten 8-hole 5” discs. Preston says they’ll also sell 18-hole discs for Testfool sanders in April.
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