Dura-Grit UltraFlex Carbide Abrasive Sheets

A convenient, economical alternative to sand paper

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Dura-Grit UltraFlex Carbide Abrasive Sheets



Tungsten carbide is one of the hardest, most durable, wear-resistant composite metals around, which is why you'll find it on virtually all router bits and saw blades today. It maintains a cutting edge much longer than high speed steel.
 
Dura-Grit has been manufacturing a range of tungsten carbide abrasive tools for quite some time. They're probably best known for their TruSander sanding blocks - tungsten carbide impregnated metal plates bonded to a wood sanding block.
 
Dura-Grit also makes a variety of carbide burrs that you can use with any type of rotary tool that has a 1/8" collet.
 

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TruSander
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Carbide burrs
Recently Dura-Grit introduced a new accessory to it's product line - UltraFlex Carbide Abrasive Sheets. The UltraFlex sheets consist of a thin, flexible sheet of steel covered on one side with a layer of tungsten carbide granules - the back of each sheet is smooth. The sheets come in two sizes - 2.75" x 4.5" and 5.5" x 4". Each size is available in two grits - 80-grit and 150-grit.

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L to R: 150-grit, 80-grit    
                    
The 80-grit sheet is .019" thick, while the 150-grit sheet is a mere .007" thick. They're thin enough to easily cut with scissors, and you can form and glue them onto curved or round stock to make custom sanders. I used white glue to adhere the sheets onto maple cut-offs. You could just as easily use 3M spray adhesive.


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Easy to cut and glue up    

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Mine are long and narrow - make yours just about any shape        
                    
I found that the UltraFlex sheets cut as quickly as the silicone carbide sandpaper that I regularly use, but don't load up nearly half as quickly. A smart tap on the workbench dislodges most of the dust. After two months of using these custom sanding blocks they look - and work - as good as new. The 80-grit does a great job cleaning up glue, and you can use it to remove paint or varnish finishes. When the surface gets clogged I use an old file card to remove the debris - if they get really gunked up with paint or varnish you can clean them up with acetone.


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Scratch pattern across the grain: Left (150-grit), Right (80-grit) 
                   
The photo above shows the scratch pattern on soft maple - thirty strokes with each grit. Not that you'd want to do too much cross grain sanding. But it does show show aggressive the 80-grit UltraFlex sheets cut.


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Scratch pattern with the grain: Left (150-grit), Right (80-grit)    
                   
In the photo above I used the same number of strokes, this time working with the grain. As you see, the 150-grit leaves a uniform scratch pattern than requires minimal finish sanding with 180 or 220-grit paper, or better, a light application of a card scraper. The 80-grit leaves a rougher finish that would require sanding with the 150-grit UltraFlex.

With one of the large sheets you can easily make two or three sanding blocks. I made flat, rectangular blocks - you can make sanding blocks in just about any shape, including flat, convex and concave. The 150-grit UltraFlex, because it's thinner, is easier to bend than the 80-grit.
 
Taking into account that the UltraFlex lasts considerably longer than conventional sandpaper, your $12 investment will leave you way ahead of the game.
 
Excellent value in a long lasting abrasive.
 
Note: Currently the UltraFlex is only available at select Dura-Grit dealers, including Lee Valley Tools and Chipping Away.


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KEY FEATURES:

  • Steel backing
  • Tungsten carbide coated
  • Grits: 80-grit, 150-grit
  • Sizes: 2.75" x 4.5", 5.5" x 4.5"
  • .007" thick (150-grit sheet)
  • .019" thick (80-grit sheet)
  • Cuts easily with scissors
  • Glue onto flat, concave or convex blocks to make custom sanding shapes

MANUFACTURER:Dura-Grit
PRICE:$7 (2.75" x 4.5")
$12 (5.5" x 4.5")
GET IT FROM:Find a Dealer
MADE IN:USA
Carl Duguay, September 2012
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