Dura-GRIT Woodworker's Set - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A great alternative to sandpaper in the 60 to 150 grit range - long lasting, easy to clean, and very economical.

Dura-GRIT Woodworker's Set

Dura-GRIT Woodworker's Set



If you are like me and are tired of constantly changing worn, torn sandpaper, then this could be for you. If you only use a few sheets of sanding paper or discs a month, then you're likely not going to loose any sleep over the per unit cost. However, as usage increases, it's likely to become a more important part of your supplies budget. A premium abrasive, like the Norton 3X, costs about .70¢ per sheet or disc when purchased in a package of 20 - somewhat less in larger quantities. Using just a dozen discs a month, for example, will cost about $100 a year. Tally up the cost of two or three grit levels for both sheets and discs, and you're looking at a serious chunk of change.

Unfortunately, there really aren't a lot of practical alternatives to traditional abrasives. If you're a hobbyist woodworker, or perhaps a studio furniture maker building high end pieces on commission, you could rely primarily on hand planes and card scrapers. If you're a cabinetmaker or run a small production shop, or just aren't overly experienced with hand planes, you likely rely on abrasives.

Toronto based Dura-GRIT might just have the answer for anyone looking to reduce the amount of money they spend on abrasives. Dura-GRIT manufactures a line of tungsten carbide sanding accessories, including sanding blocks, sanding sheets, discs, files, and rotary cutters (burrs).

You're already familiar with the benefits of carbide on table saw, planer and jointer blades, and router bits - it's one of the hardest, most durable, wear-resistant composite metals in use today. You get these exact same benefits from carbide abrasive accessories. In fact, you can use Dura-GRIT carbide accessories not only on hardwood and softwood, but on materials such as plastic, Fiberglas, carbon fiber, rubber, and leather.
 
Dura-GRIT accessories consist of a steel substrate that is covered with a layer of tungsten carbide granules. The carbide grit lasts a heck of a long time, and because it doesn't come loose off the substrate, you effectively use the same grit level every time you sand, unlike conventional abrasives, which quickly begin to shed grit in use. I've found that Dura-GRIT accessories don't load up very much unless you use them on gummy material, for example, removing a painted or varnished surface, or scraping away dried glue. Fortunately, they're easily cleaned with a brass brush – I get mine from Lee Valley for under $4 (#83K09.02) – and optionally a bit of Acetone. Another great feature is that because the carbide grit is bonded to a steel substrate, Dura-GRIT accessories are super flat, and they don't crumple up or tear in use like sandpaper.

The Dura-GRIT accessories are typically available in 46 to 150 grits, which means they're best used for everything from heavy sanding and stripping to smoothing surfaces and removing milling marks and small imperfections. For finishing surfaces smoothly you'll still need to revert to conventional sandpaper.

The Dura-GRIT Woodworker's Set, consists of seven of their most popular carbide accessories: block sanders (TruSanders), 5" sanding discs, dual ended sanding file, and dual grit round and square files. 
 
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TruSanders: (L) 80 grit; (R) 150 grit

Of all the Dura-GRIT accessories, the TruSanders are the ones I use most frequently. They come in four grit sizes (60, 80, 120, 150) with the 80 and 150 grits blocks included in the Woodworkers Set. Each block measures 2" wide by 1-3/4" high and 5-1/2" long. 

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Comfortable to hold, easy to control

Sloped ends make it easy to sand up tightly into corners while grooves on the top and sides make the blocks easy to hold. The plate is perfectly square to the side of the block enabling you to sand the edges of your stock square. The holes in the plate and the channel underneath keep dust from building up on your stock as you sand.
 
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Ash crosscut straight from the table saw

The photo above is a crosscut of Ash made on the table saw with a combo blade. You can clearly see milling marks on the left side of the stock. The end obviously needs some refinement.

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After using the 150 grit TruSander

Here is the same end after sanding it with the 150 grit TruSander for about a minute and a half. Not too shabby. If this end was going to be visible all it wold need is a further bit of sanding with 180 grit and possibly 220 grit paper.

I find that these sanders cut quite aggressively, they don't load up very much – a smart tap on your workbench will dislodge the dust – and they produce a uniform scratch pattern. Conventional sandpaper has a grit that easily crumbles, which serves to expose fresh grit. However, as soon as the last bit of grit crumbles away you're left with sandpaper that isn't cutting effectively. TruSanders are also more convenient to use than hardwood blocks wrapped with sandpaper, which I find have a tendency to shift about on the block and eventually tear.
 
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Carbide sanding discs: (L) 120 grit; (R) 60 grit

The Dura-GRIT carbide sanding discs come in 5" formats in 46, 60, 80, and 120 grits, with the 60 and 120 grits included in the Woodworkers Set. As with the TruSanders they consist of a steel plate with carbide grit bonded to the surface.

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H&L backing applied

They come with a separate hook and loop self-adhesive backing that you attach to the back of the disc. The reason that Dura-GRIT has you apply the backing yourself is that you can remove small plugs to accommodate 5-hole or 8-hole platens on your sander. Application is straight forward and once applied, the H&L backing isn't going to come off.

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Be careful remove the disc

Be careful removing them from your sander, especially if the platen has a heavy duty hook. I use them on a Bosch ROS65VC and the first time I tried removing a disc it did a wobbly on me. Fortunately it easily flattened with a bit of hand pressure and continues to work fine.

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The right way to remove the disc

I now use a metal trowel to slip in between the disc and platen to tease them apart. Dura-GRIT includes a heavy duty PSA backed pad that you can apply to your sander if you have the opposite problem – that is, your sander has a light duty hook. Check before applying the PSA backing pad.

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Sanded to 60 grit

With the 60 grit disc you can do very quick stock removal. You could use it to remove a varnish finish, tape residue, and dried glue, sand deck boards, and even to do some basic wood sculpting. 

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Sanded to 120 grit

The 120 grit disc leaves a much finer scratch pattern than the 60 grit disc, and is the one that most woodworkers will likely use most frequently. I tried it on a small glued-up panel that had a couple of uneven edges between boards. Normally I'd use a jack plane to level the panel and then hit it with the ROS. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I could level it using the 120 grit disc.

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Edges cut with a Gramercy 11 TPI rasp

The flat sander is essentially a double ended file, with 60 grit on one end and 120 on the other. The file is 1-1/2" wide and 9" long. It doesn't cut as quickly as a rasp, and doesn't have the same versatility (it lacks a rounded face and doesn't taper), but it does a darn good job. In the photo above I used a Gramercy 11 TPI rasp to bevel the edges of an Ash board. It went very quickly but left a rough finish.

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Edges cut with the Dura-GRIT 120 grit Flat Sander

While it took almost twice as long to file the edges with the flat sander, the result was a much smoother finish. 

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Ideal for sanding small parts

However, where I find the flat sander most useful is sanding small parts - spacers, stops, handles, and the like – and in enlarging slots and through mortises.

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Top: 1/4" square file; Bottom: 1/4" round file

The final two items in the Woodworkers Set consists on a 60/120 grit 1/4" square file and a 60 grit round file. Both can be used for enlarging smaller openings as well as for making decorative cuts. If used expressly on wood, these files will likely last a lifetime.

I would think that for most woodworkers, the Dura-GRIT Woodworkers Set will last for years. On a cost per unit basis, compared to conventional sandpaper, these carbide sanders are much more cost effective, based on how long they last, and provide an excellent return on investment.
 
KEY FEATURES:

  • Tungsten carbide cutting surfaces
  • Long wearing
  • Consistent sanding results over the entire job
  • Convenience of not constantly changing/buying sandpaper
  • All tools work on a variety of surfaces: hard and soft woods, fibreglass, carbon fibre, composites, laminates, plastics, rubber
  • Easy to clean
  • 90-degree ‘true sanding' (TruSander)
  • Cost effective, and a good return on investment
  • Includes: 80 grit and 150 grit TruSanders; 60 grit and 120 grit 5" Carbide Sanding Discs; 60/120 grit Flat Sander; 60 grit Round Carbide File; 60/120 grit Square Carbide File

COMPANY:Dura-GRIT
MODEL:Woodworkers Set
PRICE:$274.86 $198.59US until Dec 31, 2014
MADE IN:Canada

SPECIAL OFFER
duragrit_new offer
EXCLUSIVE PRE-LAUNCH PROMOTION only for Canadian Woodworking Readers!
SAVE over $76! (Regular MSRP $274.86US - reduced to $198.59US. Offer expires Dec 31st, 2014). Order Now.
 
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November, 2014
Author: 
Carl Duguay
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