ROS papers more forgiving to swirl marks

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Forum topic by Gilley23 posted 12-05-2017 01:25 PM 1401 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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489 posts in 1160 days

12-05-2017 01:25 PM

I’m having to use some 60 grit to get down into some hard maple, anything higher and it’s just not working so well. Problem is, it’s leaving swirl marks which are a PITA to remove. How do the Abranet papers work with reducing swirl marks? I can’t imagine a paper being more resistant to them than that type, but I’ve never used it before. Recommendations?

23 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


13399 posts in 3158 days

#1 posted 12-05-2017 01:56 PM

60 grit is too coarse for wood IMO. A hand plane would be better if you need to remove that much wood.

-- Rick M,

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1527 days

#2 posted 12-05-2017 02:35 PM

I’m also thinking that a hand plane would do a better job at wood removal, while keeping the surface flat. But, you can use th rough grit sandpaper to remove wood, and then use progressively finer grits to remove the swirl marks.

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 1160 days

#3 posted 12-05-2017 03:17 PM

Unfortunately I don’t have a hand plane suitable for real work :/

Even progressing through the grits, the swirl marks don’t go away, at least not in any kind of timely manner. Might need to just bear with it.

Has anyone tried the abranet sheets or something similar for their ROS?

View splintergroup's profile


3801 posts in 2001 days

#4 posted 12-05-2017 10:39 PM

Before buying new discs, make sure you are moving slow enough (one inch per second) with the sander. Moving too fast will result in the “pigtails”

View Woodknack's profile


13399 posts in 3158 days

#5 posted 12-05-2017 10:47 PM

I use Abranet on my lathe work and it’s great quality but I’ve never used it on an ROS. Make sure it’s a good quality sandpaper, the cheap ones have inconsistent grains which leave deep score marks you can’t get out. But 60 grit in general will also leave deep score marks that are hard to get out. You could try steaming the bad spots to raise the grain and get out the worst of it.

-- Rick M,

View tomsteve's profile


1039 posts in 1997 days

#6 posted 12-05-2017 11:45 PM

if youre going through the grits progressivly- not skipping to much- the pigtails should be getting progressively finer with each grit. a simple way to tell, but only when im sanding that aggressivly, is to spray some flat black paint on the surface between grits.just a dust coat. when all the paint is gone, ive refined with that grit and onto the next.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1370 days

#7 posted 12-06-2017 01:36 AM

More often than not a hand plane is not an option. Sanding usually happens on an assembled and glued up piece so one must use sandpaper.
I think you are going too fast. After each grit draw pencil lines on the sanded area and sand with the next grit till the lines go away.
Also if you use low quality crambling discs the swirl marks can be the result of falling off crumbs.

View Sark's profile


281 posts in 1139 days

#8 posted 12-06-2017 01:37 AM

I’ve not been able to get the scratch marks out when starting with 60 grit. If what you’re sanding is flat, you might consider using a router with a big flat planing bit in it. Build a jig to allow you to plane the surface flat with mutiple passes of the router. Lots DIY plans and router bits for this technique.

Also note that there is a huge difference in routers and the sanding pads that come with them. My little delta 5” is so aggressive and uncontrollable that’s its only suited for rough sanding. Partly this is because the orbits are so huge.
My Festool has a much tighter orbit, which makes it less aggressive and better for smoothing. The Festool ROS also has interchangeable sanding pads, and I currently have their hard pad, which is more suitable for flattening than the softer pads which follow contours and dig into the softer grains easier. It also has a variable speed motor, so you can reduce the aggressiveness when needed.

Finally the best abrasive for ROS I’ve found is the Mirka abrasives, which are open screens, not paper with holes. They last a lot longer and cut better than any other that I’ve used. I had to buy a special pad to use the Mirka disks, because the abrasive doesn’t stick to the typical sander set for hook and loop disks very well.

View Sark's profile


281 posts in 1139 days

#9 posted 12-06-2017 01:46 AM

Duplicate, deleted

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 1160 days

#10 posted 12-06-2017 01:54 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. So I think I found my culprit: cheap discs. Cheap discs + poor technique = no bueno. I started off in a hurry. My house is in pieces because I’m working on it and I rushed. Last night I slowed down to the standard 1inch/sec and it cleared it up a little bit, but not much.

Today I went and picked up the variety pack (80/120/180/240/320/400/600, @5 discs each) of the Mirka Abranet and WOW what a difference in performance. The discs remove material quicker, leave behind a better surface and virtually don’t load up. Just going over my previous sanding with the Abranet 80 grit took care of a lot of the swirls. I just started with the 120 and have a lot of area to cover, so I’ll be at this for a bit longer tonight.

I’m a relatively new woodworker, so this lesson in cheap discs and technique is a good one for me. If anyone here hasn’t tried the Mirka Abranet, give it a shot. It’s definitely not the cheapest, but if you buy the larger packs of it it isn’t bad at all.

Fyi, here’s what I was using:

The higher grits were acceptable. The lower grits Stay Away! Won’t be buying these again.

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 1160 days

#11 posted 12-06-2017 02:07 AM

Ohh and from my reading about different discs, the general consensus is that Klingspor’s discs are the best value for the performance and longevity you get from them. Bosch are ok. Norton 3X are rated high as well as their Multi-Air discs.

View OSU55's profile


2648 posts in 2768 days

#12 posted 12-06-2017 02:49 AM

Although you did find discs that work much better, how flat is the surface? You also mentioned the amount of time you are going to spend. These are the types of issues that led me to handplanes. Realizing it may be too late for this project, obtaining some should be in your immediate plans. Its amazing what a relatively cheap Stanley Bailey properly tuned can do for you, as in virtually negate the need for sanding tools, discs, etc

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3187 days

#13 posted 12-06-2017 04:20 AM

Here is advice from my Grandfather years ago to me. SLOW DOWN. I had just bought my house and was at warp speed. Way too many mistakes I would later have to go back and fix. Rome was not built in a day. Having said that I still sometimes call it an early night if I feel I am rushing. Even have a sign in the shop that says speed set at glacial, steady as she goes.
Myself I use Mirka Gold and never have had any issues. But cannot say I have ever used 60 grit on wood. Metal yes but not with my ROS.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View oldnovice's profile


7563 posts in 4146 days

#14 posted 12-07-2017 12:00 AM

Have you checked the sandpaper mounting pad?
Something stuck on the mounting pad, causing a irregular mount, could also effect the sanding.

Why not a belt sander, or a router plane set up, to remove a lot of material?
I have never sanded maple with 60 grit sandpaper and if I did I would use Mirka grits.
I have tried almost all makes of sandpaper and found that, in my opinion, Mirka is hard to beat!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View maxyedor's profile


38 posts in 1103 days

#15 posted 12-15-2017 07:16 PM

Good quality abrasives help a bunch. It seems like they’re a little more consistent in the grain, meaning you don’t have random “extra large” grains poking out. Mostly the high quality discs cut faster and last longer. Mirka, Klingspor, 3M, and the top-shelf Norton have all served me well.

I like the abradenet type abrasives, I don’t know that they do much for swirl marks but they are good abrasives and I like that you don’t have to line up the holes on your pad.

I found that no matter what I did with my small ROS I’d either spend my entire lifetime sanding, or have to go with a coarse grit and end up with pigtails. Getting a better quality sander helped that a lot. I got a Bosch 1250, it’s like the Festool Rotex, but half the price and it’s more aggressive with 150 grit than my little dewalt is with 60. Not a cheap solution though.

A scraper plane would be a great addition to your tool chest as well. I think the Wood River scraper plane is like $60, and should get you down to a nice smooth finish in no-time.

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