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John P Lebens
04-23-2010, 11:43 PM
This may sound like a sales pitch, so I want to make it clear I have no financial interest whatsoever in this product. I am sharing what I know only because the Mirka blocks have been effective tools for me. I have been "wooding" a lot of exterior mahogany this spring and love using this stuff.

Mirka is a Finnish company that is supplying abrasives and related tools primarily to the auto repair industry. The local Chris Craft restorer recommended them and I bought both the 8" and the 16" versions last fall. They are excellent sanding devices.

These hand sanding blocks come in three sizes. They use a perforated hook and loop system to attach their Abranet or Autonet paper. The "paper" is some kind of fabric that is also very porous. If you use it on dry wood, it outlasts typical paper several times over. As you use it, the grit remains, but gradually changes to a finer grade.

The paper can be bought in a role or in precut sheets. The roll is cheaper. Autonet is a newer version of the abrasive that is supposed to be both cheaper and better.

These are the only hand sanding devices I know of that incorporate a vacuum system. Mirka sells a 12 ft vacuum hose (about one inch in diameter and very flexible) that attaches to the block, then to a vacuum of your choice with a cone shaped rubber plug. The vacuum works extremely well. The hose is much more flexible than a typical vacuum hose so it is much easier to control the motion of the sander.

The link below shows the product.

http://www.mirka.com/B99EC753-3AE7-4F33-93A7-F9BB22912C11.W5Doc

They are available on Amazon and in Portland through Woodcrafters and Super F paint. It might take a bit of looking to find them, but they are well worth it. If I recall correctly, the long block was about $35 and the shorter ones around $20. A roll of Autonet was $25.

I still use other sanding tools for certain application, but these are my overall favorite.