An open weave, velcro backed abrasive mesh product that allows the dust to pass through the abrasive, avoiding clogging.
Abranet is an abrasive mesh product produced by Mirka in Finland. Originally developed for the sanding of motor body filler and similar surfaces in the re-finishing trade, it has recently found many adherents in the world of woodworking and, particularly, woodturning. The mesh backing, whilst somewhat stiffer than the J-weight backing cloth of our Ekamant abrasives is sufficiently flexible to allow it to bend into the contours of the workpiece, and it is particularly effective on large planar surface such as the exterior of bowls, hollow forms and the like. The abrasive medium is Aluminium Oxide which is well proven in woodworking applications. The rear face of the abrasive is textured similar to a velour-backed abrasive disc and this reflects its use in the automotive industry where the abrasive is applied to "velcro" backing pads on power sanders.
The open nature of the product allows dust to fall through the mesh as it is created on the face of the workpiece, avoiding clogging the abrasive with dust. At the same time, this characteristic introduces a hazard which should be addressed by woodworking users in that copious amounts of 'free' dust are created when using Abranet. It is essential to use an efficient dust extraction system, close to the point of sanding, when using this product, to ensure that this airborne hazard is conducted away from the operator before it has chance to become intermixed with the ambient air in the workshop. Ideally Abranet should be used with sanders which have integral dust extraction, but this is simply not feasible in most woodturning situations. However, if we cannot produce ideal circumstances for the prevention of the dust hazard, we should all take care to be aware of the hazard and to ameliorate its effects as far as possible. Wet sanding is another approach which may limit the amount of dust escaping into the atmosphere, but this will reduce the effectiveness of the dust release properties of Abranet.
We offer Abranet in a variety of 'configurations'. Firstly, unlike many suppliers who do not understand the sense and economy of keeping grade steps small (see Ekamant abrasives page), we offer every available grit between 80 and 1000 grit. Grits from 80 to 600 are available as boxed packs of (approximately) 50 strips per box, each strip measuring 70 mm x 125 mm. Grits 800 and 1000 are only produced as rolls and these are 75 mm wide and 10 metres long. For convenience and economy we supply each of these grits in packs of 10 strips, all of the same grit. Finally, because some of us only turn occasionally, or maybe simply want to try a new abrasive, we supply two packs of Abranet assortments: the first we call the 'Primary Pack' containing grits from 80 to 240 grit, two sheets of each grit (total 12 sheets), whilst the second we term a 'Finishing Pack', containing, as it does, grits from 320 to 1000, again two sheets of each grit (total 12 sheets).