Recently, I received an unexpected package in the mail. When I opened it, I discovered that a good friend had sent me several packages of Abranet abrasive. I had never heard of it before then, but this friend told me it was supposed to be great for wood turners. I was getting ready for the cradle project at the time though and had no choice to set it aside for the moment.
Well, I finished the cradle and was anxious to see if this stuff was any good. Since receiving it, I'd looked it up and read some good things about it. I wanted to see if it were true.
Abranet is a new take on sandpaper. Now I am always a tad skeptical when it comes to new takes of age old products. Sometimes there is just no way to reinvent the wheel. I am, however, always willing to give it a try.
It is a mesh type material with abrasive somehow glued or otherwise attached to the material. The idea is that dust goes through the pad and doesn't clog up like regular sandpaper and last longer, and give a better, cleaner, sanded surface.
Yea, right. so does it do what it says it does?
I had my doubts.
I turned a pen out of bocote. I put the sandpaper aside and used nothing but the Abranet. The idea here, for me, was to see how good a job it done without allowing my regular methods interfere with the testing.
So, my review of Abranet, in short, is this. Whoever thought this bright idea up, I want to kiss them right on the lips. I am happier with it than a fat kid at a pie eating contest.
This stuff is amazing.
Any of you turners out there, you know how quickly and easily sandpaper clogs up and you have to move to another spot on it. With Abranet, if it does seem to be getting a lot of dust buildup on it, tap it on something. I just took my finger and sort of thumped at it. It knocked the dust out of the little holes and it was all of a sudden, magically, like I'd just grabbed a new piece of abrasive again. You can't do that with sandpaper.
Pricing and selection may vary, but Abranet is available through Woodcraft or Penn State if any of you are interested in giving it a try.
Also, I'd like to thank my friend very much for sending it to me. I would probably never have tried it if you hadn't sent me that package. This is my new favorite abrasive.
Anyway, that was out of the way, but now I was anxious to make another pen. I have several woods I've gotten lately that I hadn't had a chance to try yet. Bocote was one of those woods. Another was padauk.
The padauk pen I had planned on turning similar to the bocote. I just wanted a simple design using the kit as it was intended. However, and I know this sounds cliche, but sometimes when I'm working on a project, the wood speaks to me. It tells me to go in a different direction than I intended. That was the case here.
When turning, I often stop, as one should, to check the process. When I stopped this pen, the wood had this absolutely stunning flaming look to it and was just screaming, "don't separate me with a metal ring". So I didn't. I removed the middle bushing and finished turning it without the band. Seeing the result, I'm glad I did.