Most shops go through lots of abrasive materials, and while most don’t make abrasive choices with the same kind of intense cost-benefit analysis they might apply to a machine purchase, it’s still worth taking a closer look. Longtime abrasives manufacturer Ali Industries recently launched a new line of abrasives under the Shopsmith brand that the company claims brings a longer-lasting product to retail-level buyers.

What’s different?

Abrasives sold under the Shopsmith brand are designed to fit most hand and power sanders. Discs are designed to be tear resistant. There are also bi-directional flush joint ceramic sanding belts and specialty oscillating abrasive film sheets.

The primary feature is something Ali bills as “G2 technology,” which is a combination of what the company describes as high performance abrasive grains with heavy duty backings designed to last longer and cut faster than typical abrasives available at the retail level. They also are designed to have an anti-clog coating to prevent particle build-up during sanding.

It’s hard to measure some of the company’s claims about longer life and faster cutting without having a standard to compare to. Most readers of CabinetMakerFDM will want a comparison with other industrial quality products as opposed to the cheapest abrasives available at the local home center. In trying out a sampling of the new Shopsmith abrasives, we did not attempt to do head-to-head comparisons, but we were favorably impressed with how the abrasives performed, clearly meeting or exceeding industrial standards.

What’s available?

The sampling of products we tried included foam blocks and hand sanders, 5-inch hook-and-loop, 6-inch PSA discs, and abrasive belts. Even more products are available under the Shopsmith brand, including sponge holders, synthetic steel wool, more sizes of discs, and loose sheets. Grit ranges on most products cover common usage, such as 40 to 320 grit in the abrasive discs.

Available at Lowe’s and Menards home improvement stores, the Shopsmith branded products are readily available, if you want to take your own test drive to compare them with the abrasives you currently use. You can see a full catalog of the offerings at www.shopsmithabrasives.com.

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