Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #23: Sandpaper.........better than the good old days...........

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 03-26-2010 04:39 AM 1393 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: Done with the Router Table Mod...Dirty, but NOT QUICK. LJ's is to blame.....SHAME!..... Part 23 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 24: Two New Totes........Experimenting with MDF »

I was reading a post by Mark about sandpaper, and remembered I was going to blog on a similar item…....
........and so here it is…........

...........being an old gomer, and having a stash of sandpaper from yesteryear, that I bought in some quantity about 15 years ago…...

I thought about the good old days and the good old sandpaper…..........

...........most often, I am using this old sandpaper with…........

.......... my aged, one of these days I am going to club it to death so I can buy a new sander, 1/2 sheet Hitachi orbital sander…......

I have alluded to this before…....what do you do with a fantastic tool that will not die?........

........ and does it job superbly, but does not have the kudos, the penache, the modern sexy allure, the pride of possession engendered by the latest tools….

........with their PSUEDO NIKE TENNIS SHOE STYLE.........

......... and all the hyperbole enveloping them from the mouths of the nubile exponents of the modern marketing machine seducing you to wallow in the sexual splendor of their magnificent, and obvious, proficiency…..

I really don’t know what to do. I have outlived the culture that I embraced in my youth.

The Hitachi will obviously outlive me, so I will have to destroy it, to justify a new sander, and enter the new nirvana of woodworking…........
But this is about sandpaper.

So I had a 15 year old piece of Norton (I think it is all made in Canada) sandpaper on the Hitachi, and it very quickly fragmented and failed, just like it has for 15 years.

But I had bought some new Norton 3X sandpaper at Lowe’s, seeing the end of my stash.

So I folded and teared a 1/2 sheet as always, but with the new 3X.

......sanding along…....wait a minute. I turned off the sander… had already done the job in a flash, I almost overdid it.
.......and I used it over and over again….....

..........Yup, 3 times faster, and it lived, well probably, about 5 times longer….......

Finally something is better than the good old days…..........SANDPAPER….................

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

19 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3259 days

#1 posted 03-26-2010 04:59 AM

LOL… Now THAT was a fun read…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3135 days

#2 posted 03-26-2010 05:01 AM

And now the Hitachi will serve you well for another 15 years wearing old man Dickie pants and a crew cut instead of donning those Nike’s and wearing a nose ring….


I have a ryobi sander I have had for a few years. It doesn’t wear cool jeans either. I have a few boxes of the Norton 3x paper purchased from the Depot. I agree that stuff is much more pleasant to work with than the old stuff. I picked up a Black and Decker cyclone a couple years ago for a project and just recently invested in a bunch of Gator hook and loop pads for it. Compared to B and D Jim, Hitachi gets a little more fanfare. Kind of like that foreign exchange student who might look a little different, but that accent really gets the girls going.

You are stuck Jim, deal with it :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3191 days

#3 posted 03-26-2010 06:06 AM

Glad you enjoyed it…......unfortunately I fear there may be some truth there…..........

David Craig
I am not sure how old that Hitachi is, but over 20 years for sure. It will probably be buried with me, it has become an old friend…..of the best sort.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3782 days

#4 posted 03-26-2010 06:40 AM

Sometimes we just have to go into the workshop and talk to ourselves about these desires for the new “Nikes”.

If “old girl” still works, you keep her around. She’s like an old friend. Familiar and comfortable and you understand her every “word”.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#5 posted 03-26-2010 10:53 AM

It´s funny how we neaderthalers think
every thing was better in the good old day´s
but it wasn´t some of it was just build to hold
for ages speciel when you talk about electric
tools mainly becourse they were for prof.
and they didn´t make things for the hobby world
where they have a hole cheape line of the same
tools as they make for prof.
but I think it also has to do with the same experents
I have with my very old drilling maschine it always
seems to jump right up in the hand every time
there is some drilling to be done even thow I
have newer bigger/smaller maschines there will
do the job faster and better than the old one
we most admit we got to stick with the olds
becourse we have learned how they behave
and how to work around there lack of abilety
to do the jobs the same effecient ways that
new tools sometimes can and I do agree with
you sandpaper is realy a hole lot better than
the old days
last year I had got a very little toolbox after
my father past away where there was some
40 year old sandpaper in I tryed one of the papers
and then tossed them all out imittely while
I thought how the H…. cuold they use that
in those days sharkskind wuold have been better


View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3592 days

#6 posted 03-26-2010 12:14 PM

Ha Ha good read Jim, my sand paper is not as old as yours but not as good as the norton so that puts me in a pickle, not good enough but too good to throw away….but I usually reach for my card scrapers.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Berg's profile


116 posts in 3216 days

#7 posted 03-26-2010 01:55 PM

That 3x is great. Unfortunately my wife discovered my stash and refuses to use the “old” stuff. It’s up to me to use it up or toss it. Boxes of 100… I’m WAY too cheap to throw “perfectly good ” anything away. But it’s not about me it’s about sandpaper. And Alaska Jim’s suffering. Any of us who have been doing this for 40 years can empathize with Jim. We all have a Wonder Tool from He.. um can you say that here? from the depths of Mordor. Mine is my table saw…. and sandpaper.

Thanks for the very entertaining thread Jim

-- Pete - "To every thing there is a season Turn! Turn! turn!" [Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger]

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3201 days

#8 posted 03-26-2010 04:48 PM

Great stories, Dennis AND Jim:

This speaks to that “indulgent” post I made, about my dad.

When I think back to what WAS in his shop—the things I CAN recall—vivid images of things like his go-to electric drill come right to mind.

It was cast out of metal, and probably weighed too much for regular use (must have accelerated Repetitive Motion Injuries on the tradespeople of its day), but … it would drill through Lignum Vitae without breaking a sweat, and … THREE rambunctious boys … who NEVER listened to the old man about “Staying out of the shop” couldn’t break it … no matter how they tried.

Somewhat relevant to some of the ongoing threads, these days: I WOULD pay $150 for THAT kind of quality and durability … rather than half that price … for something that I’ll have to replace every couple of years … because it failed on me … at the precise moment I couldn’t afford to have it fail on me :-O

MY approach to the “reduce” portion in … Reduce, Re-use, Recycle … has always been to TRY to buy things once, and buy them right.

Uh …. mostly ;-)

-- -- Neil

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3024 days

#9 posted 03-26-2010 04:59 PM

I am with ya. I am still using my 1/2 sheet orbital sander from 35 years ago. The closest I can find one now is a Porter Cable 505H, they talk about the speed, the smoothness it sands, etc, etc. Thanks I have one ! When I walk through the “TOY SHOPS” I always pickup the new tools and “pet them” , then put them back on the shelf and go home and drool..I do wonder though. Do we need AERODYNAMIC shaped Tools ? Any thing to market a product !
p.s. I do have cordless drills , Hook and Loop sanders,even an air powered pin tacker, finishing nailer and Framing gun. Change is GOOD.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3191 days

#10 posted 03-26-2010 05:00 PM

Lew and David Craig
I would say that I really could use a small sander for some projects….......but when I bought the sandpaper, I also bought two new sanding blocks of different sizes. The small sanding bloack was used yesterday. With that new sandpaper, it really worked well…....guess I could put a nose ring on one end of the block, and glue a piece of black string on the other end, and it will feel just like having a new sander….........(-:

It’s like the old hack saws my grandfather gave me. About 25 years ago I bought a Swedish made Sandvik hack saw that works wonderfully to this day. In fact I used it 2 days ago. So this year I finally threw out the old hacksaws, with their beat up plastic handles and crude mechanisms that I hadn’t used in 25 years. I couldn’t think of a single thing to do with them. But don’t anyone touch my 40 year old RAS or my ancient Hitachi sander!.......(-:

I am pretty sure that Hitachi is close to 30 years old.

I got to get some card scrapers. I found myself using a razor scraper, and even a free hand razor blade to remove some glue yesterday. And I have used a razor scraper to smooth wood in tight corners. I am going to make a note to order them today. Probaly get some fence clamps also, while I am at it, ala Dave Owens excellent post about fence clamps

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3191 days

#11 posted 03-26-2010 05:16 PM

Actually I have two other tools that won’t die. One I only use rarely since I got my 18V Makita. That is an old Skil hammer drill, about 30 years old. It has a cast metal front end, and a heavy duty plastic handle. It was used so much that you can hardly read the model number or anything else on it. It is an almighty brute, and everything on it works like it was new. I remember drilling 11/16 inch holes through the logs in my Fairbanks house using an 18 inch long bit. I found the bit at the house, probably made by the originally owner of the log structure. He had welded (that’s what he did for a living) the bit to a long tapering extension.

If the drill bit got hung up… wouldn’t stop… just spun me. These days I have a little joint pain in my wrists and I think it is the cause. It’s hard on the wrists when you start spinning. I had to wear a football helmet and army boots when I used that combination, because when you start spinning, before you think to release the switch, your head and feet are at the ends of the arc you make and no telling what you are going to hit….........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3191 days

#12 posted 03-26-2010 05:33 PM

I realize now that my oldest electric hand tool is my Skil belt sander. There is no stopping it. No piece of wood can resist its power. And of course, that is the problem. It really cuts fast. The tool, I believe is as old as my RAS, about 39 years. Until I got my little Delta belt/disk combination, I would place that belt sander in the wood vise upside down and lock the switch in the on position. That sander is all cast aluminum except for the drive belt cover, and it, I am sure will outlast me. I actually have no reason to ever replace my Skil belt sander, hammer drill, skilsaw, or jig (saber) saw. And the Hitachi sander as well. They were built to last a lifetime, and I do believe they are going to make it. I am sure there are some great portable electric tools out there, but to match the quality of these old tools, I will be paying between $100 and $200 for each.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3191 days

#13 posted 03-26-2010 05:53 PM

As noted above, I now realize that I was buying very good quality portable electric tools, without even thinking much about it. But when I was buying those tools, I knew if I found a Skil branded tool, you were going to get quality. Skil had tool models that were lower priced than what I bought, but the only difference was features, not the general quality of the tool. Marketing and deception has replaced quality to a great extent, unfortunately.

My father never had a single electric power tool, except for the bench grinder he made from an old washing machine motor and a belt drive. But he would crank out a new set of stairs for the back of the house, or a garbage can stand using his hand tools without even thinking about it. He had a lot of woodworking skills from highschool. I now realize a book case we had was quarter sawn oak, in the A&E style, that he had built it in high school probably about 1917. I got destroyed in a fire about 15 years ago when my brothers house burnt down. Now I wish I could look closely at that bookcase. I dragged it to college with me, and when I went to medical school I let my older brother have it.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4326 days

#14 posted 03-26-2010 06:47 PM

One thing about the newer sanders, they have better way of clamping the paper in.

I had some older paper that when you folded it, it would crack open, & tear.

I’ve been using my screw gun for everything lately, but the other day I was going to nail

something, & I had a hard time finding my hammer, & I have four of them. LOL

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3191 days

#15 posted 03-26-2010 07:08 PM

I hear you about the clamping the paper. I will have to look at the new sanders when I am window shopping, and see if it would be a good enuf selling point to buy a new one. Actually I am planning to buy a smaller one eventually in any case. But it won’t be a cheapo, that has never worked well for me in electric hand tools. I will probably have to order it since they don’t seem to carry the top of the line. I have one hardware store to check and see if the carry the better Bosch or PC models.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics