Eliminating hand sanding is generally a surface prep efficiency goal for painters and wood/drywall finishers. Especially for us, for instance, on a friday when we are trying to bust out a final skim coat and head for the mountains.

At times, power sanding is impractical and we need high level manual options for small scale sanding, especially in awkward or hard to reach places. By "high level" we mean as simple and functional as the traditional hand sponge. At the same time, more ergonomically pleasing than the rubber molded variations with the sharp tacks that never hold sandpaper tight, but are always ready to puncture a finger.

Festool Hand Sanding Solutions for both Wood and Drywall:

  • Granat Soft Roll
  • Non-Extractable HSK
  • Extractable HSK

Granat Soft Roll

The soft roll concept is the ultimate in convenience and simplicity, because they fold and fit right in your back pocket. They are standard issue on our crew, and every person is expected to have one on hand (or pocket) at all times, so there is never an excuse not to be able to do a quick wipe or edge break on drywall or wood.

For many years we used Mirka Goldflex rolls, but when Festool Granat became available in rolls, they quickly became our standard. Granat is an ideal abrasive for painted surfaces because it doesn't load. The Granat soft roll consistently outperformed it's Mirka counterpart in abrasive quality. User experience is better as well because the foam backing on the Granat roll is cushier, which is more comfortable and also provides more barrier between hands and surfaces. This reduces the likelihood of wood splinter cuts slowing down production.

Available in grits from 120-800, these boxed rolls are about 82 feet long, 4 1/2 inches wide and perforated every 5 inches for tear off. This makes for over 200 sheets at just $60.

Non-Extractable HSK

When we first started testing the Festool HSK hand sanding kit, (thank you to Festoolusa for supplying the kit for testing) it quickly surpassed the 3m and other blocks that we had used previously – in both function and form. And, HSK is a great recycling program for those "seasoned" abrasives. The only downside with the HSK was the irony of it being a manual tool set, no motors or spinning parts, and also one of the biggest surface dust generators of our sanders – more so than the electric sanders with extraction. All in all, we could live with it, especially when we looked back at the methods that this kit replaced. We like the HSK. In fact, we affectionately refer to it as "the Lunch Box."

But an intermediate option between the slow and dirty manual sanding options and the power sanding/extraction standards we have come to know would be ideal.

Extractable Hand Sanding Kit (HSK)

In typical form, Festool was forward thinking in the implementation of the extractable HSK. Hand sanding can be done dust free too.

Our Observations on Extractable HSK:

  • Good on wood/small drywall patch sanding
  • Our 2 preferred sizes: 80×130 (3"x5") and 115×226 (4.5x9")
  • Uses existing Festool abrasives (LS130/RTS400/RS2)
  • Adjustable extraction rate
  • Dedicated 22mm hose
  • Great extraction: no dust

Recommended Improvements:

  1. put them on a threaded extension pole
  2. extract through the pole, to the hose, then to the extractor

Meanwhile, we will gladly run the extractable HSK just the way they are.
The Lunch Box is still a popular set on our crew. While Festool power sanders generally eliminate most hand sanding, on those occasions where hand sanding is the best option, it is nice to be able to do it with extraction.

Overall, all three of the hand sanding options described herein are great resources to have on hand to solve small sanding problems. As always, we thank FestoolUSA for submitting products for us to test for viability and solutions to typical problems in the professional painting field.

How do you defeat the devil in the hand sand details?

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