We recently added a new flap wheel sander and would like to tell you why we did it.
We put quite a bit of research into this project and thought it might be useful for you to see. We wanted to take our custom cabinet doors to the next level, and quickly recognized our weakest point: the micro edges contouring every profile on our doors. We have since have proved what research suggests: To achieve the perfect sand, you have to machine flap wheel sand every edge. There are many alternatives to this, and admittedly, we have been employing them for years. They are, however, only substitutes, and a perfect finish cannot be achieved without the right equipment (or superhuman powers). If every edge on a door isn’t broken, your customer will notice sharper edges and your finish will have higher chances of flaking off, causing warranty visits and all kinds of replacement costs. Some of our competitors hand sand to break edges. Hand sanding may appear to get the job done, but leaves behind too many inconsistencies. In order to get the perfect sand, a person would have to apply the same amount of pressure, at the same angle, along varying short and long runs, over and over and over. It just isn’t economical or practical. Add to the fact that hand sanding runs the very common risk of a slip causing cross-grain marks in panels. Take a look at some pictures of some studies we did, they show a magnification of 10x at different points along the door.
This first set shows the contrast between two alder doors, the first one is hand sanded, and the second is machine sanded. These pictures were taken from the top corner of the comparison doors.
This next set illustrates the same doors at 4″ from the top
The results were very subtle at quick glance, but after a close look, we saw huge differences, ones that matter. In short, we were blown away with the difference, and purchased a Quickwood flap wheel sander. Here is some footage (not ours): Flap wheel sander for custom cabinet doors