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Handheld sander - waste or worth it?

(13 Posts)
Gentleness Fri 05-Nov-10 22:38:43

There just seems so much to do - ancient skirtings with about 17 layers of gloss on, the stairs, understairs cupboard, the floorboards (partially encrusted with plaster dust).

I can't bear the thought of doing it all by hand, apart from the fact the carpel tunnel pain will stop me from doing more than 30mins at any time, as will our 1yr-old and pg#2 is very wriggly.

Moaning over, would you or have you bought one? Was it useful or a waste? Which one?

cleggy36 Fri 05-Nov-10 22:45:11

Electric sanders are great, but some jobs are still beyond them. If you really do have skirting boards like that then you'd be better off getting a heat gun and if the floorboards are in really bad shape you need to hire a proper floor sander. I don't want to sound negative, but I'd hate you to spend good money on a tool and then be disappointed. What they are really for is smoothing bare timber to get it ready for painting or cleaning off thin layers of paint or dirt.

ttalloo Fri 05-Nov-10 22:46:26

Buy one, gentleness!

I used a handheld sander (Black & Decker, I think) to sand the skirting boards and the staircase in our house when we bought it six years ago. It still took me three weekends of working 12 hours a day to sand the staircase (one grade of sanding each weekend, and allowing the varnish to dry in between), but I'd never have been able to do it in the time if I were doing it with some bits of sandpaper.

The only thing I would say is that having a handheld sander reverberating in your hand for the best part of a day does wear you out, and my hands felt really jittery and wobbly afterwards. I'm not sure I would have fancied doing it when pg...

Heartsease Sat 06-Nov-10 09:59:25

I bought one for doing the detail work in my house-- skirtings and banisters mostly -- and ended up doing it all by hand as it was just easier. I was so fixated on my little sander, and I may still use it at some point (haven't finished the stairs), but it definitely doesn't magically make it all quick and easy.

I used those sanding sponge things which get in to the nooks and crannies and round the mouldings of the skirting boards better. For the floorboards, I don't think a handheld sander is the right tool -- the plaster dust should scrub off, and if you need to sand after that you almost certainly need something bigger.

Gentleness Tue 09-Nov-10 10:14:11

Oh - I was so hoping for a magic solution!

I saw those heat guns - need to investigate more. We'll most likely be painting over again, so it sounds like the fine finish of a sander would be overkill for us. Mind you, I would LOVE to find the banister wood good enough to just varnish...

NeanderChap Tue 09-Nov-10 22:13:14

Careful, those 17 layers of ancient gloss may be fairly nasty stuff in the lower levels, possibly up to and including lead (depending on age). In any case not the stuff to be breathing dust, or burning heatgun fumes, while pregnant. Take care.

Heat guns are amazing though.

Gentleness Thu 11-Nov-10 11:22:38

Hmmm - fumes. Didn't think of them. The first layers would be early 1900s so lead is a possibility. Do you think a mask would be enough protection? If I wait for dh to do this, it will NEVER get finished...

HonestyBox Thu 11-Nov-10 14:43:47

V. important to check for lead if house is that old. I am in the same situation with age of house and layers of paint. If you find lead then sanding is out as an option. You can remove the wood and send it to be stripped. I found this link has some useful information inc. importance of staying away from lead whilst preg. and of keeping young children away.

You can use a heat gun and paint stripper to remove lead paint but best to get a specialist in to do it and def. no-no whilst pg or around kids. Invariably if lead is present you will end up releasing a certain amount of lead into your environment however careful you are and the best option would be to fill the bad bits and then paint over it. Sorry for being the bearer of bad news but I'm having the same issue myself at the mo and have done the research (being the paranoid person that I am) and I'm keen to crack on with the decorating too - it's a right bummer and apparantly the self-test kits are not all that reliable.

Gentleness Thu 11-Nov-10 23:24:41

Darn and double darn. But thanks for that link - really useful.

Does that really mean I can't even do a light sanding just to get a surface I can regloss? I do wonder if it would be easiest to just replace the skirting boards and get some advice about the bannister etc.

TheNextMrsDepp Fri 12-Nov-10 00:11:17

We bought a very cheap un-branded hand-held sander years ago and it has had loads of use! Smoothing plaster, keying gloss paintwork, smoothing garden furniture.....honestly, it is a very handy item to have.

HonestyBox Fri 12-Nov-10 09:05:06

The surface layers v. unlikely to have lead so as long as it isn't chipped down to the lower layers (which mine is all over the place), then you could sand the surface. You could still get it tested for lead and find out for sure. Get a decorator in to strip the bannister and prepare the woodwork for repainting I reckon. Being pg is a good reason not to do it yourself.

southeastastra Fri 12-Nov-10 09:07:22

i did the heat gun things with the skirting boards and my dad (carpenter) told me there really was no need. burnt the carpet too blush

electric sanders are imo fantastic - i did my pine table last year. dust wasn't too bad.

HonestyBox Fri 12-Nov-10 09:46:40

Was there no need because you didn't need to get the paint off or because there was no lead?

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