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Tip and Tricks: Steel Discs Improve Abrasive Efficiency!


Did you know that sanding with steel discs improves the efficiency of the medium and fine grit abrasives? It's true!! Wood varies in density from board to board, even within a single board. Most of this is related to the growth rings, which are evident in the  cathedral grain patterns common in plain sawn wood. Traditional sanding, without  steel discs, can leave coarse and medium grit scratches deep in the low density  "valleys' of the wood surface. However, when steel discs are used, the high density  "peaks" are reduced without further digging out of the valleys. This allows each  subsequent grit to fully remove the pattern of the previous coarser grit, ultimately  leaving the floor flatter and with a finer scratch pattern. When using the steel discs, the medium and fine grit abrasives can each do their job with much less effort and become more effective in achieving the ultimate flat and scratch free surface.

How the Bona Power Drive Saves Time and Money for Sheaves Floors

I was introduced to the Bona Power Drive five or six years ago when it first launched into the market. I had recently tried another planetary sander, but wasn’t very impressed with the overall performance of the machine. It wasn't gear driven; was extremely big, bulky and hard to maneuver and wouldn't fit in smaller, tighter, and even restricted height areas. Also, the dust collection system on the machine wasn't efficient nor did I like the overall aggressiveness of the machine (at the time I was comparing it to what I had). The machine also required very rigorous cleaning and maintenance for it to work properly. Needless to say, it was a one time use for that machine and after trying the Power Drive out in the field, I haven’t looked back.


When I first started using the Power Drive on jobs, I would bring it in after edging and using the big machine, mainly for a final flattening pass. I’ve since realized how underestimated this machine is and wish I could go back five years to understand what I know now of all its capabilities! I would have saved myself a lot of time and effort.  

Now I only use the Power Drive on 90% of my sanding/refinishing jobs. I run a smaller operation and do most of the work on my own so efficiency is extremely important. Not only do I use it as a big machine, but it’s also completing the majority the edging for me too. The Power Drive serves as a big machine, edger, planetary machine, and buffer, all in one. Instead of carrying a big machine in and out of a home, up and down stairs or spending money on different edgers for different purposes, I rely solely on the Power Drive. It saves me so much time on the job site by streamlining my machines and is also much easier on my body.

I can sand all day and I’m UPRIGHT. You eliminate most of the edging with “vertical sanding” so you have much less body fatigue. I’m also not being pulled across the hardwood all day long by a big machine. The Power Drive is a very easy machine to run, and truly anyone can run it, from a rookie to a seasoned pro. In fact, even my 79-year-old Grandfather, Larry, still comes out to help me when I am on bigger jobs because he can manage the Power Drive on his own.

I have contractors reaching out several times a week to ask about my sanding sequence when using the Power Drive. They want to know, “Is it really faster to use the Power Drive than run at least one pass with a big machine?” My answer is yes (for most jobs anyway). My sanding sequence does vary job to job, and that depends on wood species, the floor layout and what I’m sanding off the floor. However, if it’s a new install, for instance, I would start with Bona Green 60 Grit Abrasives and work up from there. I run Bona Green 60, 80, 100 Grit Abrasives and Bona Black 120 Grit Abrasives or Bona Diamond 120 Grit Abrasives. Then I will run weights and steel plates all the way through to my final pass. At that point I take the weights and steel plates off, so the machine is as light as possible to give a bit more of a cushion. Because I sand and refinish a lot of really old floors that aren’t level anymore, this avoids the risk of the steel plates digging into the hardwood floor.

Dust containment is also excellent on Power Drive. I use it with my PDC 2.0 which creates the perfect combination for ultimate dust containment in a very compact and versatile package.

Since adding the Power Drive to my equipment lineup, I have truly improved our production. The added weights and steel plates make it a sanding beast that has proved to be unbeatable in the market. The Power Drive was one of the best business investments we’ve made.