Jump to content

Sia Air Velvet Test

Recommended Posts

I bought the full array of Sia Air Velvet buffing pads from Grizzly. Here's a convenient link to the product page. These are basically 5" or 6" round sanding pads designed to stick onto your hook & loop (velcro) random orbital sander. They can be used wither wet or dry. They are supposed to be machine washable and have an extended lifespan, though I'd probably just wash them out by hand. The grits run from 240 to 4000. The 5" pads run $2.95 each.

I took a 4 1/2" x 5" piece of Bocote I had lying around, sanded it up to 220, then laid three coats of water-based poly on each side. After letting them cure for 3 days, I ran it through the grits on the random orbital sander I have. I did one side dry and the other side wet. After taking both sides up to 4000, I then applied Meguiars swirl remover using the foam pad from Stew-Mac in my cordless drill.

The goal was to see if the pads would level & buff the finish as effectively as doing it by hand. If they worked, I might have brought a HUGE time saving item to our world that is very cost effective. If not, I've at least tried.

Here are the progress pics as I ran them through the paces.

finished but untouched



240 dry


240 wet


Link to comment
Share on other sites

dry side swirled 1


dry side swirled 2


wet side swirled 1


wet side swirled 2


One side sanded through, the other side didn't. This tells me that 3 generous coats of brushed on poly is not enough, but just barely. This is very useful all by itself.

There IS a difference between the wet-sanded side and the dry. The wet side is more even and level. The dry side has small ripples in it that you can see when held at an angle and looking for the reflection. They can be felt if your finder is run over them slowly and you're feeling for them.

So far, the test is not only successful but very promising. In a few weeks, I'll be testing them on the LPjr I'm currently laying lacquer onto. I'm currently up to 3 coats, with another 2 to go. I'll be taking pics of that progress as well and posting the results here when it's all done. That will be the final litmus test for out purposes: will they give a mirror finish on a guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool. Thanks. I wouldn't bother sanding dry above 320 grit on the basis that the soap and water should stop the material you sand off loading and marring your workpiece. That might have something to do with the unsatisfactory finish on the dry side. I find that wet paper seems to "suck" itself more evenly across the surface, which again might contribute.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sure the rippling is from the sander being used dry. You run the risk of building up heat and pulling the finish with dry sanding, and even more so when you factor in the RO sander. But it does sound like a good product to look into. Do you have carved tops in the works to test them out on? Would be interested to see how well you can control and level with those pads on a carved top.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, you didn't have to use them to experiment with, I have been posting extensively about those pads ever since I've been a member here, and have been using them for many many years.

Search word: 'abralon' :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...