Why Eco Star Painting Uses A Dustless Wall Sander
One of the everyday tasks for interior painters in Calgary is sanding walls. Many years ago we used to perform this job the old fashioned way with a Pole Sander and a lot of elbow grease. It can be quite a physical and tiresome activity if the job description requires an entire house to sand.
I realized right away that there had to be an easier way to do it. Not only does this cost a lot of sweat equity but it also produces a lot of fine dust particle that will settle on anything in the room if not covered up. Obviously, it's also unhealthy for the painter and for the occupants sharing the space.
Introducing the Porter Cable 7800 Wall Sander and Festool Dustless Sanding System. This review is about the Porter Cable 7800 Wall Sander but it would be incomplete if I didn't briefly mention the Festool CT26 Dust Extractor that it was attached to. Festool is a German company that manufactures high-quality tools. If one were to Google Festool you will discover various Groups and forums that love to discuss their favorite tools from this manufacturer. Carpenters, in particular, love them some Festool!
The Festool CT26 is a dust extractor with variable speed suction and comes with a Hepa Filter. It has an anti-static hose and a power outlet built into the vacuum. The dust bags are easily accessible by flipping up a couple of locking handles on its side. The Festool vacuum is built so that storage boxes or "Sustainers" can be mounted and stacked onto it for easy storage and transport.
Now the Review of the Porter Cable 7800 Wall Sander
This sander has a 9" circular Pad and it attached to a Static-dissipating 1-1/4" vacuum hose. It has variable speed capabilities of 1,400-2,000 RPM. The dial ranges from 1-5 settings.
The sanding head is articulating which allows the user greater maneuverability and comfort. The head doesn't gouge the surface because it has little bristles on it. This "skirt" also traps the dust so it is sucked up into the vacuum and not released into the environment. Now, I'm not going to say that it is always perfect. Sometimes if you go over an uneven surface or do not keep it flat on the wall a small amount of dust can escape. With enough practice, this doesn't happen very often. It's important to always keep it flat and to turn off the unit before raising it up.
I used the Porter Cable 7800 at full power or the #5 setting. The Festool dust extractor was set at approximately 3/4 suction. With too much suction it can make sanding more difficult because it sticks to the wall more.
For sanding Drywall Compound I used a 180 grit sandpaper disc. For sanding old paint on walls I prefer to use 120 grit sandpaper. We often find the regular all-purpose drywall compound is easier to sand with the PC7800 and you are less apt produce fine scratches. I know that professional tapers use a lightweight compound to finish it off but it is really easy to scratch. The all-purpose has more binders in it which makes it a bit more durable and user-friendly.
For areas that cannot be sanded with the Porter cable 7800 9" disc, we use the Festool ETS125 5" sander. This sander is a workhorse and produces outstanding finishes.