About Me

About Me
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james draper profile pictureWho Am I?

Hello there, my name’s James Draper and I’m an experienced professional craftsman. My father owned a small woodworking shop and I helped him (or tried to!) in any way I could, it was his absolute favorite thing to do whenever he had time and that passion passed on to me.
Seeing him turn old, beaten down furniture into seemingly brand new objects with a simple sanding machine blew my mind and to this day the thing I love most is to bring life back to old things. I’ve owned a professional shop since I was 24 and now, at 45 (time flies!), I run it successfully and couldn’t be happier doing anything else.

Why did I Create Sander Score?

My friends constantly come to me for information and advice about anything related to craftsmanship, especially when it comes to sanding because they know that it’s my favorite skill and the one I dedicate the most time to. The word started to spread and I got more and more requests for advice, including lessons on how to properly sand objects and surfaces, how to pick the best sanding machine for the job and my favorite – how to set-up a great small shop on a budget. I love to help and since this is what I love I’m more than happy to share my experience. This is where the idea for SanderScore came from. I wanted to share with the world my knowledge of sanding (my favorite skill) and write the best articles and guides I could about it, such as what the best machines are, my favorite brands, safety equipment and how to use a power sander.

I love to answer your questions and clear any doubts about sanding or anything related to craftsmanship so I encourage you to leave a comment or even shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to answer you! Thank you for reading, I sincerely appreciate your company and I hope I was able to help you!

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  1. Hi James. I’m looking for a solution to a problem I have with interior paint in a room in my house. The paint was low odour and left an unpleasant smell which is still present nearly 4 years later. It is due to a problem in manufacture and likely to due bacteria presence in the paint. I think the best solution is to try to remove the paint and start again. Do you think sanding would be a safe option? There are four or more layers of paint to remove. Would a pro sander and vacuum work? Do they remove a layer of plaster too?
    Any advice appreciated

    • Hello Miss Hunt. I’ve had the same issue myself and sadly there’s no escaping it when it happens. While you could try to paint over it and wish for the best, a refinish would be the best option even though it’d take a few more hours of work. Sanding walls is fairly easy as long as you’ve got the right machine and a vacuum is essential to prevent a huge mess all over your house and to maintain a breathable atmosphere as well. Plaster walls are a breeze to sand safely, as opposed to drywall, so you don’t have to worry – just sand away evenly until you notice the plaster itself showing up. If you want to know which sanders are the best for the job, you can take a look at this article that I wrote dedicated to this subject. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend – if you’ve got any other questions feel free to leave another comment, I’ll be here!

  2. Please help with advice. I am an experienced DIYer that recently tried a RO sander for the first time. The bad experience – detailed below – left me hesitant to use a ROS with a hook & loop attachment system. The problem with discs flying off and not reattaching is stuck in my alarm register. Should I just go to a stick-on pad system or try a different H&L pad/sander? Any feedback will be appreciated.

    • Hey Del, before answering I want to say that I read the review but I had to shorten the comment due to its length. Now let’s get to it!
      Between H&L or stick pads I heavily favor the hook and loop system. I’ve used both and noticed that with H&L I consume less paper, get better finish results and it’s easier and faster to change the paper. One thing you’re 100% spot on is that the quality of the H&L pad varies heavily with each machine and brand, giving you wildly different results and durability. This applies to both the machine and the sandpaper brand as well, they both contribute. I would have advised you to try a few different brands of sandpaper before switching the machine as it could have fixed the problem.
      About the h&l system itself though, I can say with confidence that it’s much better (in my opinion of course) than the stick pads. In my view it’s a true step up in quality and performance, hence the reason for its tremendous popularity since it started being used.
      That said, if you have the possibility you should give a Bosch RO sander a try – any model. They are among the very best and that applies to the H&L system of the machines as well so I’m sure it’ll make you regain faith in H&L machines.
      Thanks for stopping by and be sure to leave another comment if you have any other questions!

      • My sincere thanks for the informative reply and encouragement. Given the popularity of the H&L systems, it seemed there was something basic I was not informed about. My ROS experience left me feeling snakebit. Sadly, trusting brands is almost a thing of the past. It is pretty hard to keep up with which ones have let quality control slide.

        Nonetheless, what brands of sanding discs do you find reliable and durable?

        • No problem Del, that’s what I’m here for. Yup, these days the built-to-last mentality seems to have been slightly forgotten but some brands still stand the test of time. For sanding discs I’d have to recommend Mirka Abranet, while all of Mirka’s sandpaper “models” are great the Abranet really knocks it out of the park in both performance and durability. Every since I’ve tried them I haven’t gone back – get a box of them as a test and I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

  3. Hi I am lookimg at the When 6502 Belt Disc Sander.Our Power supply is 210-230 volts, with the suitable plug adapter can I connect direct to my power supply, or do I require a power transformer

    • Directly is fine Neil, the outlet dictates everything and any machine works on it without any conversion needed. Have a Merry Christmas!

  4. Great comparison James and very helpful. I’m just waiting for Black Friday sale to order my new Powermatic http 31A 1791291K Belt / Disc Sander. I have plenty of 110v or 220v single ph. outlets in my shop. From a performance / efficiency / economical standpoint…. is it better to wire the motor for 110v or 220v?
    Also, do you have any recommendations on sand paper products from a performance / durability / price point that you would use on this machine?

    • Hey Ray, I’m glad you found it useful! I’m sure that Black Friday will bring on some fantastic deals so that’s a great choice. If I can, I use 220V wiring since it’s thinner and safer than the regular 110v. From a performance and economical standpoint it’s the same, they both use the same power (kilowatts) it’s just the amperage that changes (gets halved in 220V wiring and as such there’s less risk of heating dangers).
      When it comes to the sandpaper for the 31A combo, Powertec and Sungold belts are nice and economical and the 3M belts are the very best. For the 12″ disc I’d say Powertec and Woodstock are great inexpensive options while the 3M once again are fantastic but pricier. Hope I’ve helped Ray and have a fantastic week!

  5. Great picture Mr.Draper, good luck with everything and thanks for the help!

  6. Love you James! Keep up the amazing work!

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