Decorating Equipment

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

A Guide to buying the latest and best

Updated 23rd August 2018

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Cordless Sanders

Delta shape Detail Sanders

Black & Decker Mouse Sander

Sanders - 240v Mains Powered

Dustless sanding systems

Best Caulking Gun

Paintbrushes and Paint Spraying Systems

 

   
 

Cordless Sanders

 

 Bosch EasySander 12 Cordless Multi-Sander with 12 V Lithium-Ion Battery

The harder you push - the harder it sands!

The first cordless sander I tested was the Bosch Prio that earned it's place on Fredshed by being a reliable and useful little tool for small sanding jobs.

It was a bit pricey and underpowered at only 7.2v and was replaced with the Bosch PSM 10.8v cordless sander, now known as the Bosch Easy Sander 12.

The Bosch Easy Sander 12 uses sanding sheets with velcro backing and is part of a range of 12v tools that use the same interchangeable battery.

This means that if you have other tools in the range you can have more batteries and do longer jobs with the tool.

When the battery reaches the end of its life you don't have to throw the tool away like you did with the old Prio with built in battery.

Another great new feature of the Easy Sander 12 is that it has a sensor to measure the amount of force you apply so if you want to remove more material just push harder and the motor moves up a gear in response.

This unique feature helps give a better finish and increases battery duration.

 

Available without battery, or with battery & charger.

The same battery can be used in several other Bosch Power tools.

 Bosch 12 V 2.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery (Compatible for All Tools in 12 V Power for All System)

New Black & Decker Cordless Mouse with 18v battery!

 

This is similar to the Bosch but has more voltage.

 BLACK+DECKER  18 V Cordless  Mouse  Sander with 1.5 A Li-ion Battery

 40 Mouse Detail Sander Sanding Sheets All Grades Coarse to Fine

 

 
 

Multi Tool and Cordless Delta Shape Detail Sanders

The Bosch GOP multi-tool can sand, saw and scrape too.

The GOP (and PMF) multi tool is also one of the best cordless

sanders available as it has superb batteries and uses small delta shape sanding pads that can get into corners and up to edges.

And you can use the GOP (or PMF) to cut through sheets of wood like a circular saw with the segment blade.

The powered plunge cut saw is extremely useful for small fiddly jobs.

The Li-ion batteries are surprisingly powerful and recharge quickly so this is a great tool for small fiddly sanding jobs.

It is also available in a mains version that uses the same size pads

 

 Bosch 0603102070 PMF 220 CE Multi Tool

 Bosch 0603102171 PMF 250 CES Set Multi Tool

  Bosch PMF 350 CES - power multi-tools

 

Use Links below for Bosch Cordless Multi tools

Bosch PMF 10.8v Li Cordless Green

Bosch GOP 10.8v Li Cordless Blue

  Bosch PMF 10.8 LI Cordless Lithium-Ion All-Rounder Featuring Syneon Chip (1 x 10.8 V Battery, 2.0 Ah)

Bosch GOP 10.8 V-LI Professional Cordless Multitool 10.8 V (includes 2 x 2.5 Ah Lithium Ion Batteries)

They use the same charger but the batteries are different between blue and green ranges of Bosch power 10.8v tools.

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Want a cheaper option than cordless?

Main Powered Delta Shape Detail Sanders for Awkward Areas

 Draper Tri Base Detail Sander 180W Triangle Velcro Type

A standard no-frills detail sander.

This little sander from Draper is suitable for awkward areas like window and door frames, skirting board and architraves. The detail sander is such a simple machine that it is not worth buying an expensive one unless you use it everyday. The advantage of an expensive model like the Dewalt or Bosch models is less vibration.

The standard size delta shape pads are easily available and come in a range of grades. If you use the vacuum dust extraction then you will need pads with holes in for this to work effectively.

 

 Draper APT32C Ten Assorted Grit Hook and Loop Tri Base Sheets, Blue, 93 x 93 mm

 DeWalt D26430 240V 300W Detail Sander

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Black & Decker Mouse Sander

When it first appeared the Mouse was a marketing winner - So everyone else copied it!

My original mouse

 

 BLACK+DECKER 18 V Cordless Lithium-Ion Mouse Detail Sander with 1.5 A Battery

 40 Mouse Detail Sander Sanding Sheets All Grades Coarse to Fine

The picture above shows my Black and Decker mouse sander being used with a vacuum cleaner to remove dust.

On flat surfaces it worked very well but was not practical in the confined areas where detail sander are used like around window frames so B&D dropped the dust extraction facility.

This mouse still lives on and the cordless version uses a superb 18v Li-ion battery and has a dust box.  It still uses Velcro backed sanding sheets that are practical but relatively expensive, compared to clip on sheets or rolls of abrasive paper.

BLACK+DECKER KA161BC Mouse Detail Sander with Accessories

 40 Mouse Sanding Sheets to Fit Black and Decker Detail Palm Sander Grades 457035

The sheets can be made to last a bit longer by replacing just the tips which wear fastest on detail work.

The same sanding pads fit the old Quattro and Sandstorm sanders too. 4-5 pack of 5 depending on the type.

 

Breaking News

Black & Decker switch to mesh sanding sheets

Recognising ( as I did earlier) the superiority of mesh sanding sheets B&D now supply them with the latest Mouse Sander

 

 

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Mains Powered Orbital Sanders for Walls and flat surfaces

 Draper 23045 300W 230V 1/2 Sheet Orbital Sander

My Draper 280w sander cost about 25 and is a good workhorse sander with easily obtainable, low price sheets. Draper is a UK company who have a history of sourcing cheap but effective powertools that are ideal for DIY use.

This type of sander comes in 2 sizes, and both come with a dustbag for small jobs.

Or for better results attach the nozzle to your vacuum cleaner.

 

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AT LAST - A REAL DUSTLESS SANDING SYSTEM

 GOLDEN SHED AWARD WINNER

Mirka Hand Sanding Block - 80mm x 230mm - With Hose & Abranet Strips

 

After years of testing sanders with useless dust boxes I have finally found a way of sanding without getting covered in dust.

The Abranet sanding system requires a vacuum cleaner to attach the hose to but it is amazingly effective.

The really clever part of the Abranet sanding system is the mesh sanding sheets that allow dust particles to pass right through and then into the vacuum hose.

These perforated abrasive sheets use aluminium oxide to remove material and last at least 5 times longer than normal aluminium oxide sheets.

The Abranet abrasive is velcro backed so can be cut to shape to fit other makes of sander.

The Abranet sanding system is made by Mirka of Finland who have been supplying an industrial version to the marine and automotive industries from many years.

The DIY version of the system comes in 2 versions, hand and 240v mains powered. Both fit a Henry vacuum but perform best with the dedicated Mirka dust extraction vacuum that has a clever blow back feature to keep its filter clean. 

Fredshed tests the best "dustless" sanding systems

Mirka Deros - powered dust free sander

MIRKA DEROS  Powered Sander with 150mm Disc

 

Sanding sheets - Which are best?

Another "hidden" problem with sanders is the cost and availability of the sanding sheets. This applies mostly to the velcro style pads for DIY models which can be very expensive.

One of the big problems with sanding sheets is clogging, especially on gloss paints and varnish. This clogging is made worse by powered sanders as the heat melts the paint into a sticky goo. The new Abranet "dustless sanding system" uses mesh to enable dust particles to pass through and be extracted.

Black & Decker have recently recognised the advantages of mesh sheets and now produce them for the next generation Mouse sander.

 

 Mirka Dust Free Sanding System inc. Extraction Hose and 120 Grit Sanding Strips  

 MIRKA DEROS Powered sander with 150mm Disc MID6502011

 BLACK+DECKER KA2500K-GB Next Generation Mouse Sander with Kit Box and 9-Accessories, 120 W

 

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Best Caulking Guns

Lightweight Dripless Mastik Guns designed in the USA

Over the last 17 years of running Fredshed I have tested many fancy sealant guns including "drip free" and cordless battery powered ones.

Some have worked well for a limited time but none have been worth recommending. Also the standard cheap ones are now such poor quality that they often break or seize up in use. My extensive research led me to the sealant manufacturer Everbuild who also produce a range of guns to compliment their excellent caulks, glues and other sealants. I am a big fan of their Everbuild Weather mate silicon sealant as I use it to seal up the gaps around windows and door frames at my rickety old beach house. The Weather Mate silicon is the most durable I have found and has stopped leaks permanently when standard silicon has shrunk or been broken down by the sun and salty sea air.

Even though the Everbuild guns are good quality they still dribble out goo when you don't want it. Luckily I discovered the Dripless guns from the USA. These really do what they say and the level of engineering and quality is impressive.  There are a couple of models and one is even engineered to have more power specifically for pushing out thicker sealants.

Another great feature of a Dripless sealant gun is the flip out metal pin for cleaning the nozzles.  The guys at Dripless really know their stuff and have thought of everything.

I will undertake long term extensive testing of the Dripless guns and will report back here.

 

 Dripless Inc. ETS2000 Ergo Composite Caulk Gun

 Dripless Inc. ETS3000 Ergo-Tech Industrial Caulk Gun

Use links below for the best outdoor silicon sealant and also extra screw caps to save waste.

 Everbuild Weather Mate Silicon Sealant 310ml - White

Everbuild EVBCONCEWHC3 Once Caulk - White 

 

 

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What are the best paintbrushes?

The 2 brushes to the left are a new and used Purdy 4 inch

The 2 on the right are Harris T class Delta brushes.

 

 Purdy 234020 2-inch XL Purdy Elite Monarch Paintbrush

In particular I aim to find the best paintbrush for glossing doors and windows

If you ask any professional decorator which paintbrush is best the majority will reply the Purdy brush.

Purdy brushes are made in the USA and make no compromises on materials so that the brushes are comfortable to hold, carry a lot of paint and spread it evenly and are also easier to clean. The British equivalent and less expensive to buy is the Harris T class Delta brush which my professional decorator tester says is a very good alternative.

I am told -Due to the Chinese eating all the young pigs there is a shortage of long bristle!

Manufacturers are responding by making better quality synthetic paint brushes.

These brushes are easier to clean and have improved on earlier versions. I have the latest Dulux version that has a built in metal can opener.

I will be testing more of the latest and best soon and comparing them to the legendary Purdey and Harris T -Class Delta brushes.

 

 A 1 inch brush is the perfect cutting in brush for wall edges so you can then use the roller for the majority of your work.

 T-CLASS DELTA SR 5 Brush Pack

 

 
 

 

 
 

Rollers or Brushes? Which is best? Are Painting Gadgets Worth Buying?

Testing the PaintStick

I have been done a lot of research on painting gadgets over the years including rollers that store paint in the handle, and rollers that use a pump to move the paint from a reservoir using an electric motor.

All of these gadgets are sold to you on the story that they will make decorating easier because you don't have to keep re-loading your roller with paint.

Whilst this sounds great they don't tell you they will only work with special paint that costs more, is thinner and only comes in limited colours.

Most of these gadgets are, in my experience - buggers to clean. When they get old and the rubber seals dry out or nozzles block cleaning becomes difficult.

Painting gadgets often fall apart or fail due to one badly made plastic seal or component. So will the parts are available?

I can see that there are times when a pumped paint applicator like the Wagner TurboRoller, may be useful, if you have strong arms.

So far the best system I have seen is the German made Wagner WallPerfect W-665 Paint Spraying System, which is good , but far from perfect.

 

 

Did you know?

If you use the largest diameter roller you will get less splatter as the roller moves at a slower speed.

Top Tip -use cling film or a plastic bag to cover rollers and brushes to stop them drying out if you are having a break in your work.

 

My first play with the Wagner Wall Perfect W985E

WAGNER WALL PERFECT W665 and WALLPERFECT W985E

I have been testing the top of the range Wallperfect 985 that has the long lance. Wagner also make a cheaper and more popular version with a more traditional spray gun with the paint reservoir attached.

The first thing I want to say about using paint spraying equipment indoors is that you will need to spend some time masking up and covering EVERYTHING!

In my enthusiasm to try my new tool I failed to cover everything and as I was learning how to use the machine, I made a horrendous mess that took ages to clean. However  the finish on the wall was very good.

So, as long as you cover everything before you start you could save a lot of time by using a Wagner sprayer. The best part for me is that once you master the technique you can achieve an unbeatable smooth and even finish. These paint sprayers are also great for site work and new plaster where you are covering large areas and are not so concerned about overspray or mess.

Part of the time saving is made because you don't need to cut in with a brush on the fiddly bits, also the machines do self clean very well.

 

Now back to reality, I am probably the worlds worst salesman as I like to tell you what the tool wont do!

Using a paint sprayer to repaint the same colour is not so easy. It is hard to see where you have been. Doing a new colour is great.

You will notice anyone demonstrating painting gadgets always use a new colour, (usually dark over light)

If you have a white ceiling and coloured walls be aware that you will need to mask and cover the ceiling - a tough job.

You MUST thin the paint by at least 10% and use a new tin of paint - old paint may clog the nozzles.

If you are "cack handed ", clumsy,  or cant read instructions - forget it. You will need to follow the rules and learn a new technique or it (and you) will be a big mess.

However, If you master the technique you can achieve an incredible finish.

Wagner are a very reputable, long established German company and their products are well made and supported.

I think the cheaper W665 model is the best deal. It is easier to change colours and has the option of a different head to do outdoor jobs using varnish and solvent based materials.

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The Shavehook - best tool for removing loose paint

 Stanley Dynagrip Combination Shavehook 0 28 659

If you are preparing "whitework" for painting then it is important to remove any loose paint and get into the corners to clear out those cracks.

A shavehook is a fantastic tool that has 3 different edges on it for removing paint from awkward places. For instance if you place the tip into the corner of a door or window frame and pull it down, it will tear out all the old paint with ease.

Shavehooks have been around for years and are a favorite tool of professional decorators. The model shown here has the most comfortable handle I have tried. It has superb ergonomics and a rubberized grip.

 

Bedec Water Based Multi Surface Paints

 Bedec 750 ml Soft Satin Multi-Surface Paint

Bedec is a UK based company that makes high performance water based paints.

I have been using various types over the last 3 years and am so impressed that I have switched to them from Dulux.

The features I like about Bedec MSP  ( multi-surface paint) are.

1. It is water based so easy to clean up and no bad smells.

2. It can be applied to a wide range of surfaces and does not need a primer - just multiple coats.

 

If you have some painting to do then try Bedec MSP

I always have a small can of the white gloss and satin handy for touch up jobs and it can be used on wood, metal, plastic and more.

No bad smells, fast drying, easy clean up and British made.

 

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If you found my advice helpful and would like to support my work, please return to this page and use my links when purchasing your tools.

Also any other products bought from Amazon at the same time will produce a small commission that helps cover my hosting costs.

 

Or if you prefer, you can make a small donation using the PayPal button below.

 Thanks - Fred

 

 

 

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Fred Walden 2018

 

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