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The Flexipads Fix
Having had a forced hiatus of late from all workshop activities, I decided some time ago that a pleasant way to ease my way back into the groove would be to turn some stuff on the lathe as this sort of activity wouldn’t involve a great deal of effort and to that end, I topped up my sanding equipment a while ago with Flexipads sanding pads which I use with a flexible shaft.

These sanding pads are available in a variety of different sizes and, by and large, they are excellent, but as Andy L (one of our customers) noted in July 2015, the foam pad “gets hot very quickly and the hooks melt.”

They do indeed and it’s extremely easy to make them disappear very rapidly which makes sticking the abrasive discs to the pad well nigh impossible. The 50mm conical Flexipad retails for around £10 and under moderate use on the lathe over the course of a couple of days, I rendered the pad almost completely bald!

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Being a parsimonious soul, I’d find it a tad irksome to keep on shelling out my hard earned ‘folding’ every time I needed to replace a Flexipads sander, so I thought that there must be a fix that could somehow be made. It was, in the event, surprisingly simple and very cost effective.

What hooks remaining on the periphery of the pad were removed on the disc sander to leave a flat, clean surface.

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I then found a source of 50mm wide, heavy duty, velcro-style self-adhesive hook and loop fastening, which I bought for the princely sum of £4.22 a metre. By a remarkable coincidence, it also happened to be exactly the right width for the Flexipad sander.

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It was a simple matter to cut out a circular piece and stick it onto the pad, thus making it fully effective again. There’s also plenty of the hook and loop fastening left over for the next time this little exercise needs to be repeated.

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This particular Flexipad is meant to be used with 50mm dia circular sanding pads which are great, but if you happen to use Abranet® sanding sheets in the workshop for other projects, you’ll find these are equally as effective.

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Evolution Series Turner’s Smock
At the same time as I bought the rest of my turning gear, I also decided to purchase a new Evolution Turner’s Smock having spoken at length about them with Colwin Way from the Skill Centre.

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Evolution Turner’s Smock, as used by our Skill Centre tutors (Colwin Way second on the right) and students

There are some very significant improvements which have been made to this new smock which makes it far better than the old pattern:

• Sleeves are much shorter, and can be closed off with a velcro-style tab, thus minimising the danger of long cuffs becoming entangled in a revolving chuck.

• The full length, heavy duty metal zip closes right to the throat and the zip in turn is hidden by a fabric cover which is secured by several velcro-style tabs. This is beneficial, as any work held against the turner’s body (for example, to remove a screw chuck from the workpiece) is not likely to be damaged by an exposed zip. The new smock also sports a high collar with another velcro-style fastening designed to keep the shavings at bay.

• There’s now a very handy breast pocket which is surprisingly useful for a 150mm rule and pencil.

• Finally, there are two large pockets at the rear which won’t get filled with shavings as a result of a busy day’s work at the lathe.

The smock range is available from medium to extra-large and if there’s any doubt about sizing, please opt for the larger size as it’ll provide more freedom of movement when turning.

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