For purchase and enquiries, visit www.permagrit.com
We all know the old adage when it comes to making purchases, ‘Buy well, or buy twice’. That is especially true with regard to buying tools. We’ve all bought things for our hobby which looked great at the time or looked like a bargain. I know that in my case, very few of those purchases were actually money well spent. One area, working with wood, that we all need to buy for, is the sometimes-onerous task of sanding our models. Over the years, I’ve learned that buying good quality aluminium oxide paper is probably a better deal than cheap silicon carbide paper. However, when it comes to specific tools to do the job, one of the best names on the market, and one of the most respected, is English firm, Perma-Grit. This company has built its reputation up over a period of almost 30yrs now, manufacturing Tungsten Carbide grit tools of different grades, by bonding it to steel under extremely high heat, in a furnace. Perma-Grit have sent us a sample of their tools which a modeller could find very useful on the workbench, and I have taken the opportunity to use a small number on my current Zulu fishing boat.
Needle Files (different size shafts)
In my sample pack were these four needle files. These are the 18cm/5mm shaft, and 14cm/3mm shaft. All Perma-Grit tools are packaged against a card backing and shrink sealed in clear plastic. The rear of the packet also has information relating to the specific product range.
The tools you can see here are:
18cm Large Needle File (Round, fine), # LNF-ROUNDF
18cm Large Needle File (Half round, fine), # LNF-HROUND
14cm Needle 3 Square, (medium), # NF-3SQUARE
14cm Needle File, Hand (medium), #NF-HAND
Firstly, a little about the grade of grit with these needle files. Files with ‘fine’ grit are classed as an equivalent of UK 320 grit sandpaper. Those with ‘medium’ grit as classed as UK 220 grit sandpaper. The surface of these files is densely packed with grit, and I can’t see any of this coming away readily. Whilst Perma-Grit don’t supply a lifetime’s guarantee, if you feel that any tool from them hasn’t met your expectations, then you are always welcome to let them know of this. Cleaning the surface of these has also been thought of. These files are pretty impervious to most chemicals, so you can use acetone to remove any CA, and Nitromors/paint stripper to remove general debris.
Whilst these tools can be used ‘as is’, some modellers will feel more comfortable using a handle, and I’m also one who would feel that I can exercise more control with a handle fitted. To cater to shaft size, Perma-Grit offer these two handles:
Handle 3mm collet, # NFH
Handle 5mm collet, # LNFH
These are simple to use. You just twist the knurled ring to loosen the collet and then slot the file in before retightening. Of note here is that the red handle is hollow and can accommodate quite a lot of the file shaft so you can adjust the file to what suits you best.
Sanding blocks, angles, and flat files
Sanders come in all shapes and sizes, and so they do from Perma-Grit too. We have three types here, all very different and with a wide range of roles in our hobby. For your info, tools classed as ‘coarse’ have an equivalent UK sandpaper grit of 180.
Angle 75 Degrees (coarse), # R-201C
Flat File (fine), # F-101
Wedge Block (coarse, fine), # WB140
The Angle sander is an unusual thing. It’s very easy to hold and manipulate, with two sanding faces. This one has a coarse grit, but can also be bought with a fine grade, which, given the shape and possible modelling uses, would perhaps be a safer bet. The Flat File is simple in approach. This is long length of steel with a fine abrasive coating on one side. This could be used for getting the squareness of a freshly planked hull, removing a lot of that waste until you switch to a sanding block or just manual sanding paper.
With the Wedge Block, you get something more akin to a traditional sanding block, except in metal of course. Where this differs is that one side of this is fine grit for some nice finishing work, and the other side is coarse. As I’d already done the rough work on my model hull, I took the opportunity to do some fine sanding. The grit on these sure takes off material superbly, and I went very gentle with this.
6.5m Round File (fine), # R-204F
If traditional style files feature in your workshop, then this one is very similar to that, being a regular looking round file with an integrally moulded handle. The whole shaft on this is coated in Tungsten Carbide and the handle is very comfortable in the hand as well as being nicely weighted.
Rotary tool bits
Perma-Grit sent me a small number of their most commonly used rotary tools. All of these have 3.1mm shafts and are compatible with Dremel rotary tool products.
The ones I have here are:
Rotary Drum (fine, 11mm diameter), # RF3F
Rotary Rod (coarse, 4mm diameter), # RF6C
Cutting Disc (32mm diameter), # RD2
The Drum tool is as you would expect and very similar in appearance to Dremel except that this doesn’t need to be assembled, nor will it wear out as quickly. Being fine grade, this will be perfect for the hobby, when bevelling bulkheads etc. The Rod tool is exactly that. Tungsten Carbide has been fused to the shaft, enlarging its diameter to 4mm. The one I have here is coarse but can also be purchased in a finer grade. Of course, the Cutting Disc does need a little assembly. All that’s involved is slipping the disc underneath the nut and spring washer, tightening with a small spanner. It MUST be noted the rotary tools running speeds are anywhere from 5000rpm to 20,000rpm, and they are NOT recommended for metal
Whilst these tools have been supplied as separates, they can also be bought as sets. If you already have several of these tools, then the sleeves (tool rolls) can be purchased separately. I have two such sleeves here. One is designed for the larger tools, and the other for smaller tools. These are made from red canvas so are rugged, and they are secured with a Velcro fastener.
My sincere thanks to Perma-Grit for sending these tools out for me to take a look at for Model Ship World. To buy these and check out the rest of their extensive range, visit www.permagrit.com