3M 784F - Why the Cubitron II range is taking the sanding industry by storm
Today, we will discuss the advantages of the 3M 784F Cubitron II for wood floor sanding.
When we started looking into the wood floor refinishing industry 2 years ago, we have noticed that most of the wood flooring contractors are using conventional abrasives - anything from Zirconia to Silicon Carbide, and some Ceramic grain and Aluminium Oxide. Most of these are capable of achieving desired results but in the advancements in abrasive technology in the last few years, it seems like the 3M Cubitron II technology has still not been introduced to the wonderful industry of wood floor sanding.
For those of you not familiar with the Cubitron II technology, they are self-fracturing abrasive grain created by 3M for applications that require an aggressive stock removal but also need a consistent cut rate. Instead of a "mined" grain, these 3M grain is made with a combination of the aggression of ceramic & aluminium oxide abrasives, taking the best of both types of grain. The product was originally created for metals but due to its aggressive stock removal features, I decided to do some tests for wood floor refinishing a few months ago.
In the "modern" wood floor refinishing, contractors usually start with a heavy grit size, around P36/P40, or as rough as FEPA grade P24 in Zirconia to remove the current finish on the flooring which ranges from some old and very hard lacquers, carpet adhesive, and even aluminium oxide finishes! Some contractors also use ceramic grain, one of the hardest minerals in the abrasives industry, but this can be too heavy and can possibly damage the floor if not careful. This first stage usually takes a couple of passes to remove the top coating, which is then followed with a finer grit to carry on removing any leftover coats but used a lighter grit to avoid gouging and taking too much wood of the flooring. The flooring contractors then proceed to cleaning and flattening the bare wood moving from P24, then P36, P40, moving up to P60/P80 to clean previous scratch marks. Every floor is approached differently, depending on the amount of finish to take off and the age of the floor. Some floors do not have as thick of lacquers on them so can start around P60.
We introduced the 3M Cubitron II into wood floor sanding at the end of Q2 of 2018 as BND believed that the patented technology of micro-self fracturing can remove the finishes on the floor quicker, but also leave a finer finish on the wood in a faster manner than conventional Zirconia, which will save a lot of time for a tedious sanding process for the wood floor sanding industry. We started sampling dozens of customers for various type of flooring all over the UK and Ireland. The image above is courtesy of Elite Floors, a professional wood floor sanding company in Glasgow, Scotland. He was amazed how aggressive the Cubitron II material was on sanding this floor against his usual P24 Zirconia as they would normally need 3 different grits to clean up a floor like this (P24, P36, then P40 Zirconia). It cleaned the coating off the floor in a single pass and left a finer scratch pattern than the competitor P24 product, which prevents the risk of gouging the bare wood. As you can also see in the image above, the Cubitron II product gave a much cleaner finish than the conventional competitor, which literally cut the contractors time in half!
Another example above is from a flooring contractor in the London area refinishing a 40-year old floor that has been needing some work. Mark said that the Zirconia P24 he was using were going blunt in a matter of minutes and was wasting so much belts so he switched his belt to the 36+ Cubitron II belt. It cleaned the top coat off in a single pass without any struggle, cutting down his sanding time more than half of his usual sanding time.
The Instagram link above is from Jordan Kershaw of Restore A Floor Northwest who is known for producing high quality floors. He has heard other fellow flooring professionals but have never seen the performance the Cubitron II was really capable of until he tried it himself.
Pre-finished Aluminium Oxide Paint is a nightmare for most contractors. For those of you not aware of this additive, it is used in urethane-based finishes to double the life expectancy of their floor, therefore reducing the need to re-coat it. This means you have an extremely hard and difficult to remove finish. Above image is from Irish Floor Sanding in Dublin showing how easy it is to remove even the most dreaded finish on floor sanding.
If you want to discuss and find out more about the benefits of using 3M Cubitron II, please contact us on 01264354133 or simply visit our website and speak to one of our sales staff via the live webchat.
The 3M 784F Cubitron II Floor Sanding Belts are available for purchase on our website, available in stock in 200mm and 250mm x 750mm long, but BND Abrasives can make any size belt using our BELT BUILDER.