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In praise of micro mesh!

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by SixgunElectric, Mar 12, 2021.

  1. SixgunElectric

    SixgunElectric TDPRI Member

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    * The TL;DR edition:
    This stuff kicks MAJOR ass, get some!
    ____________

    Howdy all!
    First of all let me say..it's not often that I am so pleased with ANY product that I feel compelled to notify everyone who'll listen.
    So, you can rest assured I'm almost giddy over this new (to me) product!
    ;)

    Recently I was getting low on sandpaper and needing to reup.

    So..after reading a few resident experts such as Mr. Kirn extol the virtues of the Micro Mesh abrasive products, I placed and recieved and order for a basic assortment pack of the 3"x4" Micro Mesh pads...u know, just to give 'em a try.

    Admittedly I only purchased the one small pack to try out because the cost/size ratio of the product had me feeling like...
    "Okay yeah, they're probably decent but ultimately a bit too pricey for regular use", etc.
    (While I build amps, I do not do production work on *guitars*, I'm merely a novice shadetree tinkerer)

    At any rate, after receiving and giving these Micro Mesh pads a whirl, I am COMPLETELY blown away at just how great these things are!
    Wow, just....WOW!!!

    The current project is a total refinish/restoration of a personal...body and neck.

    So far I've used them to do an initial level (wet) sand of the body and to completely (wet) sand the newly refinished maple neck, including a new buried headstock logo.

    First if all let me say that these pads go a very long way...much more durable than i initially thought they'd be.
    When they get loaded up, just wash 'em with a lil soap and warm water, shake em dry, and you're back in action!

    Now, for those unfamiliar, the Micro Mesh grit numbering system vastly differs from that of conventional sandpaper.
    The basic assortment pack has 9 different grits ranging from 1500 to 12,000.
    According to the company's literature, the 1500 grit is equivalent to 400 grit conventional sandpaper....the website even details a microscopic pic comparing their 1500 alongside 400 conventional, and furthermore shows the higher quality of the micromesh.

    Now, in MY limited experience thus far, while the 1500 micro mesh pads may remove material at a rate similar to 400 grit sandpaper, it does so with MUCH more delicacy.
    I mean...it doesnt leave anywhere near the same savage amount or depth as regular sandpaper.
    They also claim the pads act as a shock absorber allowing you to more precisely add pressure as needed...it works beautifully in this regard as well.

    Finally, they claim the 12,000 micro mesh leaves behind scratches which are undetectable by the human eye.
    Well, so far....I believe it!

    When i began sanding the maple neck, i started on the face of the headstock in which i had lacquer buried a replacement waterslide decal.
    I wet sanded using a little mineral spirits beginning with the 3600 pad for only like...two minutes tops.
    (It was at this point i learned of the 12,000 claims)
    So i just jumped way ahead and grabbed the finest grit, the 12,000 and began working the face of the headstock for only another couple of minutes, and..WOW...with such a short amount of time and very little elbow grease, and only 2 different grits, it went from just newly lacquered to virtually showroom finished!

    Okay, that might be taking it just a BIT too far, but honestly with those two grits and only a few minutes, it went from ready to level sand, to a complete mirror shine, showing no remaining scratches that i can discern when held adjacent to the light.

    Looks as if i had worked for MUCH longer wet sanding thru various conventional paper grits, as well as even final polished. (If maybe a tad prematurely)

    Let me tell you THIS as well...
    These things are just a revelation when sanding and finishing out a maple fretboard!
    The straight square edges allow you to get right up against the frets with just the abrasive pad itself...without having to use any kind of block or tool to hold sandpaper
    As well...they just can pretty much virtually polish out a fretboard by themselves.
    Seems to be the case when wet sanding using mineral spirits as i have.

    Anyone who's refinished a guitar knows exactly how tedious the sanding is..particularly dealing with the curves n' horns, etc.
    Of all of the positive attributes of the miceo mesh pads, the single biggest to me is the very significantly reduced amount of "elbow grease" needed to complete the job.

    Okay now, i dont hold stock in the Micro Mesh company, or whomever owns them...lol, I am just a truly satisfied customer!
    So anyone contemplating using them, DO IT..!!!

    As i mentioned earlier, i figured they'd get used up in short order but despite the amount of product, you STILL win the cost/product game...no contest.
    I feel as if i could maybe run thru 2-3 complete guitar/neck refins with only this one assortment, although that COULD be a little presumptuous
    Time will tell...

    I only regret that I did not investigate these much sooner!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  2. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    You have sold me - ordering today! I don’t mind the prep sanding and level sanding so much, but I still cannot get a final finish I am happy with - mostly due to my lack of patience. I just got an HVLP sprayer, so that should help when I learn to use it properly. But the micro mesh sounds like a godsend to me. I also looked at it as a substitute for sand paper and not necessarily a better product. Thanks for the detailed review!
     
  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That stuff, diamond needle files and dental picks were the top three things I never knew I needed until I started making guitars.
     
  4. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    I like 'em too. You can do a lot with them and in ways you couldn't just work sandpaper.
    I used some fine grade MMesh pads with drops of lemon oil (guitar brand stuff) to polish down a finish and after a while the surface of the pad started to disintegrate. So yeah, if you wet sand with them be careful of any use with solvent-based stuff.

    If anyone is curious and does not want to go to the trouble of ordering online, your local Hobby Lobby carries a basic set of 5-6 pads about 1"x1.5" grit ranging from something like: 3000-12000 (3000,4000,6000,8000,10000,12000) -- based on sometimes faulty memory.
     
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  5. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Afflicted

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    You can make unfinished wood look like glass with it. It's so fun as long as you don't mind repetitive motion injuries.
     
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  6. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You don't need to sell ME on 'em! Been using micromesh pads and papers for a couple years now. I don't do many refins, but more minor repairs and touch-ups. I also use micromesh exclusively to polish frets. I also use them for MANY non-guitar projects.

    My only complaint is that I can't really tell when a pad or paper is worn out. They last longer than sandpaper, but I wish they would change color or something when they are shot. Nothing makes me feel stoopider than sanding away with a material that is no longer doing anything.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
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  7. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep! If you want a ultra glass finish, MM will get you there for sure.
     
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  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    So...this isn't about hernias?
     
  9. SixgunElectric

    SixgunElectric TDPRI Member

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    Yeah a color change WOULD be nice as a wear indicator.
    I'm beginning to suspect a couple of the pads ive used most are indeed becoming worn but...im just not sure to what degree.
    lulz

    I dont suppose it really matters as i dont think it'd cause any damage but it would definitely be a plus!
     
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  10. Dr Chim Richalds

    Dr Chim Richalds TDPRI Member

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    I second this - I was wet sanding with water and a drop of dish soap and they held up well. The second time I used them I decided to use mineral spirits to avoid any swelling of the wood and to be less cautious with the liquid and the abrasive papers came right off the foam padding.

    I also have another question: do you sand in small circles or do you sand in one direction, then perpendicular to that with the next pad, then perpendicular to that with the next pad, and so on and so on?

    In another MM thread that's what someone was suggesting in that the perpendicular direction removes the scratches from the previous pad, replacing the area with finer scratches. The scratches are removed by each succeeding pad until that last grit where they are supposed to be unnoticeable by the eye.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm about to final sand/polish my clear coat over my blond toned swamp ash body. I got this finish nearrly 99% perfect (to my eyes) and really want to use the MM properly.
     
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  11. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    We used to do this sort of finish sanding (some of us still do) with good old wet-or-dry sandpaper followed by buffing.

    There are are different systems for calling out grit designations.

    500 grit in one system is not equal to 500 grit in another system.


    .
     
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  12. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    *Disclaimer*: There are a lot of other folks here that know MUCH more than I do about the subject, but, having said that, I will offer my experience in the hope it provides a second/other perspective and might actually help! :) :D

    Yeah, I have used the alternative direction as I work progressively finer grit pads. Seems to work pretty well. The one thing I do at the very end is give the surface a good rub with polish/scratch remover (rub on -- I do circular motions, let dry, then wipe off). With elbow grease and patience, you can make just about anything glassy smooth. I've used Novus #2 Fine Scratch Remover at the recommendation of someone I know that builds professionally, but there are lots other options to do the final/fine polishing (automotive ones seem to get mentioned a lot here on TDPRI). The Novus#2 is not at all 'aggressive' in removing material, so you can polish a lot and not worry about cutting through the finish.

    Good luck!


    PS. There was another thread here recently about micro mesh (maybe I'll go try to search and include a link to it..) but in case I don't get there, one thing that took me a while to figure out is to clean the pad(s) properly. This is what I do: wet it down under warm running water, get an old toothbrush and apply 1 drop of liquid detergent. Then, brush the pad gently in small circular motions to break loose the compacted debris on the pad. Rinse good at the end. Let dry, and you're good to use it again 'just like new' in a couple minutes. Seems to be most important for the finer grit pads (12000, 8000, etc).

    HTH/YMMV.
     
  13. Dr Chim Richalds

    Dr Chim Richalds TDPRI Member

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    I just followed your method and sanded dry in the alternating directions. I am extremely pleased with the results. In natural light you can barely see the fine scratches. Under my bright led’s in my office you can see the fine scratches more easily but I think that will come out with the scratch remover.

    I have order a bottle of that Novus #2 that you recommended. I like the fact you said it was not aggressive at removing material which is just what I want. After all this work the last thing I’d want is to buff through! I have a beautiful, thin nitro finish going and don’t mind the extra elbow grease at this point.

    I also took your advice on cleaning the pads. I actually filled up a tray with water and a couple drops of dish soap. I used an old toothbrush brushing off the pads under the soapy water. I then rinsed them all and propped them up to dry and they’re like new. Ready to do the back of the guitar tonight or tomorrow.

    thanks for the recommendations.
     
  14. tweedman2001

    tweedman2001 Tele-Afflicted

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    This is awesome! than you for posting. I am so glad it wasn't about the micro mesh used in my bilateral hernia repair. :twisted:
     
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