A few months back, Full Circle International sent me one of their Radius 360 sanders to try out. For the record, I absolutely hate sanding. I'm not talking trifling hate; the kind of hate you harbor toward mosquitoes. I'm talking about the hate you have for men who club baby seals to death. Picture the excitement registered on my face upon opening this package. I must admit I briefly considered filing the whole thing under "S." However, the genius who packed this particular box was a master of manipulation. He knew I would be guilt-tripped into trying this tool because of the extra goodies enclosed. It worked. I tried. I liked.
First off, let's go through the list of things I hate about sanding (aside from the obvious reasons):
• Flipping. How many times have you taken one last pass over a nearly perfect joint only to have the head of the sander flip over leaving deep gashes that must now be filled?
• Sandpaper installation. Ever notice how much time it takes to get that piece of sandpaper perfectly aligned on the head? And God forbid there is more than 10-percent humidity where you keep the stuff. Curled edges that you either try to re-roll the opposite way, or just cut off with the edge of your knife are the bane of every finisher.
• Gouging. Proper head alignment takes a drywall Ph.D. and years of practice to master to prevent this one. And then when everything is going just right, you intersect an adjacent joint and gouge that side.
• Paper life. Even if you get the paper on the head just right, dust works its way between the pad and the backside of the paper and before you know it only about a third of the sandpaper is actually sanding.
Now let me tell you why I like this sander.
• Flipping. Impossible! I stuck this thing on the end of an extendo pole and sanded a lid 15 feet in the air. I couldn't flip it ... trust me, I tried.
• Sandpaper installation. Can you say Velcro? Enough said.
• Gouging. Once again, impossible. Since there are no straight sides you don't have to worry about gouging.
• Paper life/Speed. The paper is entirely attached to the pad, eliminating the possibility of dust creating ridges under the paper. And since there is much more surface area, the paper lasts longer. That being said, the up-front cost of sandpaper for the 360 sander is more than regular sandpaper. I personally feel the added speed and life of the paper more than makes up for this slight cost difference.
I don't want to sound like Crazy Eddie trying to sell you a couch but I was very impressed with this sander. If drywall is your chosen profession and you have to sand anyway, you may as well do it the most efficient way possible. Try one out and see if Ratt plays in your head too. Go check out the Web site for an impressive demo at www.fullcircleinternational.com.
Onto old/new business, T-shirts. It is once again that time. I can hardly believe this year will be the Fourth Annual Dry T-shirt contest. All comers are invited, contractors, dealers, guys with hot sisters/girlfriends/
wives/friends/employees who want to show them off wearing a creative new one-off design. Some creativity has been shown in years past, I hope it continues. So come on Jamie in South Dakota, Jeff in Colorado, Mike in Texas, Lou in Toronto. You guys talk a good game, put your money where you mouth is. Oh yeah, you guys at National, you know who you are, you were a disappointing no-show last year. You are now on notice. Break out the crayons and markers.
AID public service ANNOUNCEMENTFrom time to time, I encounter situations that I feel would benefit the readers of this column. On a trip to the mid- west last month, a number of contractors were telling employee war stories. I made the following conclusion after this discussion. The days of the fog test for potential employees are officially over. You know the test. Hold a mirror in front of their mouth. If it fogs when they exhale they are hired. The following two stories stress the need for a detailed employee handbook.
The first one involves an employee who got into a fight in a bar and ended up getting locked up for 45 days after resisting arrest. Since this loss would leave a void in this contractors' labor pool, another body was hired. One would think this is the end of the story. One would be wrong. After being released from the poky, this Mike Tyson wannabe contacts the good contractor looking for his job. After being informed he has been replaced and is no longer needed, he applies for unemployment. At this point you are thinking, "Nice try, moron." You would be wrong.
After four hours on a conference call with the state unemployment office our friend is informed since he has no employee handbook, which specifically states that if an employee is jailed he can be fired, said contractor will be held responsible for the unemployment. And if that isn't enough to get your attention, follow along as the next saga unfolds.
Another employee walks off the job after getting into a fight with a fellow worker and throwing his tools across the job. It seems his birthday was on Thursday and the call to celebrate was so powerful it could not be ignored. Although the pressure of the job was too great, the thought of walking four miles home was not daunting at all. Sunday night rolls around and still no one has heard from our wandering shot putter.
The contractor finally calls to let him know not to bother showing up for work the next day as he is fired. Once again you are thinking this is a logical end to this story. Again you would be wrong. This guy also applies for unemployment insurance and gets it. Once again, there was no specific wording in the employee handbook outlining the consequences for getting into a fight on the job after a night of boozing and walking off.
Yes folks, we live in a world that has nothing to do with common sense and decency. If we do not adjust accordingly, we will get gobbled up by those who realize this fact.
Remember: Keep it covered!