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Having seen too many guys with bits of wire sticking out of their bellies, I decided long ago that a) I’d never use a straight wire brush on a power tool, and b) I’d avoid sticking any kind of brush on a 10,000 RPM angle grinder.  Anything doing abrasive work at that speed will shed bits, and I’d rather not find those in me.

So here’s my solution: quite a while back I picked up a cheap(-ass) Chicago Electric 7″ polisher/sander from Harbor Freight and installed a knot cup brush on it.  It spins at a max of only 3,300 RPM, which works fine for knocking off paint and corrosion but keeps the wire where it should be.

Note: I just checked and the same model is still for sale at HF for $50.  If you keep an eye out, though, this item tends to end up in the sale bin pretty regularly.  And if you’re worried about reliability: I can’t vouch for it as a polisher/sander, but I’ve used this tool in this capacity on and off for four years now.

7″ Variable Speed Polisher/Sander [Harbor Freight]


7 Responses to From The Toolbox: My Polisher w/Knot Cup Brush

  1. Yuppers says:

    I’ve had the infamous wire jump into my finger. Anything to keep it from happening again.

  2. LisaCarol says:

    My husband just found wire stuck in the back of his boxers. He hasn’t used a wire brush since he moved here. In March. So I assume it’s been working its way through the laundry ever since. (And, his brush wasn’t even attached to a power tool — he was wire brushing radiators before painting. Perhaps too enthusiastically?) That said, this looks great.

  3. David P says:

    What? Use a straight wire brush? Here–shake hands with DANGER! *twang*

  4. Chris says:

    I’ve picked a few strands of wire out of the end of my nose after a good Dremel session before. That’s no fun, and it’s also a very good argument for wearing a full-face safety shield (like what dentists sometimes wear when drilling on teeth; I have one but I rarely use it because it fogs up fast unless I’m standing in moving air). Safety glasses don’t protect against that sort of thing 😉

    I, too, have found rusted wire fragments in my clothing after the laundry. Oops.

  5. Brau says:

    I don’t know if the lower rpm will completely save you. I’ve had wires buried in my skin from using a wire brush in my drill. Owwch!

  6. Evan N. says:

    I have a polisher from HF I use for polishing, and it gets the job done, especially since the result of polishing is from technique. You can get the same results with a cheap-ass polisher as an expensive one if you just use the right bonnets, compounds, and technique. Definitely worth the $30 I spent on it. Mine gets damn hot when running, though, and I wonder what the duty cycle really should be. Guess I’ll just run it ’til I burn it up.

  7. mike says:

    What diameter knot cup brush do you use? 4″ 6″???

    harbour freight has a sale on (for $30)
    but your model (is $55)
    Is there a significant diference?

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