I freely admit it; I love sanding. I adore sanding. If I was to be strapped to polygraph and interrogated about whether I loved sanding or not, and I replied, “no”, the needle would bounce off the chart.
My love of sanding began around 16 years ago when I first lifted the carpet in my flat, pondered the old, broad floorboards and decided, yes, they could be sanded.
A couple of days later, several hours of sanding with a massive belt sander, and the floor was stripped back to it’s pristine newness. I then spent an eternity on my hands and knees with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a wooden block getting right into the corners, lavishing care and attention on the areas the belt sander couldn’t reach.
You see, it’s all about the satisfaction of transforming a work piece from something rough-hewn, dirty and undesirable, to a thing of tactile, usable beauty.
Back then I had no shortage of elbow grease and long evening hours to get the floor sanded just right before applying the varnish.
However, these days I confess to running a bit low on the old elbow grease, and 3 children later, a lack of time. Nowadays when I need to get some sanding done, I honestly expect it to be over and done with quickly and with the minimum of effort.
And if I won’t have to spend the next 3 months vacuuming up dust, then that’s an added bonus.
So, with all of that in mind, can you imagine how besides myself with excitement I was when Paul from Metabo descended into the Toolstop hub recently? Yes, it’s always exciting to get a visit from Mr Metabo, as we like to call him. But his visit was made even more intoxicating when he unloaded the new professional power tool he’d come to demo.
All I could do was stand with a dropped jaw as Paul quickly took us through the features of this workhorse.
For starters, we’ve got a generous sanding area of 150mm, which tapers down into a stylised, ergonomic handle, giving the SXE450 the sort of profile normally witnessed on Beyonce Knowles.
So, aesthetically, Metabo have hit a home run.
The rear of the SXE450 features the sort of exhaust pipe a Dagenham boy would be proud to sport on his GTi. This is part of Metabo’s dust extraction system built into the SXE450. The dust is drawn away from the sanding area, through the holes in the bottom of the sanding pad, and pumped out the exhaust into the attached Intec filter cartridge.
In our demonstration video we had the SXE450 hooked up to Metabo’s ASR2025 wet/dry vacuum cleaner(click here to watch our demo video). This acts efficiently as a dust extraction device when it’s set to “auto start”. Plug your sander, or mitre saw, into the ASR2025 and whenever you hit the trigger or power button, the ASR2025 will switch on, inhaling all of the dust you’re generating so that you don’t have to…
Another thing you won’t have to do when using the SXE450 is pop down to the shops for a bigger tub of elbow grease. It provides the elbow grease for you via the Knightrider-esque TurboBoost switch. Give it a press with your thumb and suddenly the sander is going to operate at a greater intensity.
This is a good thing, not just because it takes the strain off you. It also means you don’t need to lean heavily on the sanding pad, nor put undue pressure on the outer edges of the pad as is perhaps our tendency when we want to remove heavy duty blemishes on our work piece. There’s no point wrecking the sanding pad, or going through more sanding discs than necessary.
In order to make sure the sander will continue to perform under such loads, Metabo have fitted, as expected, a variable speed wheel.What if your sanding application isn’t transforming a grotty old piece of pallet, per our video? What if you’re working on a piece of metal, perhaps a car body panel, and only want to very lightly, gently, tenderly buff it?
Thankfully Metabo have realised that sanding isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation. To that end they’ve kitted the SXE450 with an adjustable orbit diameter. So, for the heavy duty stuff you want the sanding pad to be oscillating in a nice big circle, and the SXE450 will do that for you, at 6.2mm. But when you need to be gentle and more considerate to your job piece, you press the button and the pad will run in a smaller arc of only 2.8mm. (Just remember to dial down the variable speed wheel to match the application.)
Ideal for when you’ve got the optional extra lambswool bonnet and you’re polishing your car on a Sunday morning.
The SXE450 TurboTec feels brilliant in the hand, with the aforementioned Beyonce ergonomics, the 2.2kg weight (500g lighter than previous models), all aided by Metabo’s improved gearing and bearing system that they’re claiming results in a vibration reduction of 25%.
If you want to get an idea of what its capable of, then watch our demo video on Toolstop TV: