From a nightmare to a tooling dream


When working on decorating projects the tasks vary from job to job. But there are two constants; the decorator and his tools. Like man, tools have slowly evolved over the years and made jobs easier, so with this in mind, we sat down with Dan Ennis to discuss the evolution of tools since he turned professional.

"I turned “pro” at 18 but before this I worked with my father, who is also a decorator. The jobs I did with him were at the weekends and over school holidays but I believe they provided me with the perfect training environment for the tools I would use and the jobs I would end up doing. In addition, it was also where I got the bug to join the decorating brotherhood. When I started it was all hand sanding with some folded over paper and I have some particularly bad memories of spending days sanding large walls down and feeling like I was getting nowhere. However, when the hand sanding got too much, we purchased some sanders but there were a couple of key issues with the ones we used. The first was they were bulky and the second was they could not handle and extract the fine dust that was produced.

When you are researching potential new tools, you hear about them through several channels including online forum posts and recommendations from peers. For me, it was forum posts that put me in the loop about the innovations Mirka was bringing to the market and I have been a regular user of its tools for the last six years. I started using Mirka sandpaper and then purchased the Mirka Hand Sanding Kit incorporating the Handy. From that point on, once I started to reap the benefits of using Mirka, I then decided to add the CEROS electric power tool and from there I graduated to a DEROS.  As a result, to be honest, I have not looked back. These tools I invested in make my life easier as they provide me with the versatility to perform multiple jobs, while allowing me to reach into awkward places that other sanders cannot reach.

When it comes to addressing the issues of the past, the preparation and dust produced used to be two of the worst parts of the job in terms of the time spent getting everything ready and the fact that I went home covered in dust. However, those days are now a thing of the past thanks to a few innovations that have come onto the market over the years I have been in the industry. The first is Mirka’s innovative sander designs that started with CEROS and then the DEROS, which provides a low-profile set-up for more control over the sanding process due to being closer to the surface. The second is the reduction in weight, which reduces arm fatigue and potential injuries to arms. The third is the dust extraction, which removes the dust as soon as it is produced. This means it not only protects myself but also my client from the potential health risks associated with dust particles, and also ensures that the dust does not reach other areas of the home, while also minimising the amount of tidying up required at the end of each day.

The evolution has now led to the point where we are working with tools that barely weigh anything but still have the power to handle the toughest work environments. As a result, I recently purchased the new DEOS sander. The reason for the purchase is in part to do with my own evolution of tooling and because as a sander, it eliminates issues such as height, poor dust control, vibration and low power, that have plagued square sanders in the past, so I do not have to worry about the tool when it is in use.

Finally, since I started in the industry the way I work has evolved to the point where the same finish cannot be achieved by hand sanding compared to using a sander, no matter how many hours you put into it.  I can honestly say evolving my tools has been the best investment I have ever made and I would recommend anyone starting out or currently in the industry to do the same because you will not only notice the difference in the end result very quickly but it will also allow you to expand the types of jobs you can offer your clients."