I "liked" Shopsmith's Facebook page some time ago, and for the most part their posts are short versions of the same content that I read in their marketing emails. But every now and then a photo on their post will catch my eye and draw me in. If you didn't know, Shopsmith is promoting a new line of abrasive products, and some of the posts on FB have been about their excitement about being added to the inventory of LOWE's.
Here's the text from a recent post, and a couple pics.
We are proud to announce a ShopSmith line of professional quality abrasives that are sure to set the new standard in abrasive performance and quality for the "Next Generation"! A nation wide launch in coming in August, but a sneak peak of the product offering will be coming soon on future post.
Something about their packaging seemed familiar to me, so I did a little Googling and confirmed my suspicions: This product is made by Ali Industries. Ali is located in my birthplace of Fairborn, Ohio, and is a manufacturer of a lot of the private label "store brand" abrasives that you may have purchased over the years. Normally when I think of store brands I think generic, but after discovering Ali abrasives some 20 years ago I actually look for their little alligator logo in the small print on the back of the package. I've found it on Ace Hardware, True Value Hardware and a few other packages over the years, but so many of these products have gone to the lowest bidder now.
The most interesting thing that I learned was about the name or branding of the product. Here's the first part:
On Monday, July 18, 2011, a U.S. federal trademark for ALI INDUSTRIES, INC. registration number 85046037 was abandoned having the name G2 CERAMIC 2000. The Reason provided as ABANDONED - NO STATEMENT OF USE FILED
So, Ali Industries abandoned their trademark for G2 ceramic abrasives. Here's where it gets interesting though:
On Wednesday, July 13, 2011, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for SHOP SMITH ENRICHING LIVES THROUGH FINISHING. This trademark is owned by ALI INDUSTRIES, INC., FAIRBORN, OH 45324. The USPTO has given the SHOP SMITH ENRICHING LIVES THROUGH FINISHING trademark serial number of 85369944 The current federal status of this trademark filing is NEW APPLICATION - RECORD INITIALIZED NOT ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER. The correspondent listed for SHOP SMITH ENRICHING LIVES THROUGH FINISHING is R. WILLIAM GRAHAM of A PAT..., 3340 ..., P. O. BOX 752125 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73120 . The SHOP SMITH ENRICHING LIVES THROUGH FINISHING trademark is filed in the category of Cosmetics and Cleaning Products , Machinery Products , Hand Tool Products . The description provided to the USPTO for SHOP SMITH ENRICHING LIVES THROUGH FINISHING is Abrasive products for sanding, namely, coated abrasives and sandpaper in the form of sanding strips, sheets, belts, spindles, and discs, emery cloths, and sanding screens in the nature of abrasive cloth.
Interesting, huh? RLFShop is the owner of the Shopsmith and Shop Smith trademark, but it looks like they've licensed the name to Ali, who has trademarked the "SHOP SMITH ENRICHING LIVES THROUGH FINISHING" slogan. So what does all this really mean? Nuthin'.
Ceramics are excellent abrasives, and I also see that some of their products are what is called "film back". Cloth and paper has a texture to it, and when you cover that texture with abrasive particles they points of the abrasives will protrude from the paper at different heights, which causes scratches that will be amplified by your finish. With a film back the abrasives are bonded to a dead-flat piece of film, so you don't get these flaws.
I've used a LOT of brands, and have been impressed by ceramics and film back products, so I can't wait to try it and to see how this all works out. As I said, Ali Knows abrasives, and I know that Jim McCann of Shopsmith knows abrasives, finishing and sharpening better than 99.999% of the Woodworkers you've heard of, so with their powers combined (like the Wonder Twins) this could be a very good thing indeed.
Here's a video of the man himself, Mr. Jim-Bob McCann, playing with this new abrasive on a Shopsmith Mark V.
Learn more at Shopsmith's site.