Editor’s Note: Brandon Santiago, of Cleveland Hardwood Restoration, was one of 10 wood flooring professionals whose names were drawn as winners of this year’s annual Lägler Fly and Sand lottery. Below, is Brandon’s take on the once-in-a-lifetime experience. All photos shown are courtesy of Brandon, and come from his Instagram account (@clevelandwoodbee).
By Brandon Santiago, Cleveland Hardwood Restoration
Those of you who follow me on Instagram saw that I recently visited Germany to attend Lägler PST training. If you’re in the wood flooring business, and
you don’t know what that is, you should.
PST training is based on Lägler’s Premium Sanding Technology.
It’s designed to help wood flooring geeks like me become more efficient and consistent with my sanding skills, which will have a huge impact on my
“I’m not ashamed to admit that walking into the factory for the first time was an emotional experience.” ~ Brandon Santiago, Cleveland Hardwood Restoration
Lägler hosts this training in Denver, in the U.K., and in Germany, but I was part of a lucky group that got to attend the training in Germany. And Lägler
picked up the tab. Mind-blowing, right?
The sight-seeing we did was great, as was the German beer and food, but the real highlight of the trip for me was touring the Lägler manufacturing facility
where the machines I use every day are made. I was so amped up about touring the plant that I couldn’t sleep the night before. Lots of other guys on
the trip couldn’t either.
I’m not ashamed to admit that walking into the factory for the first time was an emotional experience. These machines are engineering marvels, and seeing
for myself how they are made, made me appreciate them even more.
The people working at Lägler are true craftsmen, and you can see the pride they take in their work at every work station. In fact, being in the factory
was like being an eight-year-old visiting Disneyland for the first time. I couldn’t help but wander off from the group to explore on my own.
Seeing these machines lined up by the dozens was like Christmas, Easter and my birthday all wrapped up as one. And then to learn that the name Hummel means
“bumblebee”? It’s like it was meant to be.
One of the highlights of the tour for me came when Jeff Fairbanks, one of our trip hosts from Palo Duro,
gathered the factory crew and put me up on an assembly table to drop trou and show the German crew my big machine – the Hummel tattoo I proudly display
on my thigh. When Karl Lägler himself saw it, he laughed and promptly asked me, “Where is the TRIO”?
The one-day training and certification program was intensive. Marc Schulz with Lägler showed us all the ins and outs of each machine – the HUMMEL, SUPERHUMMEL,
TRIO, FLIP, ELAN and PROFIT. We got one-on-one instruction with each machine, we made our own wood filler, we sanded UV finishes, and we tried a variety
of finish methods.
It’s hard to explain, but being in that environment with so many other talented wood flooring craftsmen, with the smell of the wood dust and finish all
around us, it made us want to get to work and perfect our art.
Which is where I am now. Back at home, in Cleveland, implementing what I learned to improve my business, and leaving my mark on this world one floor at