One way to determine which sandpaper will work best for a particular job is to know the abrasive materials and their properties.
Some papers use natural abrasives:
*Garnet is good for hand sanding. It works well on raw wood, removing light scratches and preparing the surface for finishing. The abrasive particles break during use, providing new edges for removing material, but garnet sandpaper wears quickly.
*Emery works for both hand sanding and power sanding metal. Use coarser grits to remove rust or paint and finer grits to polish. Emery sandpaper often has a cloth backing and is also known as emery cloth.
Other abrasives are man-made:
1. Aluminum oxide is a common sandpaper type that works on wood, plastic, metal and drywall. The particles break during sanding, constantly exposing new, sharp edges. Aluminum oxide sandpaper is long-lasting, making it a popular choice for power sanding, and you can also use it for hand sanding.
2. Silicon carbide sandpaper removes material more quickly than aluminum oxide but doesn't last as long. Use it on wood, plastic and metal for tasks, such as rough sanding, paint or rust removal and sanding between coats when finishing. Use it on drywall to smooth joints. Silicon carbide products often have a waterproof backing that allows you to wet sand. Wet sanding uses liquid to lubricate the work surface, minimizing scratches. This technique also helps prevent the sandpaper from clogging with dust, removes loose abrasive particles and reduces airborne dust.
3. Zirconia alumina is suitable for wood, fiberglass, metal and painted surfaces. You'll find it in the form of belts, pads and discs for power sanding. Like garnet and aluminum oxide, the particles break during use, maintaining sharp edges that remove material quickly. However, zirconia alumina lasts longer than aluminum oxide.
4. Ceramic alumina is available in belts and discs for power sanding and is good for aggressive material removal on wood. Ceramic abrasives are durable, lasting longer than aluminum oxide.
You may see sandpaper labeled closed-coat or open-coat. Closed-coat products feature abrasives covering all of the backing. This construction removes more material - making it effective for hand sanding - but can clog more quickly than open-coat products. Open-coat products have empty space on the backing, giving waste material room to accumulate without reducing performance. Since they don't clog as quickly, they're effective for power sanding.
blue latex silicon carbide waterproof sand abrasive sand paper
for wood, metal, automotive, painting, furniture, glass, jade, ceramic polishing
Sandpaper Grit Numbers
The specific grit numbers you need vary by project and the material you're sanding, so follow the abrasive product manufacturer's recommendations. Here are some general guidelines:
Grit numbers from 60 to 80 are good for removing material and work well with power sanders. Applications include: 1. Stripping away finishes, such as paint or varnish 2. Removing rust on metals or flaws in wood 3. Leveling and shaping wood
Grit numbers from 100 to 180 perform well with both hand sanding and power sanding, preparing bare surfaces for finishes. This range is good for: Smoothing work pieces Removing scratches Final preparation for finishing
Grit numbers from 180 to 320 work for finishing. Hand sanding is good for these applications: 1. Removing raised woodgrain fibers 2. Scuffing between finish coats
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