Sandpaper 101 – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Sandpaper – Woodworking Guide
Whether we are into woodworking or not the majority of us know a little something about sandpaper even if it is just the name. Sandpaper is really just a very mild form of a chisel for example or any tool that reduces or alters the wood. The sandpaper is made of tiny coarse blades. Needless to say, they are very fragile and therefore wear down quickly.
One of the issues of using sandpaper is knowing which one to use for which job. To begin with, you have to determine whether you want commercial or industrial sandpaper. You will have less looking around for stores to buy it from if you are using the commercial grade as most hardware stores or home building centers keep it in stock. The industrial is more specialized and is an item most often used on the manufacturing line.
When you hear someone refer to sandpaper, you will most probably hear them refer to grit. All this is, is the way to identify what strength it is. Its referring to each of those little blades we talked about per inch. So the lower the number the coarser the sandpaper will be.
Now with a little understanding you need to determine which grit you need for which job. As we said, they are several to choose from and it will depend on the job you have to do. If you have heavy, sanding where you need to strip the paint or rough up the surface then you will need 40-60 coarse grit. Lighter sanding required for removing small imperfections means you would use an 80-120 medium grit. The final sanding before you are going to put your finish on dictates the use of 150-180 fine. Then for in between the stain coating you use the very fine, which is 220-240. If you have, some dust marks in-between these coatings you can use the extra fine grit 280-320 and then finally for some light scratches you can use the super fine 360-600 grit.
There are various backings used on the sandpapers such as low-grade fabric or Kraft paper. These are held on with bonding agents.
Going through the grits means working on your project from the heavier sandpapers up through to the lighter ones. Usually if all looks well you can finish off at the 150-180 grit although up to 200 if you are going to use a water base stain.
You may hear reference to open and closed coat sandpaper. Open coat has spaces between the grits which means less clogging and is more applicable for woodwork. Closed grit works better on metal and wood finishes but clogs easily.
There are four different types of sandpaper each having a specific use. Aluminum oxide most commonly used by woodworkers. Garnet also another favorite but is short lived. Then Silicon carbon more for steel, paint, plastic and fiberglass and finally ceramic which is the toughest of all of them. It is very expensive and is used predominantly for shaping and leveling.
Now you have some basic knowledge when it comes to what type of sandpapers there are and their best uses.
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