Sandpaper Facts for Woodworking Beginners

by Jason on February 2, 2019

When your woodworking plans tell you to sand the surface of your lumber with 40-grit ceramic alumina, are you going to know what they are talking about in those instructions?

Sandpaper will help you to finish a woodworking project better than almost any other tool. If you sand with something made from the wrong materials or an incorrect grit, then you can turn your hard work into a disastrous result too.

Proper sanding creates a fantastic finish. These facts will help to make sure you’re choosing the right product for the work.

Facts About Sandpaper Grit

There are three standard classification levels of sandpaper grit that you will find in the woodworking industry today.

Sandpaper with 36-100 grit will remove materials quickly. It is strong enough to strip a finish away, remove corrosion, or fix flaws in the lumber.

If you choose 100-180 grit for your sandpaper, then you can remove scratches, polish a finished surface, or prepare an older one for a new coat of paint.

Choosing 180-320+ grit sandpaper will help you to complete the finishing work on your woodworking project. Higher numbers will create a finer finish.

As the numbers go upward with your grit, then the finer the sandpaper is going to be for your finishing work. Some woodworkers even use a 2,000-grit or 5,000-grit product to ensure they can put the best possible polish on their woodworking project.

Facts About Sandpaper Shape

If you plan to sand your project by hand, then the large project squares are suitable for this work. Even if you use a block for this process, the paper is easy enough to cut with a sharp utensil found in your shop or garage.

Belt and orbital sanders tend to use discs, sheets, or belts (hence the name) to help you with your sanding. This option works best if you’re working on a large project or have lots of prep work that must be finished before you can move on to the next step.

Facts About Sandpaper Types

There are three standard options for your sandpaper right now, with each of them offering various advantages that are worth considering.

Aluminum Oxide is the most common type of sandpaper that you’ll find in stores today. It offers consistent abrasiveness that help you to have edges that create the perfect final result for your project.

Silicon Carbide works well when your projects call for heavy sanding. It doesn’t last long because of its industrial approach to woodworking, but it does provide smooth results quickly. This option is suitable for wet sanding too.

Ceramic Alumina is the option found on most belt and disc sanders that are available today. It’s the most aggressive sandpaper type, so it works best when performing refinishing work or challenging repairs.

You will find these products coming in a wide variety of shapes and styles today, but they all tend to follow the information described above. If you’re ready to finish off your first woodworking project, then don’t forget to purchase the best possible sandpaper to get the work done.

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