is a sheet abrasive composed of particles of flint, garnet, emery,
aluminum oxide or silicon carbide. These particles are mounted on paper
or cloth in "open coat" or "closed coat" density.
Flint: The least expensive sandpaper sold, this is a grey material that wears down quickly.
Garnet: Is a much harder grit than flint and more suitable for woodworking, costs slightly more than flint paper.
Emery: This has a distinctive black colour, is generally used on metal.
Aluminum Oxide: Has a reddish coloured very sharp grit, used on either wood or metal.
Silicon Carbide: This bluish-black material is the hardest of all, and is commonly used for finishing metal or glasss.
Steel Wool: Though
not technically a sandpaper product it is often used for final
finishing, comes in different grades, use degreased for woodworking. It
is not recommnded to use steel wool for sanding if you are going to use
water for raising the grain as small fragments may remain on wood,
causing rust spots.
Grit: Is identified by numbers from 600 to 12, the smaller the number the coarser the grit.
indicates that the grit covers 100% of the surface, "open-coat"
indicates 50% to 70% of the surface is covered. "Closed-coat"
sandpapers are designed for fine finishing, "open coat" does not clog
as easily so is best for initial sanding and paint removal.
glue is used on paper for light or medium duty, it is not waterproof so
cannot be used on a wet surface, waterproof resins are used on paper
meant for wet sanding.
start with the finest grade that is usable, if the sandpaper is coarser
than required small grooves will be made in the surface and will have
to be removed with subsequent sandings creating more work for yourself.
150 grit will smooth the surface enough for painting, if a painted surface is too smooth the paint will not adhere as well.
sanding for clear finishes moving down to finer and finer grits until
the surface feels as smooth as you think you can get it. Now you will
have to raise the grain, soak a clean cloth in water wring it out and
dampen the sanded surface. Let dry for 24 hours, it will feel fuzzy to
the touch, sand with fine sandpaper until smooth, this should be
repeated until the wood no longer feels fuzzy when dry.
grained wood such as oak may need a wood filler to create a super
smooth surface, followed by the application of a sanding sealer to
prevent the final finish from lifting the filler. Sanding sealer also
prevents the excessive absorption of stain on fine grained woods such
If sanding by
hand a sanding block makes the job much easier, these can be purchased
or made from pieces of wood, curved shapes can be sanded using pieces
of dowel with the paper wrapped around it.
are three types of power sanders, belt, disk and finishing sanders, the
belt and disk styles are not suitable for finishing work. The finishing
styles have straight line or orbital actions, some are a combination of
both with a selection lever. Straight line sanding is slower than
orbital but does a smoother job. When using a power sander let the
weight of the tool do the work, do not push down on it.
Types of Sanders
Build a Disk Sander
How to Make a Tack Cloth
tack cloth is one of the best ways to remove dust and grit before
applying a finish, to make one soak a cheese cloth in water, wring out
the water, soak it in turpentine, wring it out again, drip enough clear
varnish on the cheesecloth to make it evenly gummy throughout. Store it
in a jar with a lid to keep it from drying out.
How to Make Sanding Sealer
Mix one part wood glue with ten parts water, apply with brush, let dry. This will raise the grain, sand smooth.
Save Your Sawdust
you start to sand a project empty the dust bag, when the bag is full
empty it into a clean mustard or ketchup squeeze bottle. You will now
have a supply of sawdust to match the project if you need to do the
sawdust and glue fill. To do this squeeze some glue in the crack, then
spray a bit of sawdust on it and work it in, repeat if necessary,