What are the different Grits of Sandpaper
By: The Working Man
There are many different types of grit available on
sandpaper. Each different type of grit has its own
particular value for particular uses.
One common type of sandpaper grit is Aluminum oxide, a
manmade material that is used to sand, shape and polish hard
metal, iron and steel. It can also be used on wood as it
cuts very quickly and lasts a long time compared to glass or
garnet. Sandpaper with this grit is available with
waterproof or non-waterproof backing. The cloth backing
gives more flexibility and can be used for heavy duty
applications like metal shaping and rust removal.
Garnet paper is natural crushed rock that makes an excellent
abrasive. It is used for general sanding purposes and can be
used by hand or with a power tool. It has a bright green
coloring and is being phased out by aluminum oxide.
Garnet lasts two times as long as the quartz chips used on
glass paper but doesn't last as long as aluminum oxide.
Garnet also comes on a cloth backing for projects that
require flexibility and durability. Garnet is a good for
smoothing hardwoods and for fine finish work. It is an
extremely well rounded abrasive.
Glasspaper is usually made from quartz granules glued on a
paper backing sheet. It is a low cost and relatively soft
abrasive that is good for sanding natural timber, painted
surfaces, metal and other materials. It doesn't last very
long and is better used for a quick finish job rather than a
very smooth finish. It is normally only used with non-
Silicon carbide is a wet/dry sandpaper. It can sand all
kinds of different surfaces including plywood, soft metals,
hardwoods, plastic and even glass. It is very brittle and
the coarser the grade, the faster the wear.
When used for wet sanding, silicon carbide sands very fine
and can be used with lubricants like mineral oil. Wet use
keeps the surfaces cool so there is less friction. Using it
this way keeps dust down and washes away debris. Any wet
slurry needs to be wiped away during and after smoothing.
Both wet and dry silicon carbide sandpaper is used during
vehicle body painting. It gives a very smooth surface to
each coat of paint and works very well for this application.
Steel wool isn't a sandpaper but it is an abrasive that can
be used for sanding purposes. It is very often used by
professional cabinet makers because it makes a finer
abrasive effect than sandpaper. The steel cuts through
surfaces rather than abrading a surface and makes a very
Steel wood is graded starting at five, which is very coarse,
through a series of naught to 0000 which is the finest. It
is great for use on metal and timber. It shouldn't be used
on plastic or on surfaces where the steel wool can break off
into the substance and rust. Steel wool can be used to sand
complicated shapes like wooden moldings and metal castings.
When using sandpaper be sure to always use the right
sandpaper type for the job. Be careful to select the right grit,
grade and backing for your project. And do not use sandpaper
that is for hand use for power tools.
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