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Understanding the properties of different sandpapers will take the confusion out of selecting the best sandpaper for your project. Below, we'll explain the basics of what you need to know when comparing type and grade to help you select a suitable sandpaper for wood online.
Take into consideration the grade of sandpaper you need before you make your choice. Some grades will scratch or damage wood, while others simply won’t be up to the task. The lower the grade, the rougher the sandpaper; to get the best results you should choose the right grade for the purpose you require.
In addition, layering new paint over the top of an old coat won’t give a good result and will lead to flaking over time. If you are planning to repurpose previously finished wood or up-cycle wooden furniture, sanding will remove any old paint and varnish to create a fresh surface.
60-grit sandpaper is generally the roughest sandpaper used for woodworking, although especially rough 40-grit sandpapers are also available. Use coarse sandpaper when you want to remove wood quickly and aggressively. 60 and 80-grit are perfect for flattening out gouges and removing loose fibres, old paint, and varnish.
Medium sandpapers are an excellent go-to for general-use woodworking. 100-grit sandpaper is rough enough to remove defects without being too abrasive, so it should be the last step you will need to take in levelling uneven surfaces before finishing.
Medium sandpapers are also a pretty good choice for rounding edges and corners of tables, cupboards or photo frames. Lower-grit sandpapers do a fine job of blocking out rough shapes, but if you are wanting to curve a chair leg or perfect the knobs on a chest of drawers, you should opt for 100 or 120-grit.
Never jump straight from coarse to fine: using a medium sandpaper as an in-between gets rid of any remaining crags and splinters that might snag and tear fine sandpaper.
Use high-grit sandpapers only sparingly, too, as excessive sanding may cause over-polishing, which prevents stain from penetrating the wood evenly and leaves your finish spotty with shiny spots and streaks. To combat this, try rubbing 100-grit sandpaper across the grain to rough up the surface for more consistent stain application.
While there are sandpapers of several different grain types on the market, not all are suitable for woodworking. The best type we recommend that is most readily available is aluminium oxide mineral sandpapers.
Another option to consider is garnet sandpaper, which is a natural abrasive and is usually recognisable by its brownish-red colour; often less expensive but also wears out quicker than other types. However, due to lack of availability, we have not added garnet sandpapers to our ranking list.
Aluminium oxide on the other hand is a man-made abrasive which is most commonly used in power sanders, although it is equally suited to hand sanding. It is more durable than garnet, however, it can leave a slightly less refined finish.
If you are planning to use an electric sander, save time and energy by buying pre-cut individual sheets. Unlike sandpaper sheets or rolls, these also come in round and tear shapes for use with orbital or corner sanders. Look for ones with Velcro backing for secure attachment and easy removal.
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SandBlaster Assorted Sandpaper Sheets
The Best Sandpaper Assortment for a Start-to-Finish Project
Aluminium Oxide Paper Roll
An Extra-Coarse Option for Smoothing Wood Fast
4-Roll Aluminium Oxide Sandpaper Set
Flexible Rolls Ideal for Getting Into Nooks and Crannies
Multipurpose Sandpaper Sheets
A Sandpaper That Stays Sharper for Longer
Sandblaster Medium Bare Surfaces Roll
A Convenient and Versatile Medium Sandpaper Roll
100-Piece Sandpaper Discs for Orbital Sander
A Great Assortment for Use With Orbital Sanders
Fine Aluminium Oxide Sandpaper Roll
Best Fine Sandpaper for Sanding Large Surface Areas
25-Piece Sanding Sheet Set
Sturdy, High Quality Sheet Set for Multi-Sanders
Hiomant Abrasive Sandpaper Roll
A Strong and Durable Coarse Sandpaper
Dry Sandpaper Sheets
A4 Sheets for Finishing Soft Woods or Removing Varnish
This pack contains 25 sheets of three grit types, which can be used for filler, paint and lacquer as well as bare wood. And don't worry if you don't have a Bosch-brand sander, as the sheets are universal and have a nylon hook-and-loop fastening system that keeps the paper firmly in place, allowing you to change sheets quickly and easily.
This paper is just coarse enough for the removal of remaining varnish, paint or lacquer, and comes in full-sized A4 sheets for convenience. Though affordable, the sheets are a bit thinner and thus not as durable as other options, so we don’t recommend them for use with electric sanders.
Never skip grit numbers when sanding to finish; you should sand progressively in sequence from coarse to fine. This not only gives better results but avoids wasting time scrubbing rough areas with a sandpaper grade that is too weak. Always sand parallel to the grain of the wood as sanding across the grain creates scratches.
Sanding produces a lot of dust that can be harmful if inhaled and irritating to the eyes. Make sure to always wear suitable protective eyewear and respiratory equipment for safe sanding. Cut down on excess sawdust by wiping down projects with a damp cloth and hoovering the area you are working in between sanding.
As well as the right roll or sheet of sandpaper, you're probably going to need a few other bits and pieces to get started on your next project or two. Here are our recommendations for the best cordless drills, screwdriver sets and exterior paints to help you find what you need.
Although how you go about sanding is dependent on personal preference, keep in mind that different materials require different types of sandpaper. We hope this article has helped you discern which properties and papers are best suited for sanding wood!
Author: Wren Mann
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