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Best sandpaper to buy

best sandpaper to buy

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best sandpaper to buy Amazon.com: 3M Wetordry Sandpaper, 9-Inch by 11-Inch.

best sandpaper to buy

Tip: While hand-sanding will work well for a lot of jobs, some are simply too big. In those cases, consider using a power sander or belt sander. You may also want to use an orbital hand sander. Many sanders are available for rent.

The material you’re sanding will largely determine which sandpaper to use.

There are three primary characteristics that determine the effectiveness of sandpaper and when it should be used: grit, whether it has an open or closed coat, and its abrasive material.

  • Grit is a measure of how many particles on a piece of sandpaper could pass through a filter that’s 1 square inch. The lower the grit number, the coarser the paper. Grit numbers can go as low as 12 and as high as 600, but most of the sandpaper you’ll use will run somewhere from around 30 or 40 to 220.
Closed-coated sandpaper is completely covered by abrasive material. Material Characteristics

Aluminum oxide

  • Works well for all types of sanding, especially wood and metals
  • Good for use with a power sander
  • Friable surface sharpens itself as you sand to provide longer life
  • Synthetic material that is either tan, light gray or grayish brown


  • Extremely hard and durable; best for rough sanding
  • Ideal for use with power sanders
  • May be more expensive
  • Synthetic material that is generally reddish-brown


  • Economical
  • Not particularly durable
  • Best for rough work on small projects
  • Beige-colored natural material that is used somewhat infrequently


  • Excellent for hand-sanding, especially on wood
  • Coarse paper wears down to provide fine finishes
  • Features a soft grit
  • Reddish or golden brown; natural material wears somewhat quickly, though it provides a finer finish as it wears

Silicon carbide

  • Can be used on wet or dry surfaces
  • Friable surface will self-sharpen on harder materials, like metal
  • Ideal for polishing or using between coats of finish; works with metal, plastic, fiberglass and more
  • Synthetic paper that is blue-gray, black or charcoal; often features a waterproof backing

Other Abrasives

Steel wool is ideal for removing grime and sludge from a variety of surfaces. Scrapers, abrasive sponges and water stones are other options, depending on the job.

Type Characteristics
Steel wool
  • Useful for removing old coatings of paint or finish on wood
  • Graded on a number scale (like sandpaper) that determines how coarse or fine it is, rated from 0000# (super fine) to 4# (very coarse)
  • Use to prepare new surfaces or between coats of paint or finish
  • Ideal for removing paint from glass, furniture and tile
Drywall sanding sheets or screens
  • Like sandpaper, sheets of abrasive material that are designed to fit most drywall sanding tools
  • Can attach to hand and extended pole sanders for hard-to-reach areas
  • Ideal for sanding and smoothing drywall joints, patching compounds and plaster
Abrasive sponges or blocks
  • Abrasive sponges are ideal for working in corners or on oddly shaped pieces that conventional sandpaper can’t conform to
  • Allow you to apply more even pressure than you can with just your hand, resulting in a better finish

Tips & Helpful Tools

Always sand with the wood’s grain to avoid clogging pores. In most cases, you’ll need to sand multiple times, so be patient. Start with coarse paper and gradually work your way up to finer sandpaper.

  • Coarse grits can be used to remove large imperfections while medium grits are better for small-to-moderate surface flaws. In many cases, using a fine grit around 180 or 200 will provide the final step, though you may need to touch things up with a 220 grit.
  • Be sure to clean the work surface when you change to a new grit as debris from earlier sanding can interfere with the smoothing process.

Helpful tools

Tack cloth: A sticky piece of cheesecloth that picks up dust more efficiently than wiping a wet cloth across the surface. Wet cloths can also raise the wood grain, making the surface more difficult to stain.

Zinc stearate coating: Some sandpaper features this soapy substance, which is used to prevent clogging. While it shouldn’t be used on surfaces with water-based finishes, sandpaper with this coating will require less maintenance.

For smoothing of show surfaces in preparation for finishing, you are wasting your time to use any thing else. 

Until early 2006 I had used a wide variety of sand papers. Sometimes I would go a couple of years not needing to buy more abrasives. Then I drank the green Kool-Aide. One Friday in Mid-January 2006 I bought a TS55, 3 rails, the accessory kit, many clamps and a CT22. That Saturday I bought a cleaning set with a 36mm AS hose and the plate for the side of the TS55. The next Wednesday I bought an OF1010, the LR-32 kit and a 1080mm Holy Rail. By now I was hooked.

None of the various brands of sanders I then owned felt right to me any longer. That Saturday I returned to my dealer, where I am sure my name was written on a parking spot, for my first Festool round sander. I think it was a RO 150, but it might have been a previous model.

About 2009, I think, I had the chance to try some Granat while in Europe. I also think Festool was showing it at AWFS in Las Vegas. I admit to being skeptical and cautious. Various Festool experts admitted their Granat started out intended for auto paint finishing. Back then there were many articles and reviews worried that Granat might be a problem with staining wood because of release of wax traditionally used with ceramic abrasives.

Before Granat was released in North America Festool and many other organizations performed numerous tests sanding raw wood with Granat and applying all sorts of stains. None of those tests of production Granat in the coarser grits appropriate for raw wood demonstrated any problems with later finishing. Early in 2011, during a class in Henderson, NV taught by both Steve Bace and Brian Sedgeley, we used Granat on solid surface and between classes discussed the use of Granat on raw wood.


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