*Tips for Using Sandpaper

July 7, 2011
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Sandpaper is an important accessory for people who love wood in their home as it is used to maintain and repair wood.  It is the best tool to remove scratches, stains, and smooth the wood.  However, sandpaper is available for either commercial or industrial use and comes in different grades, grit, bonding agent, and backing material.  Before using sandpaper to refurbish your hardwood floors or wood furnishings, it would be best to familiarize yourself with the different types of sandpaper and their uses. To ensure your wood is refurbished and finished properly, it is important to use the right sandpaper.

For home repairs, restorations, and car repairs, commercial-grade sandpaper is sufficient and can be easily purchased in home improvement and hardware stores.  Industrial-grade sandpaper is more appropriate for production lines requiring higher quality sandpaper.

The important thing to understand is the grit which refers to the quantity of abrasive particles in a square inch of sandpaper.  The smoother the sandpaper, the higher the grit number. For heavy sanding, a grit number between 40 to 60 is used.  About 80 to 120 grit is used for removing small scratches or marks on hardwood.  Meanwhile, a finer sandpaper of 150 to 180 grit is used for the final sanding before applying finish on any wood.  To get a good smooth and even finish, it is always best to start with a lower grit and move your way up.

Commercial sandpaper usually has backing material made of kraft paper or low-grade fabric.  A backing support is also important when sanding by hand.  You will have better control of the sandpaper since you have more to hold.  Sanding blocks are great for this purpose and you can also glue the sandpaper on a piece of wood for this purpose.

Open-coat sandpaper is an excellent option since it has gaps between the grit, keeping sawdust from clogging the grits.  If you are uncertain about the type of sandpaper you need, ask the salesperson what would be appropriate sandpaper for the type of wood you will be working on.

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