A Complete Guide to Selecting Sanding Paper Grades

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If you are wondering which sanding paper grade is best for the job you want to do, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re refinishing furniture or preparing your artwork for painting, there are many different grades of sandpaper available to help you get the job done. The choice of which grade to use can make a big difference in how quickly and easily the project gets done—and how much work it takes off of your hands.

With so many different grades and types of sanding paper available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your project. We’ve put together this guide to help you find the best sanding paper grade for your needs.

How to Select the Right Sanding Paper Grades

When choosing the appropriate sandpaper grade, you should consider a few factors.

First, decide what kind of work you’ll be doing with your sandpaper. If you’re going to use it on wood or metal, you should start with a coarser grade (like 60 or 80). If you are going to use it on walls or floors, a finer grade will perform better.

Second, make sure that your sandpaper is always sharp and clean. Dull grains cause more damage than sharp ones.

Finally, don’t forget about the size and shape of your project—if it’s large and flat, then a large sheet of paper would probably be advisable. If it’s small and curved, a thin strip might work better.

There are two major categories of sanding paper grades: micro and macro, with numerous gradations. To select the appropriate sanding paper grades, you must first understand what each grade is used for. 

Here is a detailed look at sanding paper grades and their uses:

Micro Grit Sandpaper

Micro grit is commonly used for light-duty jobs, like applying a finish coat to furniture or cabinet doors. The fine grains in this type of sandpaper are usually made from aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, or garnet.

P240 Very Fine Sandpaper

This is another type of sanding paper grade that is used to smooth out rough edges and surfaces before applying a new coat of lacquer, polyurethane, or other finish. It has a size range of 40.5 to 58.5 micrometers.

P320-360 Extra Fine 

It features a slightly coarser texture and greater abrasiveness than the Super Fine sanding paper grades. Develop wood polishing techniques using it. It has a size range of 25.8 to 36.0 micrometers.

P400-600 Super Fine

This type of sanding paper has dimensions ranging from 15.3 to 23.0 micrometers. It is generally used for polishing wood and metal finishes, as well as polishing bare metal. It’s ideal for finishing sanding and completing the sanding of wood. It is supplied on waterproof sheets, allowing for wet sanding. 

P800 or 1000 Ultra Fine Sandpaper

This sanding paper is made with the finest abrasives and is used for the final sanding and polishing of thick finishes. The size range of this sanding paper is 8.4-12.6 micrometers.

Macro Grit Sandpaper

Macro Grit works on heavy-duty jobs, such as stripping paint and smoothing out rough surfaces. Aluminum oxide or silicon carbide is commonly used in the coarse grains of this type of sandpaper.

P40-P50 Coarse Sandpaper

Coarse sandpaper is used for heavy strippings, such as the removal of paint, varnish, and other coatings. It is also used in woodworking to remove large amounts of material. The coarse grade has more grains per square inch and a more pronounced tooth pattern than the finer grades. The thickness of this sanding paper ranges from 336 to 425 micrometers.

P60-P80 Medium Sandpaper

It is used to smooth flat surfaces. These types of sanding paper grades are appropriate for most common materials, including wood and metal. It can also be used to remove varnish and for final finishing. This grade of sanding paper has a micrometer size of 190 to 265 micrometers.

P100-P120 Fine Sandpaper

Fine sandpaper is used to sand back bare wood before applying varnish or paint. This option can also help with plaster cleaning and removing water stains from wooden surfaces. These sanding papers have micrometer sizes ranging from 115 to 162.

P150-P220 Very Fine Sandpaper

These sanding papers have micrometer sizes ranging from 190 to 265 micrometers. They have coarser grain than the very fine in the micro-abrasives section. The tool is used to sand wood bare.

Most Common Types of Sandpaper Material

There are a lot of different materials that can be sanded. It all depends on what you’re looking to do with the material, and how much time, effort, and money you have. These manufacturers list the best materials for sanding on their products.

Flint

Sandpaper created from flint is a special type of sandpaper that’s made from crushed flint, a rock that was once used as a source of natural glass. Flint is known for being very sturdy, with high resistance to scratches and abrasion. This makes it an excellent material for crafting sandpaper, which is used to grind down surfaces to make them smoother and more even.

Silicon Carbide Sanding Sheets 

Silicon carbide is another common abrasive used in sandpaper. It is available in various grades, from fine to very coarse. Silicon carbide is available in sheet and strip form and is frequently used for polishing or finishing rather than shaping or smoothing material.

Emery 

A type of abrasive paper, Emery, is made from hard minerals like corundum (aluminum oxide), garnet, or iron carbide. It is used for finishing and polishing metal, wood, stone, and other materials.

Garnet

Garnet sandpaper is a very popular sandpaper material. It is made from garnet, the same material used in jewelry and other types of stones. It is made in a way similar to other types of sandpaper, but it has its unique characteristics. When used to sand metal, it tends to dull relatively quickly. It is particularly suitable for fine wood sanding.

Aluminum Oxide Sanding Sheets 

Aluminum oxide, also known as Alumina, is the most common type of abrasive used in sandpaper. It comes in many grades, from extra fine to coarse. For durability, aluminum oxide is usually bonded to a backing material such as paper or cloth.

Why Should You Select The Right Sanding Paper Grades

The process of sanding is essential to any woodworking project. It prepares the surface for finishing, and it removes any imperfections that might be present in the piece you’re working on.

But even though sanding is helpful and necessary, there’s a right way to do it—and a wrong way. 

The wrong way might cause damage to your tool or create a rougher surface than you intended for your project. The right way can help you get the finish you’re looking for without damaging your tools or creating an uneven surface. So make sure you use the appropriate sanding paper grades to get the best results.

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