Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of sandpaper and what are they used for?

Aluminum Oxide - A synthetic brown-colored mineral that is tough and durable and is the most widely used abrasive grain. It is ideal for both woodworking and metalworking. (Non-Ferrous)

Silicon Carbide - A very hard and shiny black-colored mineral. This product has a brittle quality that allows it to fracture into sharp sliver-like wedges as it works. Can be used for everything from sanding non-ferrous and ferrous metals, plastics, composites, and wood products.

Zirconia - A synthetic product, this grit is long-lasting and well-suited for grinding away burrs on metal and for an initial sanding of rough wood. When sanding metal with zirconia, the grit particles can actually become sharper, so you wont have to change sandpaper frequently.

Garnet - A reddish brown mineral. It is of medium hardness with good cutting edges and has the tendency to break or fracture when used, thus creating new cutting edges. Used primarily for fine finishing of wood.

What are the different types of backing?

This decision is made by the type of abrasive and grit you have selected or the type of process you will be performing with the abrasive.

Paper - Used mainly for wood finishing in weights from A, C, D, E and F. A is the lightest weight.

Cloth - Produces a flexible backing in a wide range of weights. The more popular J and X weights are standard stock items. The J weight is the lightest and most flexible whereas the X weight is a heavier backing providing the widest range of use.

The weight of the backing is usually specified after the grit number. For example, 40D means 40 grit with "D" weight backing.

What does "grit" mean and which should I use?

Commonly referred to as grit, this number designation is determined by the amount of abrasive mineral that can pass through a mesh screen with specific size openings. Therefore, a 40 grit abrasive particle will pass through a mesh screen that has 40 openings in one linear inch.

Consequently, the higher the grit number results in a finer abrasive and will produce a smoother surface finish. The lower the grit number results in a coarser abrasive that will remove material much faster.

If the grit number is preceded by the letter "P", such as P2000, this indicates FEPA grit. Most sandpaper today is manufactured according to the international FEPA standard.

Grit size refers to the size of the particles of abrading materials embedded in the sandpaper. A number of different standards have been established for grit size. These standards establish not only the average grit size, but also the allowable variation from the average. The two most common are the United States CAMI (Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute, now part of the Unified Abrasives Manufacturers' Association) and the European FEPA (Federation of European Producers of Abrasives) "P" grade. The FEPA system is the same as the ISO 6344 standard. Other systems used in sandpaper include the Japan Industrial Standards Committee (JIS), the micron grade (generally used for very fine grits).

Grit size table

The following table, compiled from the references at the bottom, compares the CAMI and "P" designations with the average grit size in micrometres (m).

 

ISO/FEPA Grit designation

CAMI Grit designation

Average particle diameter (m)

MACROGRITS
Extra Coarse (Very fast removal of material)

P12

 

1815

P16

 

1324

P20

 

1000

P24

 

764

 

24

708

P30

 

642

 

30

632

 

36

530

P36

 

538

Coarse (Rapid removal of material)

P40

40

425

 

50

348

P50

 

336

Medium (sanding bare wood in preparation for finishing)  

60

265

P60

 

269

P80

 

201

 

80

190

Fine (sanding bare wood in preparation for finishing)

P100

 

162

 

100

140

P120

 

125

 

120

115

Very Fine (final sanding of bare wood)

P150

 

100

 

150

92

P180

180

82

P220

220

68

MICROGRITS
Very Fine (sanding finishes between coats)

P240

 

58.5

 

240

53.0

P280

 

52.2

P320

 

46.2

P360

 

40.5

Extra fine  

320

36.0

P400

 

35.0

P500

 

30.2

 

360

28.0

P600

 

25.8

Super fine (final sanding of finishes)  

400

23.0

P800

 

21.8

 

500

20.0

P1000

 

18.3

 

600

16.0

P1200

 

15.3

Ultra fine (final sanding of finishes)

P1500

800

12.6

P2000

1000

10.3

P2500

 

8.4





Sanding methods:

Knowing your intention for the finished product before starting will make it easier to properly prepare the item being treated. The common approach to sanding is to begin with a lower grit paper, or coarser paper, and increase the fineness of the sandpaper until desired results are achieved.

Wood:

For best results, always sand in the direction of the wood grain. Typically 100 grit or 120 grit is recommended to remove or smooth out any paint or dirt on the surface being addressed. A final pass with 220 grit to 360 grit will create a sufficiently smooth surface for painting, staining and varnishing.

Metal:

Begin with loosening and scraping any loose paint or rust with a metal-toothed brush or coarse steel wool. Starting with a coarse grade of sandpaper move regularly over surface. Continue in this manner with increasingly finer grades of sandpaper until sufficient level of desired smoothness.

Plaster:

For plaster surfaces such as drywall, 120 grit to 180 grit should be sufficient for most surfaces. Plaster quickly wears away, and the surface of fine sandpaper can easily become filled with plaster dust, rendering fine sandpaper ineffective.



What brand of sandpaper do you sell?

Our goal is to sell you the best quality sandpaper from a variety of reputable American and European manufacturers at a low price. Currently we carry the the USA1 Abrasives and Norton Abrasives brands. We are confident that you will be satisfied with your purchase, which is why all of our products are backed by a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee. Read our testimonials page to see what our customers think about our products.

How much is shipping and how long does it take to receive my order?

Ground shipping to the continental USA for your entire order is just $4.95. If your order is over $150, ground shipping is FREE. After you place your order, you can expect it to arrive in three to five business days (excluding weekends and major holidays). Shipping charges to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands as well as Next Day, 2nd Day, or 3rd Day shipping will be calculated during checkout.

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