If you are a professional woodworker, then you understand the importance of choosing the best sandpaper for wood. You must be familiar with the user guide of how to sand wood edges after cutting, before applying paint or varnish, or before putting coats between two wooden layers, etc. Things are easy when you have the instruction and list of accessories, like type of sandpaper, tools, etc. in hand.
The real challenge is when you visit a hardware store and find a variety of sandpaper booklets and sheets, arranged size-wise, from where you have to choose. The process of selection is time taking as there are lots of factors to compare among the different types. We made the searching task for you and compiled a list of top 5 sandpapers for woods. Plus, a buyer’s guide is added further to make the right selection before purchase.
Top 5 Sandpapers for Wood
The grit size of Mindy Assorted Grit Sandpaper is available within 120 to 3000-grit. The package contains a set of three sheets each for every grit label. High quality silicon carbide based synthetic grit particles are used in Miady sandpaper. This product is suitable for any type of wooden grinding, such as buffing, sanding, scratch removing, and giving final finishing. Both DIY crafters and woodworkers can do well with this sandpaper. The sheet can be cut into pieces as per the requirement, so you can save for later use. The sheet contains an electronic coat layer that renders the sandpaper damage-proof.
Dura-gold Premium Longboard Continuous roll is a sandpaper of grit size 600. It is a 20 long roll of sandpaper of 18.288 metre. This type is appropriate for burr removal, shaping and buffing rough wooden surfaces, and more. The product is available within the following grit range of 40 to 1000. Can cut the required length from the roll and use it on any board type for sanding. With Dura-gold, you get the task done quite efficiently and faster. The quality of this tool is value for money as it renders sharper buffing with a smooth finish.
Verones Grit Wet Dry Sandpaper Assortment is a pack of 9 different grits ranging within 400 to 3000. The package comes with a set of 10 sheets each for every grit label. The grit material is developed from finer quality, silicon carbide. The electro-coating on this sandpaper adds durability to it, allowing multiple usage of the same piece of sheet. It is the perfect option for buffing metal and wooden utensils. The best part is you can use the sandpaper in both wet and dry surfaces. The sheets are big enough to be resized into smaller pieces as needed. You get a total of 90 big pieces of sandpapers per order.
3M Garnet Sandpaper consists of finer grits, sizing about 220 grit. The product is available in coarse, medium, extra fine to fine types. The package includes a total of 5 garnet sandpapers. With this model, you can expect super quality, smoother finish. It ensures cleaner operation and the sharp grit edges render swift cutting power. This sandpaper is basically used on the unfinished, irregular shape bare wood planks. The sheets have to be used sequentially based on the grits size, starting with the coarser one to the extra fine.it is a good buy for short term operations on a variety of workpieces.
3M 32023 Imperial Wetordry Grit Sheet is developed with super-quality silicon carbide. Here, the synthetically prepared grits are bonded to a moisture-resistant paper back. Overall, it is lightweight and durable, and flexible in application. Like the 3M garnet, 3M Imperial is also compatible with both the wet and dry work situations. However, the latter ensures 10% better finish compared to the former one. The product is suitable for refined and aggressive sanding.
Buyer's Guide: Things to consider when buying Sandpaper
There is a wider variety of sandpaper grits and picking the right one suitable for your purpose could be a challenging task. So, help yourself with the basic guide given below and decide accordingly:
- Choosing the appropriate grit size of the sandpaper
- Selecting right coarseness that fits your project requirement
- Considering the top-quality grit type
Let's check out the above points in detailed descriptions:
Sandpaper is, of course, not made of sand, but it contains fine particles gathered from synthetic or natural sources instead. These grain-like particles are also called grits, which are passed through sieve and sorted size-wise before bonding them to the sandpaper with adhesive. Sometimes, it could be a cloth-like base, or a sponge to which the grits are bonded to create a handy abrasive material suitable for using in DIY projects.
A proper selection of the sandpaper with a specific grit size is important as every project requirement is different. Some may require bigger grit size, while the others may need finer grit size. Sometimes the grit size selection depends on the type of material surface.
In the USA, the grain (grit) size is evaluated through a gradation scale established by CAMI (Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute). While visiting a sandpaper shop, you will find that the sandpapers are sorted based on some numbers, like 80-grit, 120-grit, or 220-grit, etc.
Note: Higher the grit value, smaller the grain size and finer the sandpaper, and vice versa.
- 120 to 220 grit: used in scratch removing and rough sanding
- 320 to 400 grit: used in sanding metal or other tough material surfaces, and also used in lighter sanding between the coatings, for finer finish
- 400 to 800 grit: used before painting for a final finishing touch
- 1000 to 1500 grit: used in sanding between coats
- 2000 to 3000 grit: used in finer abrasive tasks
To make the selection easier, manufacturers mention the level of coarseness on the product package including the specific grade (grit size). There is a grit size range for every sandpaper type, where each of them could be suitable for doing the same abrasive task within that range. So, make sure you have good knowledge about the coarseness level of each sandpaper type given below:
- Extra coarse sandpaper- The grit value ranges from 24 to 36 and suited for doing the tough stuff, like removing paint or varnish (which is otherwise hard to remove whatsoever). Also, old floor sanding requires extra coarse sandpaper. Make sure to not use it randomly on any other surface unless anything tougher.
- Coarse sandpaper- This type is strong and suited for rough wood shaping and for removing previous varnishes, like light coating of polyurethane. The grit range of coarse grains typically lie between 40 and 50.
- Medium sandpaper- The grit size ranges from 60 to 100, and is best for final shaping. This type of sandpaper is good at rough wood sanding and removal of planer scratch (from the wood).
- Fine sandpapers- As the name suggests, this type is used for mild abrasive tasks, like final sanding work. The grit size ranges from 120 to 220. Most home-based workshops prefer having the collection of this sandpaper type.
- Extra fine sandpaper- This sandpaper type is basically used for finer polishing of paint between the coats or previous varnish. The range of the finer grits starts from 240 to 400. However, the range can be further extended to 600-grit to acquire the best quality subtler polishing jobs.
Grit is made from varied materials; it could be either natural or synthetically developed. Based on the material type of the grit, which type is appropriate for which job is determined. For example, in metal versus wood surface, the requirement of coarseness level of the grit material would be different. So, it is smarter to have an idea about this factor before you buy.
- Flint: A type of natural grain and is durable. Flint is a perfect fit for sanding previously painted or varnished surfaces.
- Emery: This too is a naturally occurring grit and is used in sandpaper mostly for polishing off corroded surfaces or buffing any metal or steel surface. The edges of emery grains are too sharp to be used in sanding wood.
- Garnet: This natural grain is gentler compared to emery or flint grain types. So, garnet based sandpapers tend to blunt out relatively quicker if used for sanding metal or other harder surfaces. This type is typically fit for fine sanding of wood.
- Zirconia alumina: This is a synthetic long-lasting particle and is fit for sanding any burr from metal or steel surface. Plus, it is also good for sanding the rough wood surface at its initial stage. With zirconia alumina based sandpaper, the grains become sharper than before. So, sanding becomes quicker without the requirement of changing the sandpaper frequently.
- Aluminum oxide: This is yet another durable synthetic grain and is perfect for buffing any type of metal surface, including alloy steel, bronze, brass, etc. Added to that, this grit type is best for sanding hardwoods of all types.
- Silicon carbide: Out of all the synthetic grit types, this type is the best synthetic abrasive. Silicon carbide allows sanding of a wider variety of material surfaces, ranging from plastic, metal, softwood to hardwood.
The best type of sandpaper for wood is the open type which is made from aluminum oxide abrasive and has grits 80-240. You can opt for brands like 3M.
Aluminum Oxide is the most widely used abrasive for wood for reasons such as flexibility and wide range of grits to choose from.
Although you can use metal sandpaper on wood, always opt for the one made out of aluminium oxide and grit between 320 and 1,200.
80 grit sandpaper is used for intense purposes like sanding and striping.
Going through the above guide, we hope your product selection to have the best sandpaper for wood has become easier and quicker. Whatever product you set to buy, seek the one that works the best with least effort required. Though all the above listed products are exceptionally useful, here are our picks:
- 3M 32023 Imperial Wetordry Grit Sheet is a versatile choice as it can be used both in wet and dry working conditions. Plus, the sheet is durable and can be used flexibly.
- Dura-gold Premium Longboard Continuous roll renders quick completion of the project through its efficiently smoother buffing.
- Mindy Assorted Grit Sandpaper is a damage-proof sanding sheet that is fit for both the woodworking professionals and the occasional DIY users.