This blog post will hopefully be helpful to those who are new to woodworking. It is a complete guide on what sandpaper grit is, how it works, the different types of grits available, sandpaper grit chart, and which one you should use for your project. At the end of this post I'll give some tips on how to choose the right grit sandpaper for you.
Table of Contents
- What Is Sandpaper Grit?
- Why Do You Need to Know about Sandpaper Grit?
- Wood Sandpaper Grit Chart
- what do sandpaper grit numbers mean?
- Why Grit Matters on Sandpaper?
- How Is Sandpaper Grit Measured?
- How Does Sandpaper Grit Work?
- Sandpaper Grit Rating and Standards
- Sandpaper Grit Scale
- What's the Difference Between Sandpaper Grit and Sandpaper Grade?
- How to Choose the Right Grit Sandpaper?
What Is Sandpaper Grit?
Sandpaper grit is the standard way to measure how rough or smooth a piece of sandpaper is. Essentially, it tells you how coarse or fine that particular sheet is. For example, number 12 sandpaper has more abrasive particles per square inch than number 80. Simply put, more grit means rougher paper, and less grit refers to smoother paper so on.
The three main factors that determine the amount of sandpaper grit are abrasive material (crystalline vs. garnet), coarseness of the individual grain particles and bonding agent used to glue them together in sheets. Because there are so many different types of sanding grit from hundreds of manufacturers worldwide, most people use one system to compare all of them: the grit system.
The grit system is a standard, internationally recognized scale that measures sandpaper to its finest levels from its coarsest. It ranges in value from the super coarse (150-grit) to the ultra-fine (12,000 and above). Most people associate this number with the US Standard for grading papers, which also follows a similar format. For example, the 100-grit paper refers to both 100-grit paper and 100-point coated bond paper under the US Standard.
A huge misconception about sandpaper grit is that all finer grades are always smoother than those of coarser grains because of their higher number magnitude. However, it doesn't work exactly like that, as each manufacturer determines its own unique system.
Why Do You Need to Know about Sandpaper Grit?
Sandpaper grit helps you choose the right sandpaper for any job.
Sandpapers come in three varieties of sharpness – very fine, medium, and coarse. You need to know what each type does best to choose a suitable one for every task.
The coarsest sandpaper is used for the fast removal of paint and rust. It is not the kind of paper you want to use on fine underlying surfaces, like a hardwood floor or linoleum. The abrasives embedded in this type of paper are so aggressive that they can remove portions of the layer you're sanding away, leaving stains.
Medium-grade sandpaper is far more versatile and gentle enough for any surface that doesn't need paint removed, or rust stripped – like wood floors (unless they're very old) and metal siding. This grade gives you great results but isn't as aggressive as the coarse one. If you don't have a specific job in mind when shopping around for sheets of sandpaper, this is the one you should go for. It will work on a variety of surfaces and can be used in different types of situations.
The fine grade of sandpaper is designed specifically to smooth out soft finishes like paint and varnish. It's ideal for tasks where you want the surface to look as polished as possible, with no scratches or marks visible. In terms of quality, it doesn't get any better than this type of paper. The abrasives are extremely refined so that they remove only minute portions of the layer you're sanding away – rather than big bits like their coarse counterparts – leaving stunning results behind.
Ordinary grade sandpapers are more economical than their premium counterparts because they don't have special features, like water resistance or chemical resistance. However, they're great for basic applications like changing flat tires and working on wood furniture that needs a bit of TLC to fix the damage.
At this point, you might be wondering how exactly sandpaper has grit if it's not the kind of material that has tiny pieces embedded within to make it rough and abrasive. To make things easier to comprehend and remember, think about the word's origin – which is a reference to rocks with sharp edges!
Usually made from silicon carbide or aluminium oxide, these materials' size is measured in microns (one-millionth of a meter). The bigger the number, the coarser grains of sandpaper will be. A good example would be silicon carbide at 220 grit, which is a coarse grade of paper.
Suppose you need something fine-grit enough to polish down wood and metal surfaces or get rid of paint or rust in a hurry. In that case, you can go for aluminium oxide (a slightly coarser material compared to sandpaper manufactured from silicon carbide) that has grit sizes around 3600. It's important to remember that the finer the material used in manufacturing sandpapers, the more expensive they are. However, it's also worth noting that you don't always have to buy premium brands unless your project calls for doing so – any paper will do if all you want is basic tasks like removing old varnish and repairing holes in walls.
The best way to choose a suitable grade of sandpaper for your project is to buy the highest-grit paper you can afford. While the higher the grit number, the better results you'll get after smoothing out surfaces, it's important to remember that other factors affect performance as well. For example, suppose you're working on removing paint from a floor (a rough surface). In that case, it'll be much easier to do so with coarse sandpaper – rather than a super fine one – because the coarser material will remove layers of paint faster.
Wood Sandpaper Grit Chart
Sandpaper Grit Chart is an illustrated guide to help with the selection of sanding belts and discs for different types of woodworking projects. The chart includes a list of grits and their uses. It is important to note that each abrasive will wear out at a different rate depending on the hardness or softness of the wood being sanded. This chart can be used as a reference when purchasing new belts or discs in order to make sure they are appropriate for your project needs.
24-36 Grit Range
Extra Coarse Sandpaper
It gets utilized for evacuating varnish and paint that you think may never fall off.
40-50 Grit Range
Used to flat molding of the wooden surface and the expulsion of past completions, like light layers of polyurethane.
60-100 Grit Range
Used for sanding of harsh wood and the expulsion of arranging blemishes on the wooden surface is regularly best finished with this sanding paper.
120-220 Grit Range
Used in for maximum home workspaces. This sanding paper will get the job done for the last sanding before the work gets done.
240, 320 and 400 Grit
Very Fine Sandpaper
It mainly does sanding the completion amongst the uninterrupted layers, and it also gets used on drywall and wooden surfaces.
600 Grit & Up
Extra Fine Sandpaper
Regularly utilized between varnishes or layers of paint, extra-fine sheets with grit number of up to 600 are most appropriate for polishing occupations.
what do sandpaper grit numbers mean?
Many people are curious about the meaning of grit numbers, so we have put together this article to answer those questions. Sandpaper is graded by its ability and speed in producing a finer finish on wood or metal surface due to the size and amount of abrasive materials (grit).
The sandpaper grit numbers are a system of measurement for the coarseness or fineness of the abrasive paper. It is measured by counting how many lines per inch (LPI) can be felt with one square inch of the sandpaper sheet. They range from 30 to 2500, so there's something for everyone! The higher the number, typically means that it will cut faster and last longer - but not always. For instance, if you're using a coarse sandpaper on wood then a lower grit might work better because it won't take off too much of your material when you go over an area. So don't just assume because it's more expensive that it'll do everything you need in one pass!
Why Grit Matters on Sandpaper?
Coarser or inferior grits, sanding paper expels wood and different resources quicker and with fewer exertion than more delicate sanding paper. It gets done by cutting those filaments on the substance's surface. Forceful scraping is acceptable when you need to expel a great deal of substantial, contour the border, or evacuate earlier color or imperfections. Yet, the coarse sandpaper additionally leaves deep scratches afterward.
At the opposite finish of the range, fantastic sandpaper expels a modest measure of substance within the impact of leveling that exterior—the more elegant the sandpaper, the evener the surface. The worry here is if you change to fine sandpaper too early, you'll invest a great deal of energy sanding to get the outcomes you need. Additionally, sanding the wooden surface with too fine sandpaper or starting sanding excessively can shine the surface, making exhausted territories obstruct the assimilation of blemish and different completions.
The stunt is, to begin with, the most elevated grit sandpaper that will address your issues moderately immediately, at that point climb to logically higher grits sandpaper as the apparent draw nearer to the completed item, and to end when it's sufficiently even for your loving.
How Is Sandpaper Grit Measured?
The grits on sandpaper are measured by a check number, with the least numbers connoting bigger. For instance, 24 or 40 grits sanding paper is an exceptionally coarse, harsh sanding paper, while the 1000 grits sandpaper is amazingly fine with little rough elements. The grit's number of sandpaper is quite imprinted on the rear of the sandpaper. The grit numbers extend from 24 as far as possible up to 1000, albeit a great many people will not ever utilize the grit at the highest or base of the gage.
That number measure alludes to the number of gaps per square inches in those screens, which gets utilized while sifting the grating grains throughout the assembling of sandpaper. For instance, in 60 grits, the rough atoms used in that sandpaper were scrutinized concluded a shade that had 60 gaps for every square Inches.
How Does Sandpaper Grit Work?
The number of sandpaper grit scales is arbitrary; however, each number generally corresponds to a certain level of roughness tolerance. Since sandpaper is made up of small granular materials (grit), then one may assume that it works mostly on a microscopic level, which can have various effects on either an object's exterior or interior when used properly.
Abrasive particles come in many sizes and shapes, with the most common particle shape being round. The smaller the particle is that makes up an abrasive, the rougher it will be on a surface because there are more edges to each particle as its size decreases. Sandpaper grit numbers express how many thousandths of an inch wide (called microns) one side of a piece of sandpaper is. For example, 400 grit is about .4mm (4000 micron) wide per side and 8000 grit is about .08mm (.008mm per side).
The higher the number, the smoother or finer that layer becomes on your surface. A fine tune to really make something shine - like a mirror finish- will use a very fine grit like 1500 or 2000 for example. The lower the number, the rougher the surface becomes when sanded.
The smaller particles of abrasive are more aggressive on your surface because they don't remove material as quickly as larger particles do and thus create more heat per particle. Larger loose-packed particles of sandpaper are not necessarily "rougher" than finer grit papers that have small particles in them - it's all about how many edges there are per particle to affect your workpiece. The main thing to remember is that the smaller and more numerous the particles, the rougher it will be on your surface. The higher numbers have fewer edges per particle so they tend to be smoother.
Sandpaper Grit Rating and Standards
There are many different grit standards used throughout the world; two of these have been determined to be most common, CAMI and FEPA. Both can help you understand what they mean for your specific needs when it comes time to purchase
CAMI (Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute)
With an array of particle sizes, the CAMI standard is simple to understand and more flexible in its grading system. The uniformity between grades allows for a greater range than other standards which usually have only two or three categories with varying levels within each one. This means that even though there are fewer steps on the scale, you can still customize your abrasive grade based on any particular task
FEPA (Federation of European Producers of Abrasives)
The FEPA standard is used more frequently throughout Europe and ranges from P12 (extremely course) up to 5000. This system of "P" followed by a number indicates the fineness or coarseness of the product, with 12 being extremely coarse and 5000 being extremely fine.
Sandpaper Grit Scale
Sandpaper grit scale is a numerical system that measures the coarseness of sandpaper. The lower the number, the finer it will be. If you are not sure what type of sandpaper to use for your project, consult with an expert in your craft discipline or read below to determine what size of sand paper you need for your project.
Extra coarse sandpaper
Accelerates the elimination of most resources rapidly
Early hard work in hardwood surface sanding
Has the aptitude to eliminate material swiftly
Smearing away a coat of wreckage or finish with negligible exertion
Average to the rough apparent texture after sanding
Sands plain wood to make it for eliminating lacquer and last finishing
Can eliminate lacquer or paint from the forest
Making finishing wood, scrubbing dressing and eliminating watermarks on wood
Very fine sandpaper
Micro-abrasives at its least
Finishing sanding amid successive drywall, coats and timber
Extra fine sandpaper
Slightly fewer fine and extra abrasive than Super Fine
Creativity approaches for wood enhancing
Super fine sandpaper
Slightly smears away minor discrepancies but not robust adequate for elimination
Finishing wood dying
Ultra fine sandpaper
Maximum subtle abrasive
Final sanding and thick polishing finishes
Check out the video below if you want to know more about sandpaper grit and type!
What's the Difference Between Sandpaper Grit and Sandpaper Grade?
There is a huge difference between sandpaper grit and sandpaper grade. Sandpaper grit refers to the size of grains within the actual blade of sandpaper, while the term "grade" refers to the fineness of those grains: lowest grade is 60, which has big pieces; next up in coarseness is 100 with medium-sized ones; then comes 150 with small particles. The coarsest paper, 220, is used for the lightest scratches, while 300 and 400 are smoothest and finest respectively.
A low grade number indicates that there are bigger pieces in the blade, while a higher one means more small ones. Many sandpaper manufacturers do not specify sandpaper grade, only sand paper grit. The reason for this is that sandpaper grade cannot be specified without knowing the sanding surface's (wood, metal etc.) inherent hardness. This is because fine particles easily wear out and fall off in harder materials, while a coarse sandpaper can stand up to tougher resistance better. For example, using 100 grit sandpaper on wood will take longer than it would if 120 were used instead, since the higher number denotes more sanding power which helps remove material quicker.
Therefore to help contractors determine what paper will work best with their project they list the maximum size of particles within the blade rather than its grade: 70-80 for 60-grade sandpaper; 80-120 for 80 grade sandpaper, and so on. This also applies to sanding discs.
How to Choose the Right Grit Sandpaper?
When one thinks of sanding, a few key ideas often come to mind. One is that a high level of finish will likely be required. For this reason, the woodworker may go for an abrasive paper with a larger grit number, i.e., lower on the scale.
As such, we are often faced with the following dilemma: should I choose a coarser or finer grade for my particular application? The answer can be just as difficult to determine as deciding which type and brand of sandpaper to use in the first place! Below are some points for consideration:
Remove Stock Quickly with Coarse Sandpaper
Suppose you want your stock removed quickly before moving on to finer material. Then, coarse sandpaper works well for you. However, depending on the wood you are using, it will work only if your power tools can remove stock fast.
On the other hand, a coarser paper may accomplish a slightly smoother finish than a finer paper. Its main advantage is the speed of material removal.
Use Coarse Paper for Rough or Ragged Surfaces
In case you need to sand rough or ragged surfaces, then coarse paper works best for this task because, in this case, fast material removal is more important than fine finishing. So make use of the sandpaper with lower grit number (coarser) for this purpose rather than wasting time with finer abrasives that simply won't do much good in such cases.
Coarse papers that contain little or no additives can also help prevent 'tracking' of the abrasive on the wood's surface. Tracking can occur when too much downward pressure is applied to the paper, causing it to pick up sanding debris from its path and deposit them onto the wood as you sand, which can leave a more uneven finish than before you started.
Select Medium Grit Sandpaper When You Need a Slightly Smoother Finish
Woodworkers preparing stock for stain or paint tend to choose medium grit papers because they help avoid overly coarse surfaces that may require more work to smooth. Medium-grit sandpaper also helps prepare stock for finer material that will produce a smoother finish for fine finishing processes such as varnishing.
Choose Fine Grit Paper For Proper Finessing
Fine grit paper is suitable if you want a very smooth finish on your woodwork. It helps to produce an almost perfect surface for finishing. Also, finer paper can remove the scratches left by coarser papers and other sanding methods like drum sanders.
The sandpaper is flexible without anything else. You can create a piece in a palm-shaped block, sand until the coarseness blunts, and afterward refold it for a crisp sanding exterior. When you have a ton for sanding, nonetheless, you might be in an ideal situation utilizing at least one well-known sanding devices. Indeed, straight with those gadgets, picking the correct sanding paper coarseness and type for the activity despite everything relates.