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Sandpaper comes in many grits for a reason.

1049 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  powersrp
I’ve thought over this, for a long time and can only think I missed class on sandpaper basics 101. I’m not a sorry fit and finish man but I see other newer blood coming up the rancks much faster than when most of us did. I’m certain our class had the best experiences over todays. The problem I think might be people start skipping grits or starting with a higher grit than I would. I see the result. Super smooth and finished in less time too? Should I skip grits and just get with the program? Honestly I do feel 80 grit work can easily be skipped nowadays.Ps. I’m new to this so let me know if have experienced this. This is pretty cool thanks.
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I personally think it makes a difference in the end, maybe some folks don't notice it, but I do, I can feel it. I make stuff for myself though so time isn't a consideration... I also kinda like sanding, like the smell of it is lovely, even if my arms get a little tired and it takes a couple extra days - for me that's just extending the "happy wood working smell" :)

I suppose if you're building for sales or quasi-mass production it could be worth skipping steps though.
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A lot depends on what is being sanded. 80 grit is prone to leave sanding scratches that will need to be sanded out with a finer grit. It's generally best to start with the finest grit that will do the job in a timely manner but you do not want to spend too much time with a finer grit when starting with coarser will get you done quicker. The type of finish and how it's applied determines how fine of a grit the last sandpaper should be.
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To me it totally depends on what I start with and the end result I desire. If I begin with a plank that was sawed with a Pit Saw it would be foolish to begin with 180 grit if I wanted a finish like George Nakashima demanded.

If that same piece of wood has been through my son's 4K Woodmaster planer first, that has spiral carbide replaceable cutter buttons and variable feed rate I might begin with 120 grit.
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I thought this post would be more abrasive...
It's kind ah rubbin me the wrong way.:vs_laugh:
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Welcome to the forums Wack It,
Yeah, it is a little rough but hopefully will smooth out as it progresses.
There are so many variables to finish sanding, where to begin. For starters no one knows what you are sanding, what you are sanding with, or what the desired finish is, or what you are doing to achieve it.

But if you were sanding at 60 grit, then 80, 100, 120, 150,180, 200, 220 etc.,
I would say you could probably get away with skipping a few in-between steps.

In general if you want to sand faster, use a machine (sander).
Then choose your media wisely. There are three basic minerals used for most sanding, alum. oxide, zirconium, and ceramic. Alum ox is the softest. It will wear the quickest and cut the slowest. Zir. will stay sharper longer, and cut faster. And lastly, ceramic is the hardest and will stay sharp the longest. It will cost the most., but the life of the product should make up for the extra cost.

I like using ceramic in courser grades for quick rough sanding, and don't mind migrating to softer minerals for finer grits.
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Also, you have to know when to stop, I have many years building cabinets, doors, drawer fronts refinishing furniture, etc. Some woods require different grits for the same piece to stain up correctly. A flat panel door with a 3/4 frame for instance, generaly the flat panel is 1/4 to 3/8 thick, laminated plywood, it will not stain out the same as the 3/4 frame, so you have to test sum scraps first with diff grits. Also i wont sand past 180 grit, after that you are polishing the wood and the grain will be to tight to soak up the stain correctly. I think my toughest job ever was a beautiful old console tv, the customer wanted a new 24” installed in it. the console was actually cherry, but i ended up using birch, it was impossible to match the old cherry with a new cherry and any combination of stains. End result was awesume, but the boss *****ed because it took a week to do. But we got smiles and a check,

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