When working with wood, it is essential to know what size sandpaper for wood is suitable for painting, preparing, or finishing a woodworking project. Sometimes, wood can be delicate to handle because you cannot correct mistakes you have done to it that easily. The key is to imagine the finished project and how it will turn out to visualize the proper execution. In this article, we will go through the basics of what you need to know about wood preparation and sanding.
A key aspect of knowing how to prepare your project for sanding is to know what kind of wood you are working on. There are different kinds of wood that are easier to sand than others, but most follow the same rules. We will go through what you need to know before sanding wood, but first, let’s talk more about what sandpaper is.
What Is Sandpaper?
The sandpaper is not made of sand from a beach. Instead, it is a bunch of particles from synthetic and natural sources. These particles contain different grains or grits and are sorted by size before being transferred over to paper. The particles stick to the paper through a strong adhesive. These are then labeled according to the size of their particles. A low number on the paper means the sandpaper is more coarse or has a more significant grain. You can also see sandpaper attached to a sponge, cloth, or plank for a user’s secure handling.
What You Need To Know Before Sanding
We sand the wood to remove marks that are usually caused by the machines that trim them in the factory. But there are also marks caused by natural causes in the wood. We also want to remove unwanted flaws and small dents that the wood may have acquired during transport and handling.
If you are not sure what size sandpaper for wood is useful when preparing your project, it is good to start with sandpaper that is rough enough to remove these marks. Then sand out the scratches with finer grits until you reach a smooth finish. This is the basic rule for sanding and maybe the most important one of all. Start with coarse sandpaper and end with fine sandpaper.
Overall, sanding wood varies from what kind of wood you are using. Some wooden boards and planks have already been pre-sanded in the factory. It is essential to identify wood with a factory finish before sanding. This is to save you time and effort.
Sanding your project will always come down to personal preference. The best way to know if you are finished with sanding the wood is by observing and feeling the wood. The common mistake of craftsmen is sanding more than what is needed. But just like anything, practice and actual work provide you the proper experience to know if your finish.
How Fine Should Your Sandpaper Be
To know what size sandpaper for wood is good to use, you must know the basic sandpaper grits. Sandpaper grits have different textures, but their application follows the same rule, from course to dense, when applied to wood. The basic grits are 40, 80, 100, 120, 220, and 400.
The 40-size grit is usually used for thinning out wood or for removing paint thinner. 80-grit sandpaper is also one of the most commonly used sizes for sanding wood projects, especially during preparation. 100-400 will be for smoothing out wooden surfaces and to provide a much cleaner texture.
Let’s go over the different coarse sandpaper to provide you with a more explicit example of the sizes and uses. This is to know what size sandpaper for wood is good on whatever project you are working on.
Different Sandpaper Coarse
- Extra coarse sandpaper
Extra coarse sandpaper usually ranges from 24-40 grit and is perfect for removing the tough-stuff. This is used to remove old paint and varnishes for furniture restoration. The coarse grit is also ideal for sanding floors and can even go as far as sanding concrete. This type of sandpaper is for the hardest and toughest jobs to sand.
- Coarse sandpaper
Coarse grits are perfect for removing light polyurethane coats on wooden furniture. It ranges from 40-50 grit. It is also well known for shaping wood and making angles.
- Medium sandpaper
The medium size sandpaper ranges from 60-100 grit. These types of sandpaper are very commonly used for anything. It accommodates the final shaping of wood before proceeding to smooth the surface. The size is also perfect for the removal of marks and dents on wood.
- Fine sandpaper
This is used mostly for home workshops. It has a grit range of 120-220. It is sufficient to use for final sanding before the woodworking project is finished. This can also be used to sand more delicate things like plastic.
- Extra fine sandpaper
Extra fine sandpaper is what size sandpaper for wood is good to use in between coats and varnishes. It ranges from 240 to 400 grit. Anything higher than this is done for polishing work.
Other Things To Consider When Sanding Wood
- Wood, such as oak and ash, works better pre-wet before sanding. Damp a cloth and wipe over the wood, and this will raise the grains that will make it easier to sand. Allow it to dry before you proceed with sanding.
- Remove dust with an air hose or damp cloth before applying your paint. Sanding can leave a lot of dirt and debris, which causes lumps on your project.
- If you are working with wooden furniture or trying to restore something, look for ways to disassemble the furniture before proceeding to sand. This will make it easier for you to handle individual pieces, rather than attacking the project as a whole.
Knowing what size sandpaper for wood is suitable to use for your project is essential. The sandpaper will determine the outcome, especially during preparation and finishing. It removes unwanted marks, paints, and smooths out the wood’s surface for a quality finish. It is one of the fundamental tools to use when working with wood.
When using sandpaper, don’t rush into finishing your project like it’s a race. High-quality output requires time, patience, as well as focus. With any woodworking project, make sure you have the right protective gear. For sanding, it is always good to prepare a mask to protect your airways and goggles for your eyes. Find out more about sandpapers.