Sandpaper. You will never walk into any woodworker’s shop without seeing it. And I don’t have to explain why. But there are a few tips and hacks about sandpaper that we can always use, and possibly didn’t know about. And don’t forget the video below from Izzy Swan. He shows how to use an old shoe to clean your sandpaper.
Before wood is used to make furniture or other items that show off its beauty, it must be sanded. Sanding removes imperfections caused by woodworking machines at the mill, as well as other flaws such as gouges or dents. It’s best to start off the sanding process with coarse-grained sandpaper. During the first pass, large problems are quickly removed. After that, the worker uses sandpaper with successively finer grits to attain the desired smoothness. Those grits range from #150 to #220.
It’s important to understand this concept because there are many different opinions about which grit of sandpaper is best to use. Since wood conditions vary, it best to understand how the process works.
Consider these examples. A coarse grit is required to quickly smooth a board planed with dull knives. On the other hand, veneered plywood that has been factory sanded will typically need a fine grit sandpaper to complete the process. In both of these cases, a #180 grit sandpaper will be used for the final finishing sand. However, you’ll need to start sanding the solid wood with a #80 grit while the plywood will only require a #120 grit. If you started sanding the factory sanded veneer with #80 grit, you would be wasting your time and would risk damaging the wood. Starting with a grit that is too coarse will actually be more work in a case like this.
Stay flexible as you move through the grits towards your final product. The sanding process depends upon our individual approach. Each of us apply different pressure during our passes. Some people have more passes than others. These individual differences affect the progression through the grits.
To be the most efficient, use every grit. Finer grits should simply remove the sanding marks from the previous grits. However, since most people tend to over-sand, it often makes sense to skip a grit or two.
When it comes to sanding, experience is the best teacher.
Now here is the hack below using a shoe to clean your sandpaper: