Sandpaper is a special type of paper made from an abrasive material. In fact, sandpaper is often said to be a coated abrasive. Sandpaper is usually used for home improvement to make a surface smoother and remove tiny quantities of material from the surface. Sandpaper is used in different types of work. It is generally made of garnet, emery, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, zirconium oxide and chromium oxide.
1 – Distinguishing Coarse and Fine Grits
Sandpaper is numbered with grits, and according to this scale, the lower numbers mean that the grit is coarse and the higher numbers mean that the grit is more refined. For this reason, you are recommended to start working with coarse sandpaper and then continue with finer wallpaper as you move on with the sanding job.
The average grit scale of sandpaper varies from 220 to 800, thus 220 is the coarsest type and 800 is the finest. There are five numbers: 220, 320, 400, 600 and 800.
2 – Using Sanding Sponges
Sandpaper manufacturers usually produce a variety of sanding sponges as well. These sponges are part of the sandpaper family and have the same functions and grit system.
3 – Sanding Sheet Metal
Be careful when you use sandpaper on sheet metal. Sandpaper can be used on several types of sheet metal i.e. gold, silver, copper, brass, nickel and steel. Start sanding the metal with 220-grit sandpaper because if you use a lower grit, you risk damaging the metal with deep scratches. You use sandpaper to remove scratches and dings from the material. It is very important that you sand in one direction and maintain that direction all the time.
4 – Using 320-grit sandpaper
When you see that you have no more scratches left on the sheet metal, put away the 200-grit sandpaper. Wash it properly and replace it with 320-grit sandpaper. Use this new sandpaper by sanding in a perpendicular motion to the previous direction. Inspect the material and check that the 220-grit sandpaper left no marks.
5 – Using 400-grit Sandpaper
Once you finish sanding with the 320-grit sandpaper, make sure you wash it thoroughly and then replace it with 400-grit sandpaper. Start sanding in a perpendicular direction to the previous one so that you are now sanding in the same direction of the 220-grit sandpaper.
6 - Finishing With 600-grit and 800-grit Sandpaper
Repeat the same procedures with the 600-grit sandpaper. If you are still not satisfied with the result or you want to make sure that the material is completely sanded, use the 800-grit sandpaper as well. Now your material is sanded and it is ready to be polished.
Always remember to wear a facial mask when using sandpaper so that you avoid inhaling the particulates removed by the sandpaper. You will also reduce the presence of particulates in the air if you decide to use sandpaper with water.
Sandpaper is not used only to clean sheet metal prior to fabrication. It is also used as a finishing tool for art jewelry. Sandpaper is usually used to give jewelry a shiny polished look; like that of a mirror, or a rough look; as if the jewelry is scratched.