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Hand sanding w/ wet dry sandpaper


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I've done quite a bit of hand sanding lately, and I sure love that smooth and rewarding feeling once you finish. I've worked from 120/150/180/220/250/320/400/600/800/1000/1200/1500/1800/2000/2500/3000 and I was wondering if there's a better medium to use besides water. Does a soapy water/Dawn mixture work better than just water alone? 

Also, are my small incremental steps a bit too small? My hands and shoulders sure hope so...

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I prefer the finish I get with 0w5 full synthetic motor oil, but Windex is great too and doesn't cause rust.  I either machine finish to A45 or drawfile to 6" mill smooth, then go to 220 paper followed by 400.  If there's a hamon I may go to 600, but that's it for me.  I used to use 320 in between the 220 and the 400, but it made no difference in the final finish and added a few more minutes to the process, so I dropped it.

Your tiny increments do guarantee a good finish, but you can probably drop half of them and never notice the difference.

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Thanks Alan! Good to know. I've seen a lot of vids where people go from 120 to 400 straight to 2000 or so. That blew my mind. They may also be using a higher quality sandpaper than I am, since my stuff is from amazon. Using a silicon carbide wet/dry assortment. 

I think I'll give the windex a try, since it'll be a bit cleaner than motor oil. 

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My thought exactly Joel! Even in my looooong progression I always seem to hit a snag going from 1800 to 2000, where it takes 3-4x as long to remove my 1800 scratches at that point. I'm not sure why exactly, maybe I'm just hitting a critical point of fineness where I begin to really see any microscratches that are left in the steel?

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The general consensus on this forum is that Rynowet redline wet/dry paper is the best bang for the buck  Shop around, prices vary wildly from place to place. I ended up getting 50-sheet packs for something like $27 here: https://www.supergrit.com/view.php?pg=products/RedlineRedFlexSheets, compared to the same thing at $35 + $10 shipping on Amazon.  It lasts longer and cuts smoother than the standard black SiC paper from the auto supply at way less than half the price.  And it's tougher paper.  Almost sticky on the back.

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Going through #220-320-400 allows me to get my blades more true, to get rid of slight dips. Of course disc sanders are great time savers in that department but mine doesn't run true and I've go no speed adjustments.

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  • 6 months later...

As a rule I finish off with an 800 grit on the belt sander then 1500 grit followed by 200 grit then finished off with fine scotchbright used with penetrating oil  this gives a good mirror finish ( lucky for me the garage I work in has its own paint shop, so the consumables cost me zilch!!) 

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  • 10 months later...

Well you are really lucky... What sander should I buy? I found some information online about sanders and the one I liked a lot is Makita BO5041K. They are saying how that is the best one you can get right now, and I am ready to trust them, I just wanted to get more opinions from people who know more than I do. I have made a mistake of buying something that later proves to not be that good, and I am looking to avoid that mistake this time. Still, there is not one bad thing I have heard about Makita sander and I know that those guys make good things.

Edited by RichardSmithe
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I've had good luck using WD-40 as a hand sanding lubricant, it's just handy and is convenient to apply and storage isn't an issue (and no chance of me spilling it everywhere either!). I admit I've not experimented with many other oils. I seldom start finer than 220, good to know the 320 between 220 and 400 seems unnecessary. Thanks for the tip on Rynowet redline wet/dry paper Alan, been while since I bought any paper.

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I too use WD-40 when wet sanding. Seems to work good, but never tried anything else, sine WD-40 is what we use at work for grinding on cylinder heads, so I'm used to it. Like Guy said, it's easy to get ahold of and no spills is always nice.

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Well, I'll throw in a plug for glass cleaner as a sanding lube.  I find it a lot less messy than WD40, and cheaper.  I can usually get a spray bottle of the store brand for less than $2.  What drips on the floor or my bench just dries up on it's own.  Additionally, the blade is already degreased when I want to do a test etch on something that is pattern welded.

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Why don't folks use water?  Why do a lot of you feel that WD-40/simple green/dawn/glass cleaner etc is better than plain ol water?  

Not being argumentative, just curious as I try to limit my use/exposure to petroleum products and chemicals.

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29 minutes ago, billyO said:

Why don't folks use water?  Why do a lot of you feel that WD-40/simple green/dawn/glass cleaner etc is better than plain ol water?  

Not being argumentative, just curious as I try to limit my use/exposure to petroleum products and chemicals.

Simple answer is rust. You don't want your 1500 grit underside to rust while you finish the other side. 

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1 hour ago, Joël Mercier said:

Simple answer is rust. You don't want your 1500 grit underside to rust while you finish the other side. 

Thanks, Joel.  You're right, this does happen, but I guess that's not something I ever worried about with how I finish my damascus.

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