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what kind of sandpaper do you use?


nathan doss

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I'm still pretty new to this, so I was wondering what brands of sandpaper everybody uses. I'm really just looking for a brand I can use myself that lasts longer than the brand I have.

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What are you using and why are you not satisfied with it?

 

I assume that you're talking about sheet abrasives and not belts.  For everything from 80-2000 grit I use silicon carbide wet/dry paper like this.  Their prices are pretty good and they have been easy to deal with.  The best deal they have are for cheap 2 x 72 belts.   They are not the best quality (I go with one of the ceramic belts for heavy hogging) but they are good enough for utility belts and are great for wood and other soft materials.

 

Unfortunately, belts and sheet abrasives only work for a while.  You just have to hitch your britches and pitch it when it stops cutting.  I think most of the waste that comes out of my shop is sawdust, grinding dust, and used sandpaper.

 

Geoff  

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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the problem with the sand paper that i use is that it wears out really fast

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I've been satisfied with the sheets from Combat Abrasives: https://www.combatabrasives.com/collections/9-x-11-sheets/products/9-x-11-sheets-50-pack-silicon-carbide-wet-dry

 

I get Gator Grit at Rural King sometimes and it's petty good. But be sure you check the back and make sure its made in S. Korea not China. You can definitely tell a difference.

 

GG320.jpg

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What grit do you generally start with.  If you're starting too fine you do tend to use more to get down to a nice surface.  For that matter, what do you do to get to hand sanding.  For instance, I grind to 220 with AO belts, switch to gator ceramics and go from 100x (about 180 grit) to 45x (400 grit) and then start hand sanding at 150 SC.  Depending on the steel it takes a couple of sheets of 150 SC to get to a uniform surface.   The rest of the grits go quickly, often less than a single sheet per grit.

 

Geoff 

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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I don't use anything coarser than about 220 on metals, coarser than this I grind with a water stone, or a disc grinder. If you're going through a lot of coarse sandpaper, I'd say you're using the wrong strategy. Even when I use 220, it's for surface treatment, not for shaping. If you have to shape a metal such as a steel knife, you should be using a file. Otherwise, you're wasting time and sandpaper. So if I have to do rough shaping; a grinder, fine shaping; a file, and sandpaper or stones; for surface treatment/polish. If I'm using sandpaper and it's taking forever or I'm wasting a lot of paper, I'll move to a file. If I'm using a file and it's taking forever to remove stock, I'll switch to a grinder, and vice versa if I'm taking too much metal off. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to using a file, and sometimes you have to normalize the piece before filing, but when you get used to it, it works great. Also, it's hard to know what's the best tool at first, grinder, file, or sandpaper, and each have their own skill, but you save time using all three once you get used to them. I feel like that's machining 101. 

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I'll have to check out that cheap Silicon carbide stuff Geoff recommended, that's a good price for that particular material.  And I can vouch for that Gator grit stuff on wood!

 

That said, what everyone said about where and how you start hand sanding is more important than the actual paper.  If you grind on a stone wheel bench grinder, you'll see faster progress from draw filing prior to sanding.  If you use an angle grinder, a little less drawfiling is required.  If you have an excellent 2x72 belt grinder or a disk grinder, you can take most blades to a very good finish on the machine alone, but most people starting out can't justify the initial expense of that kind of machine.

 

Once you get the steel to the highest level of finish you can with the machines, files, or stones available to you, that's when you switch to paper.  Before I got a belt grinder, that was by using a 36 grit hard wheel on an angle grinder followed by a 120 grit flap wheel on the angle grinder followed by standard push filing with the biggest file I could find (usually a 14" long angle lathe file) followed by drawfiling with progressively smaller files, as the smaller the file the finer the teeth in general.  You can get all kinds of files, but that's a different thread we've done before...  anyway, by the time you have a nice drawfiled surface with a 6" mill bastard, you can start hand sanding.  It's even better if you drawfile with a 6" mill smooth.  

 

Silicon Carbide (SiC) wet-or-dry is great.  But it's expensive, and the coarse grits don't last long.  One of the current favorites for lower grits is Rhynowet Redline Aluminum Oxide paper. It has a tough rubberized paper back that doesn't slip much, and if used wet it lasts about twice as long as the expensive 3m SiC black paper from the auto parts store.  Once you get above 600 grit, the SiC papers shine.  If you can find it, Norton Black Ice SiC is awesome.  Leaves a noticeably better finish than cheaper papers, if you do your part.  But the biggest part of getting a good finish with paper (or stones, or belts, or anything, really...) is technique.  But like everything else, you do sort of get what you pay for.  Cheap paper is cheap for a reason, usually poor adhesives, poorly screened abrasives, or both.

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In my experience on knife steel, 3M makes the fastest cutting/longest lasting/leaving less deeper scratches for 400 grit and up, but it's also the most expensive. Below 400 grit, Rhynowet redline is fastest, but sometimes leave deep scratches. I've also used a lot of Norton Black Ice. Good stuff, cheaper than 3M but not as good. 

 

results my vary between makers :lol:

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22 hours ago, nathan doss said:

the problem with the sand paper that i use is that it wears out really fast

One of the great advices I got from Owen Bush, is to use sandpaper like it's free. Every few strokes, move to a fresh bit. When it starts to loose it's bite, there's no use in keeping sanding. If you do it like that, you save 90%  of your time, and you use hardly any more sandpaper in the end. That said, I use Rhynowet redine, as recommended here. It's great stuff, and allows me to polish fast.  

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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Indeed- the amount of effort used to prolong the life of even the best papers is offset by the time fresh paper saves you.

 

For low grits (80-220), the Klingspore J flex shop roll is great.  220+ Im currently playing with Gold Pro and 3m blue self adhesive with good luck.

 

I still add a cutting fluid, but by the time it dries I move to a fresh bit of paper.

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Oh b.t.w. a great tip, for final buffing I now use sanding pads, like 3M micro fine/ultra fine. I've not used the buffing wheel since, happily skipping that dangerous part of the process.

 

Edit: I have to check which sanding pads I really have. I just looked up 3M micro fine, and it doesn't look like the ones I use.

Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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