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Last edited 26 Apr 2021
Sanding is the act of using abrasive papers either to smooth or remove layers from certain types of surfaces (such as furniture, walls, ceilings, doors, floors and so on) or to roughen surfaces so other materials are able to adhere to them more effectively.
For large or commercial projects, sanding is often undertaken using electrical tools. There are also a number of manually-operated handheld sanders (suitable for small woodworking projects) such as sanding blocks, much larger machines for sanding large areas such as floors and even devices that can be attached to electric drills so they can be adapted for sanding purposes.
Sandpaper is typically available in different shapes for different applications, including:
- Fitted shapes such as disks, triangles, rectangles and so on for specific tools.
- Rolls (also referred to as shag rolls).
- Sponges (for tight places).
Steel wool can also be used for some types of sanding.
 Types of abrasive papers
The most common types of abrasive papers are made from five different kinds of materials known as grit. Four of these types of grit are stuck to the sanding sheets with glue. If the grit is spaced across the sheet, it is referred to as open coat; closed coat is the term used to describe paper that has been completely covered by grit. Closed coat tends to clog (or choke) more quickly than open coat.
The five materials include:
- Glass (closed). Glasspaper produces a very smooth surface and tends to wear out quickly.
- Garnet (open). Garnet paper is red in colour and harder than glass; however, it still tends to wear quickly.
- Aluminium oxide (open). This artificial abrasive paper is hard wearing and long lasting. It is typically used for machines rather than manual sanding purposes.
- Silicon carbide (open). Another artificial abrasive, silicon carbide applied to waterproof paper can make it suitable for wet or dry applications. When moistened with water, white spirit or other liquids, these abrasive papers are used to rub down resin varnishes or cellulose paints.
- Tungsten carbide (open). Grains of tungsten carbide are nearly as hard as diamonds and produce extremely durable abrasive papers that can be cleaned.
Sandpaper is available in different grades: coarse, medium and fine.
ISO 6344 is a three part standard that covers coated abrasives. It includes:
- ISO 6344-1:1998 Coated Abrasives - Grain Size Analysis - Part one: Grain size distribution test.
- ISO 6344-2:1998 Coated Abrasives - Grain Size Analysis - Part Two: Determination of grain size distribtution of macrogrits P12 to P220.
- ISO 6344-3:2013 Coated Abrasives - Grain Size Analysis - Part Three: Determination of grain size distribution of microgrits P240 to P2500.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Ash or Oak wood flooring.
- Bamboo flooring.
- Construction dust.
- How to keep dust under control during a home renovation.
- BSI, ISO 6344-1:1998 Coated Abrasives - Grain Size Analysis - Part one: Grain size distribution test.
- BSI, ISO 6344-2:1998 Coated Abrasives - Grain Size Analysis - Part Two: Determination of grain size distribtution of macrogrits P12 to P220.
- BSI, ISO 6344-3:2013 Coated Abrasives - Grain Size Analysis - Part Three: Determination of grain size distribution of microgrits P240 to P2500.
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