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  • Sandpaper Recommendations

    Hi Everyone,

    I've been burning through sandpaper lately, not very good stuff, and wondering what brands you like.

    I did a search back and it seems Norton and Klingspor are the favorites? 3M had fallen a bit out of favor.

    I mostly use 5" and 6" disks, but have enough of the other sanding toys too.

    My mind wanders while long boarding wishing I had upper body strength [img]smile.gif[/img]


    [ 03-26-2004, 10:33 PM: Message edited by: Bob Perkins ]
    Bob Perkins

    My Completed projects

  • #2
    I avoid Klingspor like the plague. I like Norton a lot, but they have distribution issues around here. I use some generic Chinese paper I get from a company called "the sanding company". It's quite acceptable in a general kinda way for general kinda work.


    • #3
      What is it with Nortons lately?, they used to be such a reliable Standard for quality and supply.

      I can't find Nortons any more, Prager seems to have replaced Nortons almost everywhere, around here. Prager has an inferior range of papers with no staying power. Avoid Prager, the paper is too thin and the grit falls off. Prager paper has a third of the life of the Nortons, in both the wet and dry and their 'no-fill champaign' equivalent.

      Nortons, ... bring back your papers.


      [ 03-28-2004, 03:43 AM: Message edited by: Wild Wassa ]


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bob Perkins:
        I've been burning through sandpaper lately, not very good stuff, and wondering what brands you like.

        I did a search back and it seems Norton and Klingspor are the favorites? 3M had fallen a bit out of favor.
        I like Klingspor and 3M. Norton seems to be not as good as it used to be.

        I also like Ekamant. It's a Scandahoovian brand. Swedish. Good stuff. Cheap[er].

        Hardwick's here in Seattle carries it. Check with Ekamant for a Dealer Near You.

        What are you sanding?

        What kind of coated abrasive materials are you using? Open-coat or closed-coat? What size grits? Different abrasive materials have different qualities WRT performance and cutting ability.

        And what is your sanding sequence? A poorly chosen sanding sequence can seriously impact how long it takes to get to where you want to be. A well-chosen sequence may mean longer material life and less time to achieve a particular finish. A poorly chosen sequence may mean shortened working life for the sandpaper and long sanding times to get the desired finish. A well-chosen sequence may mean that only 10-15 strokes are needed per grit to achieve the desired finish.

        For instance, I'm sharpening tools with PSA coated abrasives mounted on glass plates (aka Scary Sharp&trade with a sanding sequence consisting of (FEPA grits, the European standard for abrasives)

        P100 (zirconia alumina)
        P150 (zirconia alumina)
        P220 (zirconia alumina)
        P320 (aluminum oxide)
        P400 (aluminum oxide)
        P600 (aluminum oxide)
        P1000 (silicon carbide)
        P1500 (silicon carbide)
        P2000 (silicon carbide)

        This particular sequence runs from 162µ to 9.6µ with a decrease of about 30% in grit diameter ate each step. It takes a plane or chisel blade, or a piece of fairly coarsely finished steel from matte and showing mill marks to a mirror finish with about 6-10 strokes per grit (and with sharpening, smooth ≈ sharp.) The net result is that you can go from a dull, damaged edge to scalpel sharpness in 5–10 minutes.

        If I feel compulsive, I'll buff with chromium dioxide (about 3µn; or so), but going that far generally seems like overkill.

        Note that CAMI grits (the North American standard) are different than FEPA grits. FEPA grits are based on mean micron diameter; CAMI grits are based on a mesh size. The numbers aren't equivalent (FEPA P500 grit has a mean diameter of 30.2±1.5µ; CAMI 500 grit runs about 19.7µ. Because of the differing way the standards are defined, FEPA grits are much more uniform in size than CAMI grits.

        [re-reading this: I am a nerd. Only a nerd could discourse on sandpaper ]
        You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)


        • #5
          I use Klingspor exclusively. Their catalog offers sanding products for about any sanding project you can imagine. In a recent comparison test WOOD MAGAZINE gave Klingspor top choice. I think cost was a big factor here.


          • #6
            At home I use Klingspor 'cause it's what they have where I buy that kind of stuff. Most of my stash is living in the cockpit and rained on periodically. It just doesn't seem to mind.

            At work we use Carborundum Dry-Lub (sic-that's how they spell it) either sheet or sticky back discs. It's great at the finer grits (400 or 600 for 'tween coats) and okay at the coarser grits (okay as in loses some bite pretty quick but stays servicable for quite a while).

            I think it's safe to say 3M has fallen out of favor, but the sales guys keep bringing us samples, so maybe they'll get it yet. For now their paper falls apart in your hands, or worse, leaves it's colored bonding agent behind, smearing the wood.


            • #7
              We use Norton Blue (the best in the heavy grits, 40-80) and 3M Gold (220-500), still the most cost effective. But we're doing autobody- and I use it for the boats because there's a lot of it "handy"!

              Mirka can be very good, but the supply is very iffy.

              Stay away from the white aluminum sterate coated stuff from any manufacturer- it will interfere with a wide variety of paints, causing fish-eye and adhesion problems.


              • #8
                (aka Scary Sharp™)
                How that outfit gets away with trademarking a sharpening technique that's been around since the dawn of abrasive paper is beyond me.

                Anyway....I use 3M 431Q aluminum oxide wet-or-dry paper for everything metal and wood and think it's the cat's meow because of how it holds up and that stray grit that gouges the workpiece is pretty much nonexistent.



                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bob Smalser:
                  (aka Scary Sharp™)
                  How that outfit gets away with trademarking a sharpening technique that's been around since the dawn of abrasive paper is beyond me.[/QUOTE]It's not trademarked. Nobody has ever claimed a trademark on the scheme (how do you tradmark a process?).

                  It's 'net humor.

                  The term is a coinage of a guy named Steve LaMantia, then at the University of Washington. On November 1, 1995, he posted his now classic (and persuasive) piece of USENET epistolary, Sandpaper Sharpening to rec.woodworking, wherein he cointed the term Scary-Sharp™.

                  If you've never read his post, it's worth the read. Here's an excerpt with significant snippage (and its still long ). The coinage is down at the bottom. It occurred to him that metal sandpaper is functionally the same as a sharpending stone and he made an experiment.

                  From: [email protected] (Stephen LaMantia)
                  Subject: Sandpaper Sharpening
                  Date: 1995/11/01
                  Message-ID: <[email protected]>
                  organization: University of Washington
                  nntp-posting-user: lamantia
                  newsgroups: rec.woodworking

                  [No, you can't sharpen sandpaper. And please don't
                  ask me how I know that.]

                  [Required warnings:]

                  [If you don't like sharpening tales, or sandpaper, or
                  handplanes, or any deviation from simple declarative
                  sentences, please don't read this post. Also, it's a
                  process gloat, and it's windbaggy, so be forewarned.]

                  [And if you prefer one-clause synopses, here: "I sharpened
                  a plane blade with sandpaper." Now move along now.]

                  For anyone else:

                  I recently emailed a few folks about some attempts I made at
                  sharpening a plane iron with sandpaper. Some suggested I post my
                  story to the group. So here it is.

                  (Rich and David, I've pretty much rehashed my email to you guys
                  here, so you can move on out now, too.)

                  Let's see. Who's left? Oh.

                  Dear Mom,

                  I've recently been experimenting with using sandpaper for honing.
                  I had been getting tired out with the oilstones getting unflat and
                  glazed and needing to be lapped all the time, tired of oil all over
                  the place and on my hands so I couldn't even scratch, tired of
                  having to clean the stones after each use, tired of having to keep
                  a conscious effort going to distribute wear on the stones evenly.
                  So tired of all of this.


                  About ten minutes after starting, I had gone from 50 grit on up to
                  2000, and there was a mirror finish on the back of that iron the
                  likes of which must be seen. The back of the iron became so shiny
                  I could count my nose hairs in it; 98 on the left, 79 on the right,
                  but 109 and 85 if you count the white ones.

                  I then jigged the blade in a Veritas honing jig -- which, by the
                  way, Mr. Lee, should be called a honing fixture, not a jig, since a
                  jig's for holding a tool and a fixture's for holding a workpiece
                  and in the sharpening operation the plane iron, while usually
                  thought of as a tool, or as a part of one, is actually in this
                  instance the workpiece -- man, near-terminal digression there,
                  almost lost it for good; Boy, snap out of it! -- I clamped the
                  blade down in the Veritas blade-holder device, taking care to have
                  the hollow-ground bevel resting on the glass perfectly along both
                  edges of the hollow grind. I then adjusted the microbevel cam on
                  the jig up to its full two-degree microbevel setting -- Robin, tell
                  your uncle that Steve said "way to go, old dude" -- and honed away
                  on the 2000-grit. Even though I had not ground a sharp edge on the
                  primary bevel with the bench grinder, even on that little slip of
                  fine 2000 grit it still took only about another couple of minutes
                  before I had a nice sharp little 1/64" microbevel gleaming back at

                  I flipped the blade over on the sandpaper several times, hone and
                  lap, hone and lap, each time gentler and gentler, to remove the
                  little bit of wire edge. (Which, by the way, as a result of using
                  such a fine grit must have been so tiny that it was very hard to
                  see or feel, so pretty much just from my awareness of the process I
                  assumed it was there.)

                  The resulting little thin secondary bevel was shiny. I mean
                  *clean* shiny, like nothing I'd ever seen before. Unlike the
                  secondary bevels I'd previously coaxed out of my hard white
                  Arkansas stone, this one was unbelievably Shiny with a capital S.
                  I mean *clean* shiny, like nothing I'd ever seen before. Oh, I
                  said that already. Okay, it's hard to describe; about the best I
                  can do is to say that it looked almost *liquid* when you catch the
                  light on it just right. I mean, it was so darn clean and shiny
                  that it takes ten lines just to say it was so shiny it's hard to

                  Of course, shine is not the ultimate goal. But sharpness *is*.
                  Still, they equate. The more shiny, the more uniform the surface
                  is microscopically, and the closer to the geometric ideal of a
                  *line* is the edge, and hence the sharper it is. Cool. I mean
                  *COOL*!!! I was trembling in my Mickey Mouse boots in anticipation.

                  [yet more elision]

                  But of course, the ultimate test of a plane iron's sharpness is
                  what it does on wood. So I put the blade back into the plane, that
                  old early-model Bedrock jack, which I've not yet tuned in any way.
                  I tried it on the edge of a piece of pine, and as I adjusted the
                  blade for the finest cut possible, it glided through the wood with
                  no effort. None whatsoever. In fact, it almost seemed like the
                  plane was pulling itself along, or that the wood was *wanting* to
                  be planed and was throwing itself into the blade -- no, I've not
                  read Krenov -- it took that little effort.

                  I ended up getting a shaving that was so darn thin I could read
                  newsprint through it easily. Unbelievably easily. So easily, in
                  fact, that I thought for a moment about taking the iron back on out
                  of the plane and putting the shaving over the shiny part of its
                  back and counting my nose hairs again, but by this time I had grown
                  weary of counting nose hairs, and of my concerned wife repeatedly
                  asking me why I was doing that.

                  I thought, no way, this can't be! So skeptic that I am -- I'm so
                  skeptical, that I can't be fully sure that I'm really that much of a
                  skeptic -- I put a micrometer to the shaving, and get this: it
                  measured .0004 thick! Four ten-thousandths of an inch! (Or, as my
                  eternally-pestered but forever-patient metalmentor David Opincarne
                  showed me, "four-tenths" in machinist talk.) No, I read the mike
                  right. Less than one half way to the very first line after zero.
                  Man! That's a cubic hair less than one-half of a thousandth of an
                  inch! Incredible! Amazing!

                  And it just gets better. For a while there, I actually thought I
                  had taken off another shaving that was even thinner, one so thin in
                  fact that it was invisible and of no measurable mass. I'm pretty
                  sure I did, actually, but I'm having a hard time trying to think of
                  a way to check this out, or even to find the spot on the ceiling
                  that it floated up to.

                  And what about the planed wood itself? Well, the surface the plane
                  iron left on the wood in indescribable! It's like glass! No, it's
                  like glass wet down with water and a tad of liquid soap added and
                  then some Slick-50 and then frozen and polished. And this is on
                  pine, a softwood! Not only that, but I then gave it the torture
                  test: end grain. I put the same piece of wood in my shooting
                  board, and had a go at the endgrain. Man oh man, I've never seen
                  such a smooth surface on *endgrain* in my life. And again, this is
                  on *pine*! The endgrain was almost as smooth as the edgegrain!
                  This has gotten good!

                  [and even more elision]

                  One more good thing is that in the process of taking this plane
                  iron from misshapen funkiness to terrifying sharpness I used up all
                  of about 25 cents worth of sandpaper, and probably about 3 cents
                  worth of spray glue, and about fifteen or so minutes of my time,
                  twenty if you stop for a nosehair count … No
                  oil, no water, no mess, no glaze or flatness problems to worry
                  about, and a cutting edge that is Scary-Sharp (tm).

                  I think I'll still keep my stones, though; they can sit atop the
                  packets of sandpaper to help keep them flat.

                  -- Steve LaMantia [I'm talking about my oilstones.]
                  Seattle, WA
                  [ 03-27-2004, 03:24 PM: Message edited by: Nicholas Carey ]
                  You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by reinbilt:
                    I use Klingspor exclusively. Their catalog offers sanding products for about any sanding project you can imagine. In a recent comparison test WOOD MAGAZINE gave Klingspor top choice. I think cost was a big factor here.
                    Not to mention quality and customer service.

                    I ordered 10 10m rolls of PSA sandpaper from them, a couple of which weren't listed in their retail catalog. So I called Klingspor to find a local retailer.


                    I explained my problem to the receptionist who answered my call, that I needed a few rolls of sandpaper and I'd like to find a local retailer to purchase them from.

                    She told me that said they mostly work through a sales rep out here on the left coast, and promptly transferred me to him (even though she new how little stuff I was buying).

                    As it worked it, it was his cell phone. He was driving down the freeway, so he pulled over and took down the pertinent information. He told me that a couple of the rolls I wanted weren't normally stocked, but no problem. He'd just have the plant slit them special for me. That was on, I think, a Tuesday afternoon here. The sandpaper, all of it, arrived on Friday.

                    And yesterday, a bright yellow Klingspor coffee mug showed up in the mail thanking me for my business.

                    I'll be purchasing from them again
                    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the good info -

                      I'm mostly using up some old white disks I got in bulk. I change them every 10 minutes.

                      Sanding Okume for now - I'll be doing Mahogany soon enough.

                      I have the 3M long board and I'm using their paper too. That seems to hold up well.

                      I'll have to try the Norton and Klingspor. I haven't tried the 3M disks either..

                      All good info - thanks [img]smile.gif[/img]

                      Bob Perkins

                      My out of date site is at:

                      My Current project is at:
                      Bob Perkins

                      My Completed projects


                      • #12
                        Great luck with Klingspor for me! Some good Norton products, too. But Klingspor is my first choice.


                        • #13
                          After many years using less than satisfactory paper on my teak sailboat I have settled on what I have found to be the best. In the Caribean it's nicknamed "Big Red". Made by Carborundum and available through distributors supplying autobody and cabit maker shops.


                          • #14
                            I love (and miss!) Norton too. What's up with them?

                            GARNET papers with C weight backs serve me best for sheet paper. Klingspor stuff has served me well for machine papers.

                            I don't like Aluminum Oxide much.

                            I loathe 3M.


                            • #15
                              I use 3m gold and some Norton. Anyone used that Norton #X or whatever their
                              premium paper is? I have no complaints with the 3m gold.
                              Wooden boats are like shingles, recurring, and often painful.