What grit sandpaper for wood?

For woodworking, an integral part of the job is the preparation of the finished product or part of it. In cleaning up rough edges, dangling material, or uneven surfaces, grit sandpaper will certainly help. However, when you go to a construction store, you’ll find that there are many different kinds of sandpaper, the purpose and function of which can vary greatly.

What grit sandpaper for wood

So what kind of sandpaper should be used for what tasks and how not to make a wrong choice? In this blog I will bring up this topic

How to start looking for the right sandpaper?

First of all, you need to know what you’re going to do, because there are many types of work with wood, and therefore there are so many types of sandpaper.

For example, to remove paint you need one sandpaper, and to prepare the product for painting you need a completely different sandpaper.

What grit sandpaper for wood

Thus forms such a difference in the choice of sandpaper, because for different products you need different tools. This, at first glance, complicates everything, but in fact the opposite, much simplifies the work, because knowing all the difference between sandpaper, you will be able to perform any work. And knowledge is the best tool.

Let me remind you that sandpaper is divided not only by grit, but also by the type of abrasive material, and can be used both manually and with different tools. This not only can this make the job easier, but it also reveals certain functions of sandpaper tools.

What grit sandpaper for wood

Choosing sandpaper for your wood surface by material

Sandpaper differs in the material from which it is made and may differ in price as well as in purpose. Often, this problem is solved by the fact that all information about the application is written by the creator on the package. But, you will agree, it is much better to know what is used and for what purpose, to avoid confusion before buying a woodworking tool.


Flint is one of the most common types of sandpaper. Easy to use, quick to wash, and quite affordable for every worker. It is best for wiping off old paint.


Garnet. Common and known to everyone due to the fact that it is best suited for wood work, no matter how dense or loose the wood, garnet sandpaper is perfect for any wood related tasks.

Zirconia alumina

When it comes to synthetic sanders, zirconia alumina is known for its resistant qualities and in addition to rough wood it can even be used for metal. Grain particles become sharper and sharper in the process of working with such sandpaper, which can change the actual grit of the tool, so be careful when working with it

Silicon carbide

This material is not the cheapest, but it is the most durable. In addition, silicon carbide is also the most versatile, because in addition to any kind of wood it can work with plastic and metal as well. It is the material of choice for most people.

Emery or aluminum oxide sandpapers are not the best candidates for working with wood, because most often they are used to work with metal. Aluminum oxide papers have a sand metal structure and therefore leave streaks on the wood. Emery is too coarse for woodworking.


How to pick sanding paper grit properly?

These numbers on sandpaper definitely mean a lot, but what exactly does it mean? Obviously important things, namely grit number shows the concentration and fraction of the abrasive material. Right sandpaper grit is almost a half of work.

In general, paper is divided into three basic types: Coarse grit sandpaper Medium grit sandpaper and Fine grit. Obviously, you need to use the right sandpaper grit to achieve the desired results and a smooth wood surface. Different grit of sandpaper are used for completely different purposes, which will be described in more detail below.

Coarse sandpaper: Coarse grits are good place to start for the whole sanding project. It is marked with numbers from 40 to 60. It is used to remove all debris, irregularities and deep scratches by rough sanding. It removes a large amount of material due to large abrasive particles. Start sanding with it.

Usually, coarse sandpaper grits are used in preparation for painting or gluing, so the material will be much easier to grip, increasing the contact area. Coarse sandpaper removes all large defects from the sample, leaving the bare wood. Any imperfections left? Use coarser sandpaper!

Medium grit sandpaper is used right after coarse sandpaper grit. The paper grain varies from 70 to 100. The grit is much smaller than in coarse sandpaper, and therefore the sanding is slower, and the result is smoother.

Fine grit sandpaper is a paper with the biggest number of sandpaper grit and it is used right after medium grit sandpaper. The type of sandpaper grit that is already virtually indistinguishable and is used for final sanding. If you want a smooth finish, use finer grits. Fine grits varies from 110 to 210 sanding paper grit. Higher grits- smoother the result.

If you don’t have finer grits, you have extra fine sandpaper, the strength of which is already impossible to understand by touching with your hands. It has 220 grit. 220 grit sandpaper polishes up any flaws in your work and gets the job done.

The 220 grit number is used for final finishing, and not only for wooden products, but also for metal. Microfiber cloth could be used to get the best result.


What is 80 grit sandpaper used for?

80 grit index refers to coarse sandpaper grit. It is best used for initial work such as removing burrs, dangling debris, or removing paint. This paper is coarse enough to cope with inaccuracies of the product, but it is worth remembering that it leaves scratches, which in the future will have to be removed with sandpaper with a larger index.

Surface preparation is an important stage of working with wood, so take it seriously, but do not overdo it, because the sandpaper can significantly change the shape of the workpiece

You have raw wood with irregularities or traces of past work and need to prepare the lumber for further use? This sanding paper is for you!

What is 120 grit sandpaper used for?

Sandpaper with an index of 120 already has medium, finer abrasives, and therefore cope with the work immediately after the 80 sandpaper grit. However, it is not suitable for working with raw wood, because it will deteriorate quickly. Also, it will not cope with large defects in the form of paint residues or irregularities in shape.

Additional sanding after processing with hard abrasive, as well as hiding traces of hard machining is the purpose of 120 grit sandpaper

Fine particles are great to make the product look presentable, but to finish the job perfectly, use even finer grains after using 120.

What about tools?

In order to get a perfectly smooth surface, you often have to use not only sandpaper in your hands and rub, but also ask for help from some kind of woodworking tools, on which the sandpaper is attached.

This will help reduce physical fatigue and also speed up the work tenfold. New technology was created to make life easier, so why not take advantage of it, because time is a valuable resource. Nevertheless, it is worth paying attention to sandpaper grits and the material before using it, regardless of the tool itself

Manual sander (sanding block)

A primitive tool consisting of a board and paper mounts. You can clamp a piece of sandpaper between the two fasteners and the sandpaper gets a handle. That way there is less risk of getting a splinter or getting injured. In addition, it allows you to work on a larger wood surface area as well as more accurately.


After all, you can’t sand a whole table with a double or triple folded piece of sandpaper, so a sanding block will come in handy. Absolutely any grit sandpaper can be used, although palm sanders may be awkward for small items.

Vibrating sander

Based on the name, this machine uses vibration when working. Basically, it makes a reciprocating motion for you, all you have to do is point it in the right direction. It’s small enough to fit in one hand and easy to use. However, you should keep in mind that it requires a battery to use, because without it, it is just the previous tool I mentioned earlier.


Variable volume and shape of the paper used in the tool: you can find almost any one that suits you individually.

Sanding sponge

Sanding sponges also vary in size and shape (mostly square and rectangular), and their peculiarity is their softness.

The sponge is squeezed by the pressure exerted by the human hand, and therefore the work area of the sandpaper changes as well. Thus round surfaces can be flattened using the pressure of the sponge against the surface. Sponges can be flattened to one side, allowing them to be used in hard-to-reach areas.


It is worth pointing out that, despite at first glance practicality, sanding sponge should be used with care, because sometimes it can greatly affect the result, and the control of the sponge is not complete: somewhere there may be more pressure, and somewhere there may be a lack of pressure.

Sponges, like sandpaper, have different sandpaper grits, for different jobs at different stages of product processing. It is important to choose the right sandpaper grit, otherwise you can either ruin the product or waste a sponge.

Orbital sander

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This is a commonly used tool for sanding and getting a smooth surface. It has a circular working area and moves in a circular, orbital motion.

Depending on the brand of tool, you can prepare a round piece of sandpaper yourself, or you can use a ready-made wheel that is attached to the tool.

Nevertheless, this tool is widespread because it can be used for a variety of purposes. Both in metalworking, such as preparing the body of a car for painting, and in woodworking.

For example, preparation before painting, removing varnish or paint – the orbital machine copes with this task perfectly. It is even often used to create small soft recesses in a wooden product, because the angle of the sander is adjusted by the user.

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It is not uncommon for an orbital sander to leave visible sanding marks that are difficult to mask later. This is more likely due to inexperience on the part of the owner, but can also be caused due to tool malfunction. Nevertheless, the solution was invented long ago and for us, and therefore there is the Random Orbital Sander.

It is a tool externally similar to a conventional one, but in addition to the movement of the disc, the head itself moves, which creates a much higher speed of movement and with less pressure, the result is the same, but without sanding marks. Smooth surface is easier to get with random orbital sanders.

Belt sander

Belt sanders offer great possibilities for woodworking. They are a machine with two gears that move the sanding belt in a circle at high revolutions. The speed of the belt sander is adjustable.

This tool is not suitable for beginners and even dangerous, so the observance of safety rules is mandatory! The belt is changed strictly with the machine turned off. It is easy to ruin a sample or an entire product. Belt sander can greatly change the shape of the product in a matter of seconds if you keep pressing on the wooden product for a long time.


Since the belt sander is very fast, you need to use the right grit sandpaper, otherwise you can wipe the product to dust in seconds by using coarse grit sandpaper or clog the expensive belt with wooden splints

Belt power sander requires proper sanding in order to get the desired, smooth finish. Due to the fact that accuracy control is not easy with this tool, further fine machining with fine grit sandpaper is done using other tools or by hand.


As a result of the entire text, it provides complete information on the use of certain sanding papers. It is recommended to increase the grit size of the paper gradually. This will extend the life of the paper, as well as make your job much easier. With this text, the question “What sandpaper for wood” is solved.

I would appreciate honest feedback on the post!

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