Sandpaper

Sandpaper - or to use the industry term, coated abrasives - are cutting tools, but with the great advantage that they don't have to be sharpened and they will work on any shape and grain direction. They are included at this stage In the book to reflect their importance as essential tools in the turning process.

Coated abrasives consist of three basic materials: abrasive grain, backing and the bond. We use them in three different ways: firstly to refine the shape of the surface, smoothing out any irregularities; secondly to remove any tool marks and rough grain areas; and thirdly, to create a fine, uniform smooth surface, so that when a finish is applied it adheres and penetrates evenly The importance of this last one was brought home to me when a wcodturning friend, Kevin Lightfoot, supplied 300 turned stair spindles to a local joinery firm. The design called for a long straight section in the middle. Kevin gqt a great finish on this section with the skew chisel and so did not sand it as he had done for the rest of the spindle. All 300 spindles were returned from the joiners for sanding on the centre section; the surface was so smooth that the finish would not adhere to it.

Of course, there are times that the marks left by the tools become part of the piece, so then sanding is not required. There are also dangers in the excessive use of abrasives as they can soften sharp detail, particularly on spindles

Below Various coated abrasives.

Below Various coated abrasives.

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