Sandpaper Alternatives

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1200-grit

When it comes to selecting abrasives for your sander, there are lots of options. In addition to conventional sandpaper, there are some newer products that you may want to consider. You can find out where to get them in Sources on page 51.

MICROPLANE. One of the most revolutionary sanding discs comes from Microplane (known for their line of razor-sharp rasps). Those same stainless steel cutting edges are now offered on hook-and-loop sanding discs. Available in coarse, medium, and fine (roughly equating to 40, 80, and 120-grit sandpaper) they work great, especially on rough-sawn wood.

ABRANET DISCS AND PADS. Although they look like drywall sanding screens, Abranet discs are great for woodworking. The woven material offers the added benefit of allowing your sander's dust collection port to work more effectively. To get the most out of them, however, you'll want to remove the pad on your sander and add the Abranet cushioned replacement pad.

NON-WOVEN PADS. Non-woven pads were not designed for sanding raw wood, but they excel at fine finishing work. For instance, the 1200-grit gold pad works exceptionally well when used between coats of sprayed or brushed finishes.

1200-grit

Microplane Discs

Non-woven Pads

Abranet replacement

Microplane Discs

These alternatives to conventional sandpaper may be the right choice for your next project.

Non-woven Pads

These alternatives to conventional sandpaper may be the right choice for your next project.

Abranet Discs

Abranet replacement

Abranet Discs

FINISH SANDERS

Although you can prepare a surface for a finish using only a random-orbit sander, many woodworkers prefer to use a finish sander (photo , below) for the final (highest) grit abrasive. These third- or quarter-sheet sanders have been around for a long time. Though they're no longer as common as random-orbit sanders, they still have their uses.

With a finish sander, you need to sand with the grain, just like you would by hand. That's because the motors in these sanders produce a straight line, back-and-forth motion designed to imitate hand sanding. Moving this sander across the grain will result in scratches.

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