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Sandpaper Basics

Power sanders are great for smoothing large surfaces, but for sanding tough areas, a sheet of sandpaper is best. Here's a guide on how to choose the best sandpaper for any project.

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aluminum oxide sandpaper used for sanding hardwood

All types of sandpaper come in a range of grades, or grits, from coarse to fine. But not all sandpaper is the same — some works better for specific jobs than others.

Drywall sandpaper is used to smooth joint compound between sheets of drywall. It's durable and can withstand rinsing and reusing.

Between-coats sandpaper is used for sanding between coats of paint to ensure a smooth surface.

Surface-removal sandpaper is used specifically for latex paint and has a fine grit.

Aluminum-oxide sandpaper is used for sanding hardwood. When using any kind of sandpaper on wood, sand in the direction of the wood's grain, never across the grain.

Garnet sandpaper is particularly good for smoothing sharp edges in wood. Silicone-carbine paper is generally used to remove varnish from wood. Emery cloth is good for removing rust on metal or dulling the sheen of a piece of metal.

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