Updated: Oct 28, 2022
A 'how to sand wood' cheat sheet for DIY beginners
Every keen DIYer knows that sanding is a necessary evil, or perhaps you are one of those people who actually find the process of sanding cathartic and satisfying and are now raising your eyebrows and tutting at the screen! Either way, if you are a beginner looking for info, the subject of sanding can be a bit overwhelming. I recently wrote a Guide to sanding wood for Real Homes, which has lots of process-related info - read it here.
If you know what you are doing and are here to look for a particular term, or perhaps fancied swotting up on sanding-related terms and phrases, here’s part 2 of my DIY dictionary - all about sanding. (Just in case you missed it Part 1 was all about painting, read it here)
One of the possible materials used to create the abrasive grits on sandpaper’s surface, alternatives include sand, garnet, and silicon oxide.
The area at the base of an orbital or random orbital sander that is shaped to aid grip and control of the sander
A type of sander with replaceable belts of sandpaper
'Break the edge'
The process of rounding a sharp corner
Refers to the size of the abrasive particles on the sandpaper. Coarse sandpaper has large particles with high abrasion.
Type of sandpaper with a high surface coverage of abrasive particles with little space in between.
The handle part of an orbital sander shaped like a ‘D’
Circular replacement sandpaper sheets of variable abrasion
Recommended when sanding to prevent inhalation of dust and Microparticles
Dust extraction system
The system by which a sander catches and collects the dust particles created in the sanding process.
Where the dust collected from the sander is collected/stored.
Refers to the size of the abrasive particles on the sandpaper. Fine sandpaper has very small particles with low abrasion, for finishing sanding.
The pattern and texture in the wood resulting from the way wood fibres are arranged.
The abrasive particles that make up the sandpaper. The lower the grit the larger the particles and the more abrasive it is.
Hook and loop
The velcro-like system used by some sanders to attach the sandpaper discs to the pad at the base of the sander
Refers to the size of the abrasive particles on the sandpaper. Medium grit sandpaper has particles in between coarse and fine and is a good general-purpose sandpaper.
Small electric sander with a pointed end that resembles a computer mouse
Type of sander with a rotating sanding pad, to which you attach sandpaper discs.
Type of sandpaper with gaps between the grit for dust and debris to collect.
Removing too much of the wood’s surface, resulting in uneven or discoloured areas.
The area at the base of the sander to which the sandpaper attaches
Similar to 'grit's the 'P' refers to the rating on the FEPA scale. The lower the P rating the higher the abrasion.
The top area of some models of sander, designed to rest your hand on to control the motion of the sander.
Random orbital sander
A rotating sander, similar to an orbital sander but also moves backward and forwards which reduces the risk of the swirl pattern forming.
A block that provides support to a sheet of sandpaper (wrapped around it), or a purpose-made block with sandpaper coating.
These are basically sanding blocks that are made from a soft spongy material and have a variable, abrasive outer coating. The benefit of a sanding sponge is that it can be moulded to sand curved shapes and are easier on your hands too.
Round marks that are left in the surface of the wood when using a random orbital sander. Usually due to flaws in the technique, a dirty clogged sander or poor-quality sandpaper discs
The process of sanding with the introduction of water
I hope this was helpful.
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