The most common type of abrasive used in woodworking and metalworking projects is aluminum oxide sandpaper. It can be used on a wide variety of surfaces, including metal, plastic, wood and paint. Using the right grit can help you get a smooth finish.
Aluminum Oxide can be purchased in a variety of grit sizes. You can choose from coarse, medium or fine grits. Depending on the material you are working on, you might need a coarser grit for removing wood and other material, or a finer grit for finishing.
There are four different types of aluminum oxide abrasives. These include brown, white, semi-friable, and pink. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right abrasive for your needs is important.
Brown aluminum oxide is the most popular, and works well for sanding metal, wood, and other materials. It has a longer lifespan than white and pink, and its grains break down slower than those of the other two varieties.
White aluminum oxide is often used as a polishing agent. When combined with other grains, it becomes a hybrid abrasive that is suitable for hard-to-grind materials, such as steel and stainless steel. It also provides a cooler sanding experience.
Silicon carbide is another type of abrasive. Although it is not as sharp as aluminum oxide, it is a more cost-effective alternative. This makes it popular for sanding and polishing metals, as well as refinishing wood floors and removing rust.
For sanding larger surfaces, zirconia is a better choice. It is more solid and costs more, but it has greater durability.