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back-up pads, sanding disc pads, interface pads, grinding disc backup pads

Back-up Pads

Pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) and Hook and loop back-up pads for sanding and grinding discs,...

sanding discs, sandpaper discs, sanding disk


Sanding discs are used with random-orbit sanders and are available in a wide variety of diameters,...

Fein sanding abrasives, fein multimaster, fein sanders,

Fein Abrasives

Fein abrasives and sanding products specifically designed for use with Fein power sanding tools,...

festool rubin, festool brilliant, festool sapphire, festool stickfix abrasives,

Festool Abrasives

Festool Rubin, Brilliant, and Saphir StickFix sandpaper and other abrasives for Festool Deltex,...

grinding discs, 3M grinding discs

Grinding Discs

3M grinding discs, available in 5" and 7" diameters. Choose from roloc grinding discs, open coat,...

sanding longboards, hand sanding blocks

Longboards and Blocks

Sanding longboards and hand sanding blocks. Longboards are stiff yet flexible, long and narrow...

3M sandpaper  in sanding roll form for use with longboards

Rolls and Longboard Abrasives

Rolls of sandpaper for use with sanding longboards. These sanding rolls are available in various...

sanding accessories, bronze wool, steel wool, Scotch-brite pads, sanding sponges

Sanding Accessories

Sanding accessories such as the Norton Rapid Strip brush that connects to compact hand drills and...

sanding belts, replacement belts for power belt sanders from 3M

Sanding Belts

Sanding belts from 3M in 50 - 120 grit sandpaper. Sanding belts are used for grinding and finishing...

Tool sharpening, tool sharpening stones and wheels


Keep hand tools sharp with tool sharpening stones, baths, wheels, and other sharpening kits. Choose...

sandpaper sheets, full sandpaper sheets, half sheets, sanding sheets


Sandpaper sheets available in full 9" x 11" sheets, 5.5" x 9" half sheets, and other sizes from 3M...


Believe it or not, choosing the right sandpaper can become confusing. In fact, it has gotten so confusing that "Sandpaper" is now referred to as "Abrasive Technology." It can be confusing because there are so many different offerings. Some of the differences include the backings, adhesives, and minerals used in layout of the paper. Another difference is the anti-loading features: open vs. closed coated and even super size coat.

The most important thing to do before choosing an abrasive to use is to properly diagnose the job requirements and understand which paper will do the job correctly. The construction of your abrasive (disc, belt, sheet or whatever) is pretty simple.

  • Backing: A flexible or semi-rigid backing (paper, cloth, film) to which the minerals are attached with adhesive. There is a designation for flexibility and durability ranging from A-weight (most flexible) to F-weight (least flexible).
  • Adhesive: Abrasives usually have two adhesive layers.
    a. Make Coat--Initial layer of adhesive to anchor the mineral to the backing.
    b. Size Coat--Secondary layer of adhesive to lock the mineral in place.
  • Abrasive Minerals: There are five basic types of minerals:
    a. Aluminum Oxide--brown or blue. Is the industry standard for metal, wood, composites, and plastics.
    b. Silicon Carbide--black. Is used for sanding primers, sealers and paints, non-ferrous metals, and final finishing.
    c. Ceramic Aluminum Oxide--A synthetic mineral that is very durable with extremely uniform crystalline structure.
    d. Alumina Zirconia--Primarily for heavy stock removal of metal and wood.

    Diagnosing Sandpaper Problems
    The biggest complaint about sandpaper is that its wearing out too quickly. But, this could mean a number of things and its important to diagnose what is really wearing out. Often times (as funny as it sounds) it helps to pull your sandpaper out of the trash and really take a hard look at it.
    1. Is the abrasive mineral dulling too quickly? You need a more aggressive mineral.
    2. Is the backing falling apart? You need a more durable backing.
    3. Are the minerals falling off of the backing? Your adhesive is failing.
    4. Is the abrasive so clogged with junk that it no longer cuts? You need to look for an Open Coat paper or maybe even one with an anti-loading agent (3M Fre-Cut).

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