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How do you manage your sandpaper use?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Randy Anderson, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    I mainly use Abranet 2" and 3" discs with a foam pad on my mandrel. Standard grit sequence - 80, 120, 180, 240, 320, 400 and sometimes 600. I've tried and still have a good supply of ProNet but recently decided to pick one (Abranet) and just stick with it.

    Question - how do you manage your use of the "stack" as you go along? Some gets more wear and abuse, some may wear faster, etc. If I start simply swapping individual pads out as I think they're not working as well then I end up with a very mixed bag of grit wear and perhaps issues like the 240 is actually cutting more than the worn 180, etc. I think some just swap out the entire batch after a certain number of bowls or uses, some not. I hate to throw out 3 good pieces because 2 or 3 are worn too much. It's hard to tell by touch if 80 or 120 are worn, they will always feel rough. That said, you can spend WAY too long working with a worn out 240 grit, decide to change and the difference is dramatic so not worth the time of using worn out discs.
     
  2. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I use a grit once then I might clean it with a crepe rubber cleaning pad. I seldom use a disc more than once or twice. It it's a bowl 10" or bigger I probably dont use a disc more than that one time. It's not worth fighting the errant scratches that a used disc leaves behind.
     
  3. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    I’ve been through an evolution with sanding, having started with handheld squares of sandpaper, then moving to 2” or 3” discs on a mandrel in the power sander/drill. I’ve recently moved back to small squares of paper. I tear each 9x11 sheet into 15 small pieces and use them with finger pressure. Maybe my gouge and scraper work is getting better, but I feel like I can do a better job with more control just using finger pressure with the paper. I try to keep in mind the phrase I’ve heard, not sure who I heard use it first, maybe Lyle Jamieson?, to use sandpaper like someone else is paying for it. I try to use a piece once and throw it out.
     
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  4. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    When the power disc abrasive is working there will dust stream coming off.
    No dust stream discard that disc.
     
  5. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    I use hand held sandpaper a lot - especially on exteriors (and spindles, or course). I usually use power sanding on interiors and then sometime switch to hand held on the finer grits.
    Lou, those are really small pieces (for bowls) - do you often lose your grip on the paper? Most often I tear the sheets in thirds and fold each of those in thirds. That provides an abrasive surface for your fingers and for the back surface to prevent slippage.
     
  6. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    Agree with Hockenbery, if there’s not an instant stream of dust flowing to the dust collector the disc is tossed. Usually I catch them before that though. Some of the best advice I recieved regarding sanding years ago was “use sandpaper like it was free” - no use wasting time with worn out grit.

    I’ve settled in on wavy 2&3” discs, and line them up in successive grits as I’m making multiple bowls, if a grit feels worn when I pick that up to affix it I toss it and grab a new one of that grit. On softer woods (cherry, walnut, soft maple, oak, padauk etc) I typically skip grits so my succession is 80/150/220/320/400 or 120/180/320/400 depending on how cleanly I’m cutting. If the wood is dense and hard (hard maple, hickory, jabota, etc) I’ve found it quicker not to skip grits.

    Other great advice I recieved was use the first grit to smooth and clean up any cutting roughness or tear out (spend longest here), then all successive grits are just quick touches to remove prior grit scratches.
     
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  7. odie

    odie

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    From my perspective, you can judge the cutting power of sanding discs with a very light swipe of your fingers. As an experiment, take a new disc, and compare what you feel to a used disc that you are unsure of. Then compare the difference between that and what you can feel with a disc that you know is worn beyond the limits you've set for yourself. With a little practice, you can make the judgement without the need for comparing the differences. Discs usually last for 3-4 bowl interiors before I toss them.....give or take. Discs are only used for the interiors of bowls.....almost never for exteriors.

    From my POV, if you need a coarser grit than 180 on the exterior of bowls, you need more practice with your tool work.(This comment is not meant for you, Randy......just a generic statement. :D) I'd estimate my bowl exteriors start initial sanding at 180gt about 10% of the time. About 75% of the time, I start at 240gt, and about 15% of the the time, I start at 320gt, or occasionally higher.

    On bowl interiors, I only use discs for the coarser grits up to 150, then switch to paper starting at 180 up to 600. I only use a section of paper a single time, and no more. When the section of paper has been used one time over almost the entire surface, it's tossed out.

    -----odie-----
     
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  8. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Tom, yes they are pretty small (a little over 2x3”), and yes, I occasionally lose my grip, but I’ve learned that by only having it folded in half -a pad 1.5x2”, I can feel if my fingers are burning I’m pushing too hard. I alternate directions of the lathe between grits.
     
  9. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    I don't recall who said it but it is good advice - " Use sandpaper like someone else is paying for it" The mistake beginners and some veterans make is that they use sandpaper too long and don't sharpen often enough.
     
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  10. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Net here (like I didn't know) is I limp along with worn grits beyond what I should. Was just wondering how disciplined others are and what sort of gauge you use (feel, number of bowls, replace individual or whole stack, etc). Going to start being more disciplined about keeping my stack fresh, replace a grit if any doubt about it's wear and replace the stack regardless after 2-3 bowls. I like to think Abranet is good for at least a few small bowls before going soft. I learned early on that if you see a tool mark or spot that needs work, don't move to the next grit thinking it will get easier.

    Odie, OK if meant for me - it's true. I try hard with NR scraper and then 80 grit when green hoping to start at 120 when dry. I don't put it on the drying rack with tool marks. Doesn't always work that way but that's the goal and mostly it works. Do you sand beyond 80 when green? Maybe I should start if so.
     
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  11. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    If you’re doing twice turned, I don’t know why you’d ever sand green?
     
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  12. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    I do a lot of natural edge bowls so don't turn again other than to clean up the foot.
     
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  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I like a saying that Bruce Hoover often said, "Worn out 120 grit isn't 240 grit".
     
  14. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    At one time I tried to “save” and use 1/2 worn out pads. Now when I am sanding I get out a fresh set of pads to use for each new turning. I do keep the 1/2 worn pads, but only for use if I mess up one or need a bit more with that grit. I don’t mix and match worn/new sets. Just not worth it using g a 1/2 worn pad when you need a new pad for best results.
     
  15. Paul Grenier

    Paul Grenier

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    I"ve never gotten 2 bowls out of a single piece of one grit sanding disk. I also have come to abide by the saying "sand like someone else is paying for the discs" even though it took me a while to convince my frugal self that it is the right way to sand. I power sand mostly, though hand sanding happens quite often because you physically can't always reach everywhere with a power or inertia sander. If you feel that you must get every bit of use out of a piece of abrasive, lightly feel the center of the disk and then feel the outer 1/4" - 1/2" and see how different it feels. If there is more than a very slight difference, toss the disk.
     
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  16. Paul Grenier

    Paul Grenier

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    I originally thought that your post was asking about how folks organize their disks. This is what i made up to organize my 2"and 3" disks and backing pads along with my Rolloc pads. This cabinet pivots out of my way when not in use and I use the back of it to hang other accessories.
     

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  17. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    Similar to Paul, I also purchased some inexpensive organizers for my discs. The just tuck away when I’m not using them, and I’ve learned to keep the tops folded down when turning :)
     

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  18. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Here's a saying that should stick with you. Treat sandpaper like toilet paper - only use it once.:D
     
  19. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I use the blue discs from Vince. I get more cutting time from them than any other disc I have tried. I don't have much with the abranet/open weave types of discs. When experimenting with them, the standard discs cut faster up to about 220 grit, which I guess is due to all the 'open' spaces between the woven strands. Firm pad up to 180 or 220, medium pad to 400, and soft pad beyond that. Since just about all that I do is utilitarian, I don't go beyond 400.

    As others have said, I look to see how much dust is coming off when I am sanding. I have tried the finger tip test, and still do, but there are many times when I have done that and thought it dull, then use the eraser stick on it, and it still feels dull, then sand with it and I see a bunch of dust coming off. It does seem to me that the coarser discs go dull faster than the fine discs. Best guess on that is the coarser grits, up to 150 or even 180 are more for shaping and leveling, and the finer discs are more for removing scratches and polishing, so they get less actual use.

    Slow speeds cut faster. It is all about traction. Too fast and you are just spinning your wheels.

    robo hippy
     
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  20. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Like Bill pointed out a grit once worn does not change to the next grit. The reason is on each grit there are particles and grit number is determined by the size of those particles. As we use sandpaper some of these particles fracture to smaller ones, but not all of them and not uniformly . Therefore if you used a worn 120 as a 180 there will still be 120 size particles there and give larger scratches.

    Like Odie when in doubt I feel afresh pad and the used pad. Had never considered using a disc only once but may look at that. I do lots of small items and that may be counter productive to me.
     
  21. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I am also.a.fan of Vince's Blue discs. I need to call him and get a.few more.
     
  22. brian horais

    brian horais

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    Randy, I'm a big fan of Abranet as well. I use mostly the sheets for sanding with some rotary pad sanding inside bowls. I usually have a number of sheets of the Abranet in various stages of use located on a flat surface near my lathe. As the wear becomes apparent, I replace each grit as needed. I used to try and stretch the most I could from a sheet of sandpaper, but it is not worth it in time and effort. The best advice I've heard on sandpaper use is treat it like it is free and replace it when you think it is no longer useful. Your time and the effort you put into your work are more important than a sheet of sandpaper.
     
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  23. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    It does defy common sense really. I figure a stack of 2" abranet cost me about $2.50. If I can do two small/med sized bowls per stack (a reasonable goal) then $1.25 per bowl. Never paid for wood and can sell a med bowl for about $50 - $75, or even more if a unique piece - why in the world would I waste any of my time sanding with worn out paper. Toss it and get a new stack. I've told myself this before but the built in desire to get every bit out of supplies and tossing some good paper in the trash is a hard habit to break.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  24. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    I will keep used sandpaper discs. If they've been used for power or inertia sanding, the outside ring is worn but the inside is still new. I fold them in half to access that inside and use those on small spindles etc.
    But my dish of used disks is usually quite full, so I do end up throwing away most. But it does help to soothe my inner frugal voice.
     
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  25. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    When sanding the inside of a bowl, I use more of the center of the pad. When sanding the inside of a bowl, I use more of the edges. By the time I am done with the disc, the middle may be sharper than the outside, but not by much. With Vince's discs, I can get at least 2 bowls in the 12 inch diameter range sanded out with no problems. Some times 3. I can generally get through a 3 bowl cored set starting with the big one in the 13 inch diameter range. Other discs cost less, but I get more use from the blue discs. I want to try and find out if the blue would work on my drum sander. I did have Vince make some 5 inch discs for my Festool random orbit sander. They work far better than the red aluminum oxide and white aluminum oxide discs that came with it... I can't remember but I think I had to order 100 of the grits I wanted, and Festool has its own hole pattern. Vince can get you just about anything you want in abrasives.

    robo hippy
     
  26. John Hicks

    John Hicks

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    I keep used sanding discs because I get depressed when I thrown them away.
     
  27. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that we might need a group therapy session. The topic is, "Frivolous vs. Frugal: When to toss sandpaper without guilt".
     
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  28. odie

    odie

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    Here's the thing about this, Bill.......The more you get used to tossing out semi-used sandpaper, the more you see the benefits.....and the less guilt you and @John Hicks will feel! :D

    A semi-used up piece of sandpaper will still remove material......but, the main benefit I see is in the speed in which material is removed. o_O

    Once I got used to tossing out sandpaper (like someone else was paying for it! :D), I saw a great benefit in spending less overall time sanding. That, along with continuing to make progress with the fineness of my tooled surfaces, has further reduced the need for sanding. These things (among a few others) have been a terrific performance boost for me. ;)

    Paul has also given some great insight to turning success in that part I've highlighted above. ^^^^^:D

    -----odie-----
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  29. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    sandpaper gets dull when sharp edges on the aggregate get rounded from use.

    :)You would have a great sense of accomplishment if you could figure out how to resharpen them. Also good therapy. ;)

    great job for those nano-bots I keep reading about
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  30. John Hicks

    John Hicks

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    They are great stocking stuffers at Christmas!
     
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  31. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    Now there would be a book that wood sell. How to sharpen your used sandpaper. A step by step process.
     
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  32. Nicholas Licata

    Nicholas Licata

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    Robo Hippy said it best: use sandpaper the way you use toilet paper.
     
  33. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    I just toss used sand paper.... Like Odie said........I use it like someone else is paying for it ! :D
     
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  34. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Maybe we could soak our sandpaper in Vinegar like you do old files to sharpen them. :)
     
  35. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I remember some one saying, "Use sand paper like my 2 year old uses toilet paper." I think anyone who has kids has experienced that 'overflow'....

    John, I have never heard of the vinegar trick on files.... Makes me wonder since I have some old files that don't cut. What does the vinegar do? Dissolve the filings that are clogging up the cutting edges? I do like the lapping fluid on my CBN wheels.

    robo hippy
     
  36. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Basically it does dissolve the rust but if you leave it in too long it will also dissolve some metal away. I use cider vinegar (the brown stuff) for old tools . It gets nasty but can be recycled for many times . Remember vinegar is an acid
     
  37. odie

    odie

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    Howdy Lamar :D

    That maxim is as old as the hills! It's a tough one to overcome, because most of us have an engrained need to be thrifty. The only way to overcome this, is to go against instinct for a time, until the point where the benefit is more obvious. o_O

    I probably went for thirty years sanding with used sandpaper......before I finally wised up! :rolleyes:

    Guess it doesn't matter how long it takes, as long as the process eventually ends with.....enlightenment! :D

    -----odie-----
     
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  38. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Thanks Gerald. Kind of what I figured. I do know about vinegar being acidic. You won't find concrete floors in places that make vinegar. The vinegar will eat the concrete...

    robo hippy
     
  39. Dean

    Dean

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    Just one question, do you sharpen your gouge when it gets dull?
     
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  40. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I have wondered if I could set off the smoke detectors with a dull gouge.... Possibly with dull abrasives. Came close once in my youth at a metal shop when I was grinding with a pneumatic sander and tried to see if I could get a fire going on a pallet.... Lots of smoke, but no fire....

    robo hippy
     
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