Photo of a person sanding an end of a board | Featured image for Understanding Sandpaper Grit blog.

Understanding Sandpaper Grit

Sandpaper is known to be an exceptionally useful tool that has been around for centuries. This handy tool can make all the difference in a project and can easily be done by hand or with power tools, depending on the finish you’re after. However, this is where it can get a little bit confusing, especially for those who are new to the woodworking world. Understanding sandpaper grit may sound confusing, but once you know the level of grit that is suitable for your required project, you’ll be good to go from there on.

If you’re wondering what sandpaper to use on wood, this blog will help you better understand the difference in grits, grades, and finishes that each type of sandpaper will offer. Not only that, but you’ll have more knowledge on the way sandpaper is made, and the best type to invest your money into.

Looking for materials for your projects? Browse our selection of hardware supplies online today or get in touch through our online form with any questions on understanding sandpaper grit.

What is Sandpaper Grit?

Aside from the grits and grades of sandpaper, it’s essentially made out of materials that vary chemically. Sandpaper grit can be made up of either natural minerals called Garnet, or from synthetic materials called Aluminium Oxide, Alumina-Zirconia, or Silicon Carbide. The backing of sandpaper is a different story, with some including paper, cotton, PET film, polyester, rayon, and even rubber.

If you’re constantly asking yourself “what grit sandpaper for wood works best?” you have to understand what surface type you’ll be using, to know which grade of sandpaper to use. The reason that there are so many varying grit sizes is because each project requires a specific finish; not only that, but they are useful for all sorts of surface types, such as wood or metal. Grit sizes range in their appearance from being fine enough to resemble flour, to larger more coarse grit that resembles granulated sugar. All over the world, different numbers of grit are used more commonly depending on the country.

For example, the USA primarily uses CAMI (Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute), Europe uses FEPA (Federation of European Producers of Abrasives), and Japan use JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards Committee), micron grade, and the aught system. These are all the standard sizes for each place, however, there are plenty more that are commonly used that we rarely come across within Australia.

Understanding Sandpaper Grit

Sandpaper Grit Guide

If you’re still wondering exactly what is sandpaper grit, perhaps a guide will be more useful. Essentially, the higher the number is, the finer the grit particle will be. These are primarily used for smoothing wood, or painted surfaces between each coat.

The lower the number is, the more course the particles are going to be. This type of sandpaper is used more so on tougher, more stubborn surfaces for heavy sanding, stripping, and even cutting hard surfaces.

Knowing what grit sandpaper for wood works best completely depends on your project and the finish that you’re searching for. If you’re undertaking a project that requires a surface to be extremely smooth, it’s recommended to go through the grit sizes. This means you would start with a sandpaper that is coarser than the rest, and slowly work your way down to the finer grits. This will help you get the smoothest surface that you’re after.





Extra Course; Removes stubborn paint or varnish from surfaces and old floors.


Course; best used for removing large amounts of wood and rounding off corners.


Medium grit; good for general purpose sanding.


Fine; used to roughen surfaces for painting or as a passthrough for sanding with extra-fine grits later on.


Ultra-fine; helps when you want to achieve a nearly glass-smooth texture.

Contact Versace Timbers Today!

At Versace Timbers, we provide leading timber supplies Brisbane wide for all your woodworking projects. If you’re feeling confident in knowing what sandpaper to use on wood will give you the results that you’re after, give us a call on 07 3266 9000 today and we’ll help you find exactly what you need.

 For more information or general queries, reach out through our online form or flick our team an email at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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