What is the finest sandpaper you've used?

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Blog entry by Sivers posted 03-12-2009 03:08 PM 21677 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Alright, I was visiting the company headquarters last year. While wandering through headquarters trying to get back to my car I happened accross the company store. In the back corner was a set of wire shelves loaded top to bottom with stacks of sandpaper. With a price at 2cent per sheet or 200 for 1$ (Something like that) I quickly grabbed a massive 3-4 inch pile of sheets. They also had some sandpaper for 5” orbital disc sanders. They were 4$ per case. Can’t beat that price! I quickly grabbed a case and headed out.

Now I knew all this was a good deal because it was a cast off from the manufacturing process so something isn’t quite right. But we make really high end sandpaper, you don’t roll into the building center and pick this stuff up, it is a prmium brand and is normally priced much higher than your average sandpaper.

I’m currently refinishing a rocking chair that was rescued from the roadside, it was time to go to 200. I finally got to open my new case of what I thought was 200 grit sanding discs to finish off some of the larger spots. Pull our the first sheet and realize something is wrong….it feels like wax paper. A close inspection of a few other sheets shows the same thing. (Would they really sell employees sandpaper without the sand?) I examined the case and realized what I thought was 600 units of 200 grit was actually 200 of 600 grit. 600 grit? Really? I didn’t know there was such a thing. A quick search at my local home building center showed a finest grit of 240 available. I’ve purchased 360 at a marine store to wet sand my boat once before. But this is twice as fine….So this whole experience has raised a few questions….

1. Who uses 600 grit sandpaper? And what are they using it for?
2. What am I going to do with a lifetime supply of this stuff?

22 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4338 days

#1 posted 03-12-2009 03:13 PM

I’ve used it on solid surface counter tops. You might check with a granite guy too.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3898 days

#2 posted 03-12-2009 03:15 PM

I sand up to 600 grit on some stuff that I turn. I usually go to 1500 for sharpening my chisels and plane blades. But I use about four sheets of each in a year – 200 sheets should last you awhile!

-- -- --

View Konquest's profile


171 posts in 3468 days

#3 posted 03-12-2009 03:20 PM

I use 600 grit wet/dry paper quite a bit to knock the dust nibs off a piece between coats of finish.

-- 9 3/4 fingers remaining.

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 3962 days

#4 posted 03-12-2009 03:49 PM

I usually start at 220 and sand up to 1200-2000 grit. I am a turner.

600 doesn’t last very long and loads easily, so be ready to use it “once” and throw it away. You got a great deal.

-- Steven

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3417 days

#5 posted 03-12-2009 03:51 PM

When I am using shellac, I give a light sanding between coats with 400-600 grit sand paper

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4351 days

#6 posted 03-12-2009 04:05 PM

I’ll also go up to 2000 with turning, also the Micro Mesh pads which go to 12000!

FWW had an article some years back about going up to 2000 (wet/dry) for a supersmooooth finish.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3672 days

#7 posted 03-12-2009 04:28 PM

I’ll use up to 2500 grit when sharpening blades, and will use 400/600 between layers when finishing.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4424 days

#8 posted 03-12-2009 04:45 PM

In French polishing I use 400 or 600 grit with baby oil to smooth the surface between sessions. It’s hard to tell if there is any grit left or if it’s still new, when you are using it wet.

In doing my Corian counter top I went up to 3000 grit. My wife didn’t want a higher polish.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3846 days

#9 posted 03-12-2009 05:32 PM

I use 600 for final sanding of my topcoat finishes. In sharpening chisels I generally go up to 2000. I have used 2000 for a super fine finish but this is overkill for most of my work. I simply did it to see if I could tell the difference between my usual 600 grit final sanding and the 2000 grit. To be honest I really could not feel any difference in the finish. But it was an interesting exercise.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3550 days

#10 posted 03-12-2009 06:06 PM

In my work I use up to 8000 grit. (Not wood working) 600 grit is an excellant surface polishing for some finishes.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 3524 days

#11 posted 03-12-2009 06:34 PM

With Scary sharp I usually start at 600 and go up to 2000 + when I can find it. It was likely designed for the automotive industry ( body work). Keep it and use it between coats of finishes.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3785 days

#12 posted 03-12-2009 06:53 PM

I have a series of glass plates with wet/dry sandpaper attached with 3M77 adhesive. I start with 50 grit, and then go up through 80, 120, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, and 1200. It’s somewhat difficult to find all these grits locally, so I usually stock up whenever I visit Highland Woodworking in Atlanta.

Using a Veritas MKII honing guide this is the “system” that I use to refurbish neglected or chipped chisels and plane irons and to give the initial sharpening to new “unhoned” chisels and plane irons.

My sharpening thereafter is usually done on the wetstones.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3697 days

#13 posted 03-12-2009 08:56 PM

600 is not bad to start when leveling a finish.

I tend to start at 500 (its what I have the most of) then goto steel wool (0000), then you can rub with rottenstone and finally a car buffing compound meant for show cars like a good Meguires.

Make that baby shine.

Honestly all else being equal the difference between a moderately priced piece of furniture (not talking cheap china veneered stuff here) and an expensive piece is the labor cost in doing a perfect finish.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3405 days

#14 posted 03-12-2009 09:54 PM

I’ve used up to 12000 :)

Rockler has these, and these that go that high. I have the rectangular foam pads in the first link, and have used them on my mini lathe. They go from 1500 to 12k, and they’ll bring medium and harder woods to a plastic-like shine even before the finish. Pen turners seem to be a real target market. The highest ones feel like ultra fine spongy emery boards that sometimes come with beauty kits. You can’t even feel the abrasive a few levels before 12k. It feels more like slippery, soft rubber. The “More Info” tabs at each link gives a lot more about uses and intentions. Here are mine:

micro-mesh fine abrasive pads

micro-mesh fine abrasive pads

micro-mesh fine abrasive pads

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4149 days

#15 posted 03-13-2009 03:11 AM

I think 600 would be great to knock the shine off a finish that you wanted matte. We like matte finishes, I normally run up to at least 400 before my final coat, and I generally hit it with a super-fine steel wool to take the shine off at the end, but 600 would be in that ballpark.

Like others I’ve used 2000 when finishing metal, before I went to the rouge in cotton. Probably should have gone to 4000 wet, ‘cause that buffing with rouge took a while.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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