What is the advantage of garnet sandpaper?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 09-17-2012 04:11 AM 27151 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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915 posts in 2298 days

09-17-2012 04:11 AM

I’ve had this burning question for some time….. is garnet sandpaper really superior for woodworking? I have a few sheets of garnet paper. But I mostly use the 3M Sandblaster or Norton 3X sandpapers. And I can’t find garnet sanding discs. Garnet sandpaper sheets are actually quite hard to find. And I have never found garnet sandpaper above 320 grit.

So what is the advantage of garnet over other abrasives, like aluminum oxide? Garnet papers are still being produced so there must be something desireable about them.

25 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3256 days

#1 posted 09-17-2012 07:35 AM

There is none. Garnet breaks down more readily than aluminum oxide exposing fresh edges. However, garnet doesn’t cut as well or as consistently or last as long as other materials, and is quickly becoming obsolete. Its’ only advantage may be lower cost, but as it wears so much faster, there is no cost advantage. The reason you have a hard time finding it is that fewer manufacturers are making it in response to fewer woodworkers buying it.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4818 posts in 2514 days

#2 posted 09-17-2012 08:53 AM

Garnet is a natural abrasive that is still commonly used in woodworking. It is not friable like Aluminum Oxide and tends to wear out a lot faster. This is not necessarily a detriment since garnet will produce a smoother surface than aluminum oxide of the same grit number. It will however cut slower than its stronger cousin will. Garnet is also an excellent choice for a final sanding paper. It has the tendency to burnish, or seal off a wood’s grain. This allows pigmented stains to penetrate woods such as birch, pine, or lauan, more evenly.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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2131 posts in 3949 days

#3 posted 09-17-2012 10:44 AM

I don’t think you’ll ever find garnet paper sanding disc. They would wear out too fast. It’s good for touch up sanding and I use garnet for my final hand sanding, prior to applying the finish. Usually have strips of it, in various grits, folded up, laying around the shop. 320 is the finest that I’ve ever found also.

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661 posts in 2888 days

#4 posted 09-17-2012 02:34 PM

I’ve always found it strange that garnet is used as an abrasive, but is also considered a gemstone. Of course, diamonds are, too.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3925 days

#5 posted 09-17-2012 04:38 PM

It’s less expensive, but wears out quickly; so it could end up being more expensive. I think it is technology that has been passed over by better stuff.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3853 days

#6 posted 09-17-2012 05:18 PM

I haven’t used it in awhile but as I recall it has some applications
in hand sanding the finest work, like musical instruments.
Other papers are more useful for general use and cabinetwork,
mostly due to versatility with both power and hand sanding.

More info here:,42500

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915 posts in 2298 days

#7 posted 09-17-2012 06:42 PM

I haven’t found garnet papers to be less expensive. I’ve found them to be more so. Not as much as the stearated stuff from 3M and Norton. But more than standard issue aluminum oxide.

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2719 days

#8 posted 09-17-2012 07:14 PM

How bad is it? I’ve got some at the bottom of my sandpaper drawers, and it will stay there…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2880 days

#9 posted 09-17-2012 08:39 PM

When the option was sand or garnet it was far superior. Now the legend lives on. It probably still has its place but is not as needed nor ranked as highly as 40 years ago. What hasn’t been manmade? Seen a chrome car bumper lately??? LOL

View CharlesNeil's profile


2457 posts in 4076 days

#10 posted 09-17-2012 09:03 PM

advantage None, in the same catagory as BLO way past its prime, old and cheap dont make for “good”

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2298 days

#11 posted 09-17-2012 09:56 PM

I should have said I did have one instance in which garnet sandpaper worked better. I was sanding a block of red heart. The regular 3M Sandblaster and Norton 3X paper were leaving a nasty grayish color on it. I switched to garnet paper and the gray ick was gone and the sanding proceeded.

I tend to sand up to 400 grit so even if garnet leaves a better finish, it’s not going to matter, since my final sanding won’t be with garnet paper.

I only found 320 garnet once and that was “Gator Grit” sandpaper. It’s ok but I’d prefer finding 3M garnet paper at 320. I’ve found 40-220.

P.S. Diamonds aren’t as rare as DeBeers would have you believe.

View AandCstyle's profile


3179 posts in 2462 days

#12 posted 09-18-2012 01:08 AM

There is an article in the current FWW by Teri Masacchi. She refers to garnet sandpaper as “yesterday’s news”. There is very little, if any, reason to use garnet today.

-- Art

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2243 days

#13 posted 11-09-2013 08:40 PM

”Call me old fashioned”

WTF Beech? You joined last year, commented on a few projects so you could post a link to this online abrasives company, disappear for a year and now you’re back with three comments in an hour – all with links to the same abrasives company? I don’t call that old-fashioned, I call it a spammer.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 2136 days

#14 posted 11-09-2013 08:58 PM

I only use it for sanding filled in bits of plaster (or `dry wall`) on the walls as it’s so cheap I don’t mind if it clogs.

Occasionally I use it to help with stripping paint off an old piece for restoration but only if I expect the paper will clog before it wears out

-- Ben, England.

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148 posts in 2136 days

#15 posted 11-09-2013 08:59 PM

^ and to underline JustJoe’s point – I now know one company which I will not be patronising for sandaper

-- Ben, England.

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