When it comes to surface preparation products, we get a lot of questions about which material is needed for different jobs. Abrasion resistant pads and sandpaper are two options, but each is best suited for something different.
If you're unsure about deciding between abrasive pads and sandpaper, here are some of the essential differences between them and when it's best to use them.
Scuff Pads are a surface treatment and finishing product. They are made of non-woven synthetic webbing and are used to clean, dress or polish surfaces. The webbing is constructed to prevent heat buildup, prevent loading/clogging, and prevent surface discoloration. The material also has the added benefit of being usable with water.
In addition to cleaning and polishing, wear pads can also be used for finishing and polishing. Finishing is the process of sanding or grinding to make a surface flat. This polishing process removes any imperfections from the surface and also makes the surface resistant to corrosion and loss of luster.
Abrasion resistant pads and similar surface treatment products are available in various forms.
▲Surface Treatment Flaps
These discs are also made of a non-woven material. The material adheres to the backing and the individual flaps are placed overlapping and form a disc. This overlapping pattern reduces the amount of time required to polish or finish the surface.
The flap construction helps provide a more consistent finish because once the nylon material wears out, they come off, exposing the material underneath. This will extend the amount of time you need before replacing the disc.
Scuff Pads are made of a non-woven, abrasive material. They are convenient because they can be cut to suit individual needs. They can also be used with or without solvents and are suitable for cleaning and polishing metal surfaces as well as removing rust. These hand pads are a great alternative to other sanding materials, such as steel wool or wire brushes for hand sanding.
▲Hook and Loop Discs
The hook and loop system is the same as Velcro. These discs can be attached to a backing pad that can be used on an orbital sander.
These discs are convenient because they work well with uneven surfaces. Due to the hook and loop, the material is porous and suitable for heat sensitive materials.
▲Quick Change Discs
Quick change discs screw onto standard die grinders and because of their small size, they are ideal for use in tight spaces. They are available in 2" or 3" sizes for use on die grinders with attachments.
▲ Surface Finishing Belts
These belts can be used for polishing, finishing and buffing. The belts are available in a variety of roughnesses and it is recommended to start with the roughest surface and work your way down to the finest grit to achieve a perfect finish. These are popular tool making abrasives for finishing tools.
▲Interleaf Flap Products
Interleaf Flap products are available in various types, such as Interleaf Flap wheels for die grinders or Interleaf Flap drums.
With this type of product, the sandpaper sheet is attached to a wheel with a space in between filled with nylon material.
The grit on the sandpaper makes the surface smooth, while the nylon material polishes the surface. By doing two things at once, you can complete your project faster with less product
▲Scuff Pad Color
When purchasing scuff pads and surface preparation products, you will notice that they are available in a variety of colors. Each color is used to differentiate between different levels of roughness of the product.
The roughness of the pad is created by embedding different types of abrasive particles and grit sizes into the webbing. These colors vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. You can contact us to find out the roughness of each hand abrasive pad carried by RMN Abrasives.
Sandpaper is available in a variety of grit sizes and for removing surface materials or making surfaces smoother. For example, sandpaper can be used to remove old paint from a surface before starting a new paint job, or it can be used to smooth a surface during woodworking.
Sandpaper is made of fine particles (abrasive grains), either natural or synthetic. Each has a different abrasiveness and its own purpose.
Common abrasive grains include.
✱ Aluminum oxide - synthetic grit used to sand or polish materials such as wood or metal.
✱ Silicon carbide - This synthetic abrasive is suitable for sanding soft or hard woods, metals, plastics and glass.
✱ Zirconia Aluminum Oxide - Synthetic grit suitable for sanding rough surfaces such as hardwoods and also for grinding burrs off metal products. It is particularly suitable for metals because the grit is self-sharpening, increasing the amount of time sandpaper can be used before replacement.
✱ Emery - Emery is a natural material, best known as emery board for filing nails. Emery sandpaper is ideal for polishing and removing corrosion from steel structures. Due to the sharpness of the particles, it is best not to use this grit for sanding wood.
✱ Garnet - This natural grit is best for sanding wood. Due to its softness, it is not recommended for sanding metals, as the grains dull quickly.
✱ Flint - A natural material used for sanding old surfaces and removing previous coatings of paint or varnish.
The size of the grains is called grit. The particles are sifted through a sieve and sorted by size, then adhered to the backing. Each job has a definite perseverance.
The Coated Abrasives Manufacturers Institute (CAMI) has established grades of grit for sandpaper, which are classified as large or fine grit. Coarse grit paper is used for harder materials such as hardwoods and metals, while micro grit paper is used for softer woods and sometimes drywall.
Sandpaper grit ranges from 240-1000 (fine grit) and 36-220 (large grit). The higher the number, the finer the grit of the paper. In addition to industrial use, sandpaper can be used for tasks around the house, such as removing abrasions from suede shoes, removing grout stains in the shower, and sharpening scissors.
Your specific project will determine what kind of sandpaper you need.
✴Extra Coarse Sandpaper (24-36 grit) - This coarsest sandpaper is the most abrasive and is used on the toughest materials. It is suitable for sanding floors and removing old paint before starting a new paint job.
✴Coarse sandpaper (40-50 grit) - Coarse sandpaper is ideal for roughing up wood and can be used to remove previous finishes and coatings.
✴Medium Grit Paper (60-100 grit) - Medium grit paper is suitable for the final molding process when woodworking. This grit can be used to remove plan marks from wood and for smoothing out roughness.
✴Fine grit paper (120-200 grit) - The fine glass material in this grit paper is suitable for the final stage of woodworking. It can be used for final sanding before the project is completed.
✴Ultra-fine sandpaper (240, 320, 400, 600 grit) - Due to the fineness of the particles in ultra-fine sandpaper, it is best suited for finishing in the final stages of a woodworking project.
Abrasion resistant pads are commonly referred to as Scotch-Brite™ pads. These are the same type of product, but the term "Scotch-Brite" is a trademarked name for the pads, manufactured by 3M. The properties and materials of the surface treatment products are comparable to those of similar Scotch-Brite™ products.
The important thing to remember when working on any metal or woodworking project is to find the best finish product for the type of material you are using. Incorrect products can damage your surface or prolong your project due to the use of inefficient sanding or polishing methods. Doing your research beforehand will help you avoid mistakes and your woodworking or metalworking project will be a success.
We are here to answer all your abrasive related questions. RMN Abrasives experts are available during normal business hours via chat, email and phone. We will respond quickly to any email questions received.