When we mention about Sandpaper, to the average person, they might all be the same, but to the abrasives geek like us, there are in fact many materials of sandpaper with variance of specifications (type of backing, coating).


This is how abrasives material have changed over the years:

  • Flint

This is the familiar tan sandpaper with grits that are natural greyish. Flint material on sandpaper have been superseded by other sandpaper material because of its limited cutting and durability. The plus point of Flint? It is the cheapest of all abrasive sandpaper!

  • Garnet

Garnet is a reddish grit which is natural. Garnet cuts better than flint and cost little more than flint. Experts mentioned that garnet should be limited to sanding bare soft wood. Garnet did not catch on to mainstream sandpaper

  • Emery

This black sandpaper, and commonly called emery cloth is used for smoothing metal and removing rust. However, emery have been displaced by aluminium oxide and silicon carbide due to their superiority of Emery material. Emery are still frequently requested today and we tend to recommend the better alternatives.

  • Aluminium Oxide

One of the most common abrasive material that is being used today. Aluminium Oxide sandpaper are mostly popular with DIY and Industrialist! This synthetic grit is HARDER than Flint and Garnet and cuts well. Many have recommend this as the BEST BUY for its durability and economical advantages.

  • Silicon Carbide

Silicon Carbide Abrasives Grits are also synthetic which is the hardest of these materials. This material is able to provide a sharper and smoother cut than the rest of the papers. Woodworkers favour it for final finishing of furniture. This level of hardness allows SiC to last when used to smooth plastic, fibre glass and glass. It may be used with oil or water.

  • Ceramic

The newest grain of them all. Ceramic is a variant of Aluminium Oxide that is  self-sharpening due to its micro crystals. With high toughness and sufficient hardness, this self-sharpening feature allows the abrasives to renew itself after its been dulled, which lead to ultra long lasting and high performance.


Another consideration would be grit size. In choosing the grit size, the general rule of thumb is that you go from coarse to progressive finer smoothness. More information on grit size charts can be found in a previous post.


Sandpaper comes with grits to various backings, Paper, Cloth and Fibre.

Backing weight ranges from A(soft) to E(strong) in Paper and F(Flexible) to X(Sturdy) weight in Cloth, with a mixture of cloth backing materials, polyester to cloth for different uses.


Sandpaper also comes in open and closed coat, which refers to the amount of grit on the backing. On a closed coat, up to 95 percent of the surface is covered by the grit, and on a open coat, 50 percent and up are covered by the grit. This is usually visible to the naked eye. The nature of difference in coating is to aid in different application. Open coating is preferred when one wants to remove sanding dust between grits to prevent loading and clogging.


We recommend VSM Abrasives Sandpaper to our fellow Industrialist and Professionals due to its superiority of quality which provides our users with great cutting performance, leading to shorter cycle time and reduction of cost.

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