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Normally my sand paper lasts a day or so with palm sanding, is there something I can do to make it last longer?

  • Are you just hand sanding or are you using power tools? You current technique would influence the answer. – Matt Apr 21 '16 at 3:32
  • It depends more on the area you sand during than the time you spend sanding. Also, the grit will affect how long the sandpaper lasts, as well as the progression of grits during the sanding process. – Eli Iser Apr 21 '16 at 5:57
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    I think a day is a very long time for a sand paper to last. – LosManos Apr 21 '16 at 6:00
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    A day... my sandpaper lasts like 5-8 minutes! – Damon Apr 21 '16 at 15:06
  • Not really an answer but this is one benefit to random orbit sanders with good dust collection capabilities - the abrasive pads tend to last significantly longer because the dust is removed before it can gum up the pad. Of course they cost a lot more than paper sheets. – Steven Apr 21 '16 at 15:11
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Sandpaper is a consumable, and in fact people should be encouraged to discard it more readily as it's very common — and not just with amateur woodworkers :-) — to use paper until it's worn out and no longer cutting as it should. Using worn paper doesn't give uniform results and of course has a reduced cutting action, directly leading to many of the issues people experience when sanding as they try to compensate for the slower results e.g. by pressing harder, which is always something to be avoided.


We can't diagnose the situation in your case properly without more details than you've provided.

The type of wood you're working (harder woods v. softer woods, resinous v. non-resinous) and the type of sandpaper you're using have a pronounced impact on what you can expect of your abrasive. But perhaps most important of all is the area of wood you're working.

If you're working softwoods, these have resins in them that are well known for clogging paper so yours may not just be worn but also clogged (see related Question, What are these brown spots on my sandpaper?). One additional tip is to dust down regularly, to remove any excess sanding dust that may be on the surface. Even with a sander hooked up to dust extraction this can help.

If your paper is actually wearing out it may be because it's of lesser quality, where the abrasive particles are bonded to the paper backing with less resin/glue or with a weaker one (cheaper glues tend to let go when they warm up in use). Even when sanding by hand the difference between a quality paper and a cheap paper can be remarkable, you can easily sand for five times longer with a good paper compared to something cheap. A really excellent paper will outlast the low-end competition by a factor of ten or more.

Getting "a day or so" from your paper unfortunately doesn't tell us how much sanding you're actually doing. This could equate with working periodically throughout the day, sanding a bit then doing something else, but you might be production-sanding panels nearly continuously and obviously the wear on the paper would be completely different. In the first case a day would usually be less than you should realistically expect, but in the second case you'd be doing very well :-)


Regardless of what part of the above might apply to you I think you might want to look into Abranet, made by Mirka. This is not your granddad's sandpaper. New users seem to universally be instant converts and specifically rave about how long it lasts, here's Chris Schwarz waxing lyrical about it.

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  • Thanks Graphus, I am just using a sanding block with some pretty cheap paper, to try and sand some hardwood that is ~1.5 meters by 0.5, its super slow going, I have been keeping the dust off the work and using a bristle brush to clean the paper. I will try grabbing some better paper and more quantity next time. Also thanks for pointing out that I should replace it more often, I have been just pressing harder so far.. – Sky Apr 22 '16 at 21:36
  • @Sky, it sounds like you're doing a major amount of smoothing off which I would actually recommend you not do it by sanding at all, regardless of paper quality. Getting into hand-planing is a bit much just for this one project but consider it for the long term. For now, highly recommend you get a card scraper. A scraper can do what sandpaper struggles to do, faster and more efficiently and without ever wearing out so is like an infinite amount of sandpaper! More here. – Graphus Apr 24 '16 at 8:55
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First and foremost don't buy cheap sand paper (Harbor fright), personally I like Norton 3x, but keep in mind sandpaper is a consumable product. If it's the cost of the sandpaper that you are concerned about, have you looked at getting a card scraper setup, yes it has a bit of a start up cost, but it's a one time cost and will greatly reduce the amount of sanding you are going to need to do.

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