Grinding Wheel vs Flap Disc vs Sanding Disc: What Is the Difference. Grinder sand paper

Grinding Wheel vs Flap Disc vs Sanding Disc: What Is the Difference?

When you are using your angle grinder for DIY projects, one of the most important considerations is which type of attachment you are going to use. Grinding wheels, flap discs and sanding discs are among the most common grinder attachments yet they are used for very different types of projects.

Typical uses of a grinding wheel include removal of material while a flap disc is the first choice for abrading metal. If you need to sand wood or other material with your angle grinder, a sanding disc is the right attachment to use, although the results would mostly be second to those of an actual sander.

Read on to learn the details of each of these grinder attachments. Read this article on how to use a grinder to learn more about cutting tiles and sanding wood or steel.

What Are the Different Uses of Grinding Wheels, Flap Discs and Sanding Discs?

Although all these types of attachment are for use with an angle grinder, the outcomes and the materials they can deal with are different. The following table summarizes the differences in their use.

Grinding wheel Flap disc Sanding disc
Processing and results Surface removal, trimming and cleaning; Saw-type wheels produce cuts on different material Abrasion and Finishing of surfaces Sanding and finishing surfaces
Material Removing metal fast; MIG welding; wood; stone and concrete Metal Wood; metal; concrete, stone and other material (special discs needed)
Typical uses Trimming surfaces quickly; Cutting workpieces (saw-type wheels) Shaping metal; A slower, less spark-producing alternative to grinding wheels for weld deposits and slag removal Sanding and finishing surfaces if no advanced smoothness is required (otherwise, a sander would be the better choice)
Price level (per piece) Check on Amazon Check on Amazon Check on Amazon

Move forward to the next sections to learn more about the characteristics of each of these attachment types as well as practical tips for their uses.

Grinding Wheels

Grinding Wheels come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Make sure the wheels you purchase are the correct size so they fit into your angle grinder’s guard. They should also be about a quarter of an inch thick. Any thinner than this and you may be looking at a cutting disk instead of a grinding disk.

What Are Grinding Wheels Used For?

A standard grinding wheel is designed for quickly removing metal. Use it for preparing metal for MIG welding, clean and trim down old welds and removing welding slag. They are available in different sized Grits just like sandpaper. Lower numbered grits are coarser and remove metal quicker while higher grits are for finishing work, cleaning and polishing. A higher grit grinding wheel may take a bit longer to finish the job than a lower sized one but it will be safer and more comfortable as fewer large sparks will be produced.

Low grit grinding wheels produce large and very hot sparks. If these land on your skin, they are mildly uncomfortable, rather like a small bee sting. However, they are hot enough to melt some clothing, especially man-made fibers and, if landing on glass, they can embed into the glass. Eye protection or a face shield should always be used.

Over time, grinding disks will gradually wear down in size and they should be replaced appropriately. If a disk is misused or jumps during use, it may become damaged and should be immediately replaced for safety. Cheaper disks can become damaged then fail completely spreading flying pieces of disc into the air. This can cause damage and be very dangerous if safety equipment is not being worn.

Special grinder disks with chain saw type blades are available for specifically cutting and shaping of wood. There are also available grinder disks with teeth on the outer edge which are also intended for woodworking.

Flap Discs

Flap Disks are abrasive disks made from small flaps of overlapping abrasive covered cloth formed in the shape of a wheel. Flap disks are more efficient in their use than using a flat abrasive paper in that flap disks wear from the outside edge in distributing the wear evenly across the entire disk. The length of each flap can be worn down completely before the disk needs to be replaced so the wheel is useful as the flaps erode, unlike a flat abrasive sheet which must be discarded even if only a small part of the sheet is eroded away. Flap disks last up to 25 times longer than fiber disks

The advantages of flap disks during use are that each separate flap attacks the workpiece at a very slightly different angle which also varies with the angle of the grinder. This avoids the common issues with flat abrasive paper that can easily produce identical repeated scratches in the work.

What Are Flap Discs Used For?

They are used to shape and contour metal and can be used as an alternative to grinding wheels for removing weld deposits and slag. They remove metal slower and produce smaller sparks than grinding wheels. Flap disks are less robust than grinding wheels and can be damaged easily if care is not taken. Because they consist of only pieces of abrasive covered fabric glued to a solid backing by resin, there are fewer pieces that may become damaged and fly off so are generally safer than grinding wheels. They are lighter than grinding wheels so produce less vibration and are easier to operate.

Sanding Discs

Sanding discs with different grits.Check on Amazon.

Angle grinders can be used for sanding both wood and metal but also other types of material. When you need to sand a lot of wood away, a sanding disk attachment is ideal. However, for wood, angle grinder rotary sanding does not produce such a good finish as is obtained with a random orbital sander or an orbital sander for wood but it is usually acceptable for many DIY jobs. To sand rough wood smooth, start with a low grit sandpaper and work your way up gently stroking the angle grinder over the wood’s surface each time.

How Can You Use Sanding Discs?

The general method of attaching sanding disks to angle grinders is by use of a soft foam pad with Velcro backing. The pad has an attachment that screws onto the angle grinder screw and Velcro-backed sanding disks attach to the front plate. When the sanding disks are used up and you need to change them, it is just a simple task of pulling the two Velcro surfaces apart and attaching a new one.

Sanding disks are available in all grit sizes you could think of. They are meant for use during the end of a task or project for finishing off prior to polishing. However, they are not ideal for heavy use or for removal of a lot of metal.

Using sanding disks is generally the safest type of angle grinder attachment because in the case of a failure of the disk, only paper will be ejected. However, sanding disks used on steel can still produce a lot of sparks especially if a low grit is used. Safety precautions should still be followed including eye protection, a face shield and protective gloves.

Sanding disks are not recommended to tidy welds or remove slag as this may damage the disk quickly. They are designed for use on flat surfaces for polishing, removal of rust and paint and for finishing, not only for metal but also for plastics, ceramics and glass. With glass, extra care and safety precautions should be made to avoid injury.

Note that harder materials, such as steel, glass or concrete, require special sanding discs. They come with harder and more durable abrasives, e.g. of diamond tool.


An angle grinder is probably one of the most versatile handheld tools if you use it with attachments that fit for the particular purpose. If you need to remove and trim material, you will want to go for grinding wheels. Flap discs are ideal for grinding metal surfaces, and they also produce less sparks than grinding wheels. Sanding discs are available for a variety of materials and they are generally used for sanding and finishing.

Make sure you read our article on how to use a grinder before you start

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Sander vs Grinder: What’s the Difference?

Sanders and grinders are commonly used in the construction industry. They are power tools for sanding and grinding, respectively. While they may involve similar operations, though, sanders and grinders aren’t the same. If you’re thinking about buying one of these power tools, you might be wondering how sanders and grinders differ from each other.

What Is a Sander?

A sander is a power tool that’s designed for polishing, sanding and buffing applications. It typically features a motor, belt and a piece of sandpaper. When turned on, the motor will turn the belt, and the belt will turn the sandpaper. Pressing the moving sandpaper against the surface of an object will remove a thin layer of material from that object.

Common types of sanders include the following:

  • Belt sander
  • Oscillating sander
  • Orbital sander
  • Drywall sander
  • Disc sander

What Is a Grinder?

A grinder is a power tool that’s used for cutting applications. Like sanders, they are available in corded and battery-powered models. Grinders also feature a motor. The motor will turn the cutting disc attached to the grinder. Pressing the cutting disc against the surface of an object will cut that object.

Differences Between Sanders and Grinders

Sanders and grinders aren’t the same. They are used in different work-related applications. Sanders are used in polishing, sanding and buffing applications, whereas grinders are used in cutting applications.

In addition to supporting different applications, sanders and grinders feature different parts. All sanders feature sandpaper or a sanding belt. Sandpaper and sanding belts are thin sheets of an abrasive material.

Grinders don’t feature sandpaper, nor do they feature a sanding belt. Instead, grinders feature a cutting disc. The cutting disc is a wheel-shaped bladed tool. As it spins, it will cut into the object to which it’s exposed. You can use a grinder to easily cut through objects, assuming the cutting disc isn’t dull.

Both types of power tools support a variety of materials. With that said, sanders are typically used with wooden objects. Grinders, in comparison, are used with metal objects. If you need to cut through a metal object, you may want to use a grinder. To sand down a wooden workpiece so that it’s smooth, you should use a sander.

Grinders are more versatile than sanders. You can use them in more applications. Sanders are limited to polishing, sanding and buffing applications. But grinders support all cutting-related applications.

Get to know how different grit types and grade impact the sanding process so that you always choose the right supplies for the project at hand.

By Bob Vila | Updated Oct 30, 2019 6:39 PM

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If you’ve ever worked with wood, you’re likely familiar with instructions to sand all edges after cutting: before applying a finish, between coats of paint, and so on. Seeing sandpaper on a tools and materials list may seem easy enough to check off—until you hit the hardware store and face stacks of sheets and booklets, each distinctly identified with a different set of numbers, or sandpaper grits. Which did this project call for again?

Different sandpaper grits perform very different jobs, and selecting the right grit can be confusing when you’re starting out. Warm up with these basic recommendations and rules of thumb. This guide will run you through:

  • Selecting the right size of sandpaper grit,
  • Choosing the appropriate coarseness for the project,
  • Considering the best type of grit to choose, and
  • Finding the right tool for the easiest effort.

After you have a few completed projects under your belt, you’ll be an old pro at picking just the right sandpaper.

Sizing Sandpaper Grit

Sandpaper isn’t made of sand, of course, but rather it consists of fine particles from either natural or synthetic sources. The particles (also known as grains or grit) are sifted through screens and sorted by size before being bonded with adhesive to a paper, sponge, or cloth-type backing to create an abrasive material that’s handy in a number of do-it-yourself situations.

Distinguishing sandpaper grit sizes is important because not every project requires the same.

In the United States, grit is determined based on a gradation scale established by the Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute (CAMI). When shopping for sandpaper, you’ll see numbers such as 80-grit, 100-grit, or 200-grit. Keep in mind:

  • The higher the number, the smaller the grains and the finer the sandpaper grit.
  • And, conversely, lower numbers indicate larger grains and overall coarser sandpaper.

On the CAMI scale, sandpaper grit is measured in microns, and to get an idea of how small a micron is, check out a piece of 100-grit sandpaper. The small grains on the sandpaper measure approximately 141 microns in size, which is equivalent to.00550 of an inch. Very small.

Most sandpaper you buy at DIY centers and lumberyards will bear the CAMI scale, but if you order sandpaper online, you may run across sandpaper grit sized by the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives (FEPA). Grit sized with the FEPA scale is indicated by the letter “P” preceding the grit number. While there are too many grit gradations to list, if you’re buying FEPA-sized sandpaper, the following commonly used CAMI sizes will give you an idea of the corresponding FEPA sizes. FEPA sizes are not an identical match to CAMI sizes, but you can get something very close by selecting one of the two closest FEPA numbers.

  • 40-grit (CAMI) sandpaper corresponds closely to (FEPA) P-36 or P-40
  • 80-grit (CAMI) sandpaper corresponds closely to (FEPA) P-80 or F-100
  • 100-grit (CAMI) sandpaper corresponds closely to (FEPA) P-100 or P-120
  • 120-grit (CAMI) sandpaper corresponds closely to (FEPA) P-120 or P-150
  • 220-grit (CAMI) sandpaper corresponds closely to (FEPA) P-180 or P-220
  • 400-grit (CAMI) sandpaper corresponds closely to (FEPA) P-600 or P-800

Selecting the Correct Coarseness

To make choosing sandpaper easier, manufacturers identify a coarseness level in words on the package in addition to the specific grade. This is essentially a range of grit sizes that are similarly effective for the same sanding work. In fact, it’s not uncommon for projects to call for a certain coarseness level as opposed to a specific grit of sandpaper, so it’s Smart to know what each level includes.

grinding, wheel, flap, disc
  • Extra coarse sandpaper in the 24- to 36-grit range is tough stuff. It’s used for removing paint and varnish that you think might never come off. The sanding of old floors may also require the abrasiveness of extra coarse sandpaper. Don’t even think about using this stuff on any but the toughest jobs.
  • Coarsesandpaper‘s strong suit is the rough shaping of wood and the removal of previous finishes, such as light coats of polyurethane. Coarse grits are typically in the 40- to 50-grit range.
  • Mediumsandpaper, ranging from 60- to 100-grit, accommodates some final shaping. Primary sanding of rough wood and the removal of planning marks on wood is often best done with medium-grit sandpaper.
  • Fine sandpapers range from 120- to 220-grit. For most home workshops, this sandpaper will suffice for final sanding before the work is finished.
  • Extra finesandpaper is often used between coats of paint or varnish. Grits of 240, 320 and 400 are termed very fine, while extra- or superfine sheets with grits of up to 600 are best-suited for polishing jobs.

Note: On many projects, you’ll start with a coarse sandpaper grit, and then switch to finer grits to obtain a smooth finish.

grinding, wheel, flap, disc

Choosing Grit Material

Not only does the density of sandpaper grit make a difference in the success of your sanding project, but the type of abrasive material does, too. Some types of grit grain are better suited to smooth and sand types of materials (wood versus metal, for example). Most manufacturers list the type of material best suited for sanding on their product labels, but it’s Smart to know what type of grit to look for before you shop.

  • Flint: A natural grain, flint is durable and well suited for sanding off surface products, such as old varnish or paint.
  • Emery: A natural grain, emery sandpaper is most often used for removing corrosion and/or polishing steel and other metals. The edges of its particles can be too sharp for sanding wood.
  • Garnet: Another natural grain, garnet is slightly softer than flint or emery, so it tends to dull relatively quickly when used to sand metal. It’s best-suited for fine sanding of wood.
  • Zirconia alumina: A synthetic product, this grit is long-lasting and well-suited for grinding away burrs on metal and for an initial sanding of rough wood. When sanding metal with zirconia alumina, the grit particles can actually become sharper, so you won’t have to change sandpaper frequently.
  • Aluminum oxide: Another very durable synthetic grit, aluminum oxide is well suited for sanding and polishing various types of metal, including bronze and alloy steel, in addition to being a good choice for sanding all types of hardwoods.
  • Silicon carbide: The most durable of all synthetic abrasives. Silicon carbide is good for sanding a wide range of materials, including plastic, metal, hardwoods, and softwoods.

Working with the Right Tools

Sandpaper is very versatile by itself: You can fold a sheet into a palm-sized square, sand until the grit dulls, and then refold it for a fresh sanding surface. If you have a lot to sand, however, you may be better off making use of one or more popular sanding tools. Even with these instruments, choosing the right sandpaper grit and type for the job still applies.

  • Manual hand sander: This inexpensive tool features a pad, often made from rubber; side clamps to secure the sandpaper; and a handle that allows the user to move the sander quickly and easily. Manual hand sanders are great when you need to sand large areas, such as the side of a bookcase that would take much longer if you were sanding with a piece of folded sandpaper.
  • Sanding sponge: Made from a flexible sponge that’s covered with sanding grit, the suppleness of a sanding sponge allows the user to sand rounded edges uniformly just by pressing the sponge on the edge while sanding. Some sanding sponges come with a beveled side that helps with sanding in tight spots, such as around the base of stair balusters.
  • Vibrating palm sander: This corded power sander is small enough to hold in one hand and you can choose from a variety of sanding plate shapes, including square and rectangular for sanding open areas, or triangular for sanding in hard-to-reach spots. Just attach sandpaper (some types of palm sanders accept only pre-cut sanding pads) and flip the switch on—the powerful vibrations do all the sanding work, you only need to guide the sander.
  • Orbital sander: True to its name, this power sander moves in a circular, orbital pattern, which should not be construed as spinning. Imagine placing your palm flat on a table and moving it in a series of small circles—that’s the same motion an orbital sander makes. Orbital sanders, depending on the size and brand, accept either cut pieces of regular sandpaper, or pre-cut sanding pads, and they are well-suited for sanding flat areas.
  • Random orbital sander: Like a regular orbital sander, a random orbital sander moves in circular patterns, but at the same time, the entire sanding base also moves in an arbitrary side-to-side and back-and-forth pattern. This helps prevent sanding marks that can occur if the sander is held in one place too long. Random orbital sanders have circular sanding plates and usually accept only pre-cut sanding disks.
  • Belt sander: The power belt sander packs a lot of sanding power into a handheld sander that usually requires both hands to operate. Pre-packaged sanding belts (loops) are fitted over two cylindrical drums at the base of the sander. When powered-on the drums spin and the sanding belt moves in a continuous direction. Belt sanders are great for removing old varnish or sanding large rough surfaces, but because the belt moves only in one direction, the user must keep the sander moving at all times. If a belt sander is held in one place, it can quickly create deep sanding marks in the wood.
  • Drum sander: The drum sander features a large cylinder that accommodates a wide sanding belt or loop. When the machine is powered-on, the drum spins, sanding in much the same way as a belt sander. Like a belt sander, the drum sander is also fairly aggressive and care should be taken to keep it in motion to prevent sanding marks.
  • Bench-mounted sanders: Sanders that mount permanently to your workbench are mainly used for small woodworking projects. Bench-mounted sanders incorporate one of the above sanding methods; they will vibrate, spin or sand by means of a belt or drum. Instead of moving the sander, the user moves the wood that’s being sanded when operating bench-mounted sander.
  • Floor sanders: Floor sanders feature large belts, drums, or orbital sanding plates that can efficiently remove old varnish on hardwood flooring or grind down warped wood flooring. These powerful machines make quick work of sanding, but they must be operated with care to keep from damaging the wood floor.

The Best Sandpaper, Grinding Blocks, and Abrasives for Pottery and Ceramics

In ceramics, there’s always a need to sand something. Whether it is cleaning the foot of a pot or dealing with a massive glaze run on a kiln shelf, there are a few different tools that will really take care of these problems in effective, safe, and economical ways. This post will cover the best abrasives, sandpaper, and grinding blocks, as well as how to use them. You probably won’t need every single one of these tools, but they’re covered here so that you can find what will work best in your studio.

grinding, wheel, flap, disc

A Grinding Disc That EATS Metal! Victograin VS Traditional Grinding Discs

Safety note: Keep in mind that any sort of sanding or grinding can produce dust. Wear a dust mask or respirator, or when possible, sand wet.

Most Used / Top Pick: The thing I reach for the most is the plastic-backed, purple, pro-grade sandpaper made by 3M. (Pictured at top) It is economical, long lasting, and can be used wet. It’s a simple, versatile tool that has a place in any studio.


There are two sandpapers that I use in the studio: 3M Pro Grade Sandpaper and Emory Cloth. Other sandpapers, such as those designed for wood, don’t hold up under the heavy use needed with ceramics and clay. One advantage of sandpaper, as opposed to solid blocks, is that it is flexible and can be bent, creased, or cut into a variety of shapes if you need to sand hard-to-reach spots.

3M Pro Grade Sandpaper

The purple, plastic-backed 3M Pro Grade Sandpaper is the main tool in my sanding arsenal. It lasts longer than other sandpapers and can be used wet or dry. The plastic backing is advertised as “no-slip grip” and it is easy to hold and control, even when wet.

The paper measures 9 x 11 inches and is available in a variety of grits. I generally stock 80 and 150 grit, but a range of 4 grits from 60 to 220 would probably cover most needs.

The sandpaper can be found in smaller packs ranging from 3 to 6 sheets, or bulk packs with 20 or 100 sheets. 20 sheets will last a long time for individual use, or around 6 months for a busy academic or community studio.

Emory Cloth Sandpaper

Emory Cloth is a cloth-backed sandpaper that can also be used wet or dry, and the cloth backing makes it long-lasting and economical. Emory cloth can be found in sheets or in rolls. It is especially ideal for sanding the bottom of pots when they come out of the glaze firing, to clean up any small burrs or imperfections, or to remove kiln wash.

For emory cloth, I like to buy rolls so that I can cut or rip off just what is needed.

Grinding Blocks

There are a variety of grinding blocks that are useful in the ceramic studio. A block might be used in place of sandpaper, but I usually stock both sandpaper and blocks. The bigger blocks are especially useful for dealing with glaze drips and cleaning kiln shelves while a whetstone can be used to sharpen tools and clean up pots.

Silicon Carbide Rubbing Block

A silicon carbide rubbing block (or grinding block or brick) is one of the most effective ways to deal with glaze drips and to clean up kiln shelves and kiln posts. The blocks come in a variety of sizes, with or without handles, and some have fluting. The fluting is especially useful for grinding rough kiln shelves flat again. A flat-sided block is better for cleaning up the foot of pots or the bottoms of sculptures.

Silicon carbide blocks can be used wet, which is a plus for me because I’m always looking for ways to minimize dust in a studio.

Sanding Flap Disc Vs Backing Wheel Disc | Ano ang pagkakaiba ?

A downside of these rubbing blocks is they are prone to cracking if dropped. This is especially a problem if you crack one with a handle. But don’t despair, the pieces are good until they are ground down to the last bit.

Another downside is they are typically on the rough side, around 20 to 60 grit. This is fine for kiln shelves, but you’ll want to follow up with something a bit finer, such as sandpaper or emory cloth, if you’re sanding the bottom of a pot.

The block with handles are typically 6” x 3” x 1”, but these sizes vary by manufacturer.

Aloxite Blocks and Whetstones

Available at ceramic suppliers, aloxite (aluminum oxide) blocks are smooth, hard, and extremely durable blocks. They are very long lasting, they don’t “shed” a lot of material when used, and they are especially great for sanding the bottom of pots.

Alternately, and easier to find, you can use whetstones designed for sharpening knives. Generally not as hard as aloxite, whetstones are another great option for cleaning small glaze runs, burrs, or rough patches on fired ceramic. They can also be used to sharpen studio tools, such as scissors or fettling knives.

Neither of these smaller blocks are particularly good for cleaning large areas of kiln shelves, but they’re great to use on pots.

Both aloxite stones and whetstones can be used wet, which keeps dust out of the air.

Diamond Hand Pads

Diamond hand pads are the perfect way to sand away burrs, small glaze drips, and rough patches on pots, sculptures, or kiln shelves and posts. Made of industrial-grade diamonds embedded in plastic, these are available from a variety of manufacturers as either soft, flexible pads or semi-hard, foam-backed pads. The foam-backed pads are my favorite because they provide structure and support your hand, but the flexible pads are useful for sanding more complicated shapes. Available as sets or individual pads, my recommendation is to get four individual pads in the range of 50 grit, 100 grit, 200 grit, and maybe 400 grit.

The soft pads are available from Diamond Core Tools, while foam backed pads are available from Diamond Core and other manufacturers such as Stadea or various generic names on Amazon. Expect to spend 15 to 30 per pad, but if used just when needed (use sandpaper for more everyday tasks), they should last for some time, maybe even years.

Like many other tools listed here, these can be used wet, which keeps sanding dust out of the air.

Silicon Carbide Grinding Wheels and Cups for Power Tools

If you have a bench grinder or angle grinder, you should get silicon carbide stones that fit these tools. Silicon carbide will grind through material such as glaze and ceramic without producing excess heat, and it’s the appropriate material to use with non-metallic materials including ceramic, stone, and concrete.

This especially comes in to play with using a bench grinder to clean up glaze drips. If it are not using silicon carbide, the wheel and glaze may get too hot, resulting in potentially dangerous melted bits of glaze. Stick with silicon carbide wheels that are properly dressed and kept in shape. (If you don’t have a dressing tool to keep your wheel even, definitely get one of those too.)

For angle grinders, there are also silicon carbide cups that can quickly clean kiln shelves. These are especially useful if you need to take off all the kiln wash and start with a fresh coat. Keep in mind that angle grinders produce a lot of dust, so do use this tool with caution. Or see the recommendation below about switching to a wet grinder for these types of uses.

Wet Grinders

Rather than an angle grinder, which definitely make a lot of dust, consider a wet grinder for quickly dealing with bad glaze runs or cleaning kiln shelves. A wet grinder has a water feed that keeps a stream of water flowing out of the center arbor hole on the grinder. They can spray water and sanded bits all over,, but if you have a tub or large sink to catch the water, it is not that bad.

It’s best to go with a quality wet grinder, such as a Makita or Flex. (I’ve personally been using a Flex brand grinder for about 7 years). If you carefully read reviews, the cheaper wet grinders can give small electric shocks or stop working after some use. For an electric tool that uses water, you definitely want a quality machine that won’t shock you! And while using, be sure to follow every safety protocol. Personally, in my years of using a Flex variable speed grinder, I’ve never felt one tiny shock.

A variable speed wet grinder is the way to go, as that allows you to control the speed. Slower speeds don’t whip as much water around. Wet grinders are generally used with diamond pads. As with hand pads, in my experience a range of grits from 40 or 60 to around 400 get the job done. I’ve had good luck with Stadea pads (shop at Amazon), both the 4 and 5 inch sizes. The lower grits can wear out quickly, depending on use, so you may want to order a few of those. I originally purchased an entire set that goes all the way up to 3000 and buff, but for cleaning up glaze drips, 400 suits me, so I prefer to purchase individual pads to use with the wet grinder.

One drawback with wet grinders is figuring out the right hose connection. Expect to make a few trips to the hardware store to find the right fittings to connect your wet grinder to a hose or faucet.

Sanding Tips and Tricks

A few ideas to put into practice in your studio:

  • Broken pieces of kiln shelves, especially silicon carbide shelves, make excellent sanding blocks and stones.
  • Rub the bottom of two pots together for a quick post-firing sanding / cleanup. This can be done wet under running water or dip quickly into a bowl of water.
  • A set of sharp chisels and a rubber mallet can help in removing glaze drips from kiln shelves, then follow up with sanding tools.
  • Check out our tutorial for a DIY Interchangeable Grinding Disc
  • Whenever possible, sand wet! It’s the safest way to keep dust out of the air.

Safety Note

Any type of sanding, grinding, or rubbing will create dust. Take appropriate precautions with wearing dust masks or respirators, and eye protection too, when sanding or using power tools.


This post has covered and reviewed a variety of sanding and grinding tools and abrasives for use with ceramics and pottery.

My most-used tools are sandpaper and a silicon carbide rubbing block, but I also have a wet grinder with diamond pads and hand pads. I also keep broken pieces of kiln shelves to use as grinding tools. All of this is done wet, when possible, or I use proper safety protection such as a dust mask and safety glasses when sanding. Sanding, grinding, and cleanup are an inevitable part of working with fired ceramic and the best tools will get the job done for you in a safe, effective, and long-lasting way.

What sanding or grinding tools do you use in the studio? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев.

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