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At the end of January, A. J. Hamler wrote a blog entry ranting on several woodworking topics. One of his beefs was how sandpaper is hard to identify once you’ve cut up the sheet, since they only print the grit in one or two places — something we can all probably relate to. Here’s some sandpaper that I bet he’d like.

Color grit abrasives sold by Craft Supplies USA change the backing color of the sandpaper with each grit for easy identification. At a quarter a piece, you can buy a few stickers for around the shop to remind you which color matches which grit. They also print the grit on the back in large numbers.

Craft Supplies USA sells the sandpaper in 80, 120, 180, 240, 320, and 400 grit and claims the cloth-backed aluminum oxide abrasive is flexible and long-lasting. You’ll spend $6.50 for a single 3-3/4″ wide by 6+ feet long roll, or $33 for a combo pack containing rolls of every grit. It’ll cost you a whopping $11 to ship a single roll, but at least shipping only goes up a dollar for the combo pack.

Color Grit Abrasives [Craft Supplies USA]
Color Grit Chart [Craft Supplies USA]

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11 Responses to Color-Coded Sandpaper

  1. Chris says:

    The Norton packs you get at Rockler seem to all be a different color for each grit. Darned if I can remember which is which but it does help sort the little scraps back to the right package.

  2. ToolGuyd says:

    While theoretically a good idea, I hate being tied down to a particular brand of consumables. Plus, what about my 600, 800, 1200, and 2000 grit papers which are harder to differentiate between than coarser grits. And what if I need SiC abrasives instead of Alumina?

    I’ll stick with my usual practice of sticking a masking tape label to the back of scraps that have no grit size markings.

  3. Jerry says:

    I like the concept but it would be pretty sweet if it bacame an industry standard – which it never will. I’ll just keep my trusty “Sharpie” handy.

  4. Kurt says:

    Rather than using different colors, why don’t they just increase the number of time the grit is printed on the back? Once every 2 square inches would do it, you would think.

  5. Scott says:

    I am curious to know what has happened to 100 grit paper. It is getting harder to find all the time. I’m with Jerry, a sharpie is a great shop friend.

  6. I think commenter “Garage Tools” is just seeding the comments with keywords and a link to his website, which will boost his rankings in search engines like Google. You should consider banning and deleting. Especially since he has nothing valid to add to the discussion about sandpaper.

    I have a surplus file cabinet with file folders in it. Each file folder is labeled with the type and grit of sandpaper, and it makes things very easy to find. I can also tell when I am getting low on any particular grit, and it’s super easy to re-stock.

  7. Fong says:

    This seems to be an overcomplicated solution to a simple problem. Printing the grit in more than 1 or 2 places would be a much simpler and cheaper solution than color coding. Without all other manufactures jumping in and maintaining a color standard for grit across the industry, this will never catch on and it’s one more thing to memorize. I only use about 3 different grits in my shop 90% of the time and can tell them apart by feel alone. Good practice for when I finally go blind. =P

  8. Gough says:

    Since we’re always carrying Sharpies, that’s often the easiest solution, especially with the finer grits. As Fong pointed out, a lot of the grits in this range can be sorted out by feel. Where I start to have trouble is once we’re working with #600 and above. I find it tougher to feel the difference between #1500 and #2000. Given the cost of those sheets, I’m less willing to toss the usable pieces that might normally be scraps.

  9. IronHerder says:

    I believe in appropriating every good idea possible (“Steal only the best,” my dad said). But I do have some integrity: I will give appropriate credit when cornered.

    Sandpaper can be segregated many ways, but a solution that is tailored to identifiable personal styles has the best chance for success (duh).

    For me, that would mean spray-painting (color-coding) sandpaper on arrival. I already use spray paint to distinguish metric tools from imperial/SAE tools. In contrast, a sandpaper sorting solution that requires consistency & attention to detail wouldn’t work for me. Say, always finding a sharpie on short notice and then remembering to mark scraps of sandpaper as they are generated. Possible, but less likely than winning the lottery.

    Off-topic gripe: Having colored coded tools is useful only when I work on my pre-2000 domestic vehicles. Rather a silly state of affairs, given that the transition to metric has unnecessarily lasted for decades. For all I know, domestic vehicles built in this century have completed the transition. To find that out, though, would require making car payments, a hard pill to swallow given that I own 20+ vehicles outright. Never mind that all but three bake in the sun & serve as mouse sanctuaries. In my dreams, they are all required backups & future leisure time projects. But then again, I also believe that I can successfully save for retirement by starting an IRA when I turn sixty.


  10. Joe C. says:

    “But then again, I also believe that I can successfully save for retirement by starting an IRA when I turn sixty.” I love it!

  11. Omar de los Santos says:

    Gracias por sus comentarios, pero me gustaria saber mas sobre los abrasivos (sandpaper)del area automotriz si tienen algun ranking.


    Omar de los Santos

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