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How to Use Wet/Dry Sandpaper

Updated July 20, 2017

Wet/dry sandpaper is specially formed, versatile sandpaper. Using wet sandpaper after applying a paint, lacquer or varnish will give the project a glasslike finish and smooth appearance. Use dry sandpaper to remove the finish, paint or lacquer from a surface and smooth its imperfections. Wet/dry sandpaper has a specially formulated waterproof backing that can resist breaking down when used in a wet application.

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  1. Dip the wet sandpaper into a bowl of water and thoroughly wet the sandpaper.

  2. Sand the wood with the wet sandpaper, sanding with the grain of the wood. Use long and steady strokes as you work.

  3. Re-wet the sandpaper by dipping it back into the bowl of water throughout the sanding process. Don't allow the sandpaper to dry while sanding over the finish, or the sandpaper may remove the finish instead of smoothing it.

  4. Place dry sandpaper onto dry wood and sand with the wood's grain.

  5. Stop after making several strokes with the sandpaper to wipe or brush away the sanding dust.

  6. Continue to sand the wood with the dry sandpaper until the piece has a smooth and even finish.

  7. Tip

    Don't wet-sand bare wood. Wet sanding is performed between coats of a finish such as paint or lacquer to smooth the finish of the wood project. Never sand against the grain of wood.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bowl of water

About the Author

Michelle Keefe

Michelle Keefe has been writing professionally since 2008 as a freelance writer. She has had numerous articles published in online magazines and websites. Keefe has a bachelor's degree in education and an associate degree in computer information systems.

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