Wood carving is a beautiful, calming hobby, and I enjoy taking my time with every bit of the process. I love cutting the log, shaping the wood, sharpening knives, and finishing every little detail of my project. Sanding is a big part of the finishing and polishing. This is why I decided to write 6 sandpaper reviews and talk about what makes the best sandpaper for wood carving, and how is it different from the best sandpaper for woodworking.
In this article, I will share my experience with wood carving sanding tools, and tell you which one, in my opinion, is the best sanding paper for wood. If you are interested in buying a new whittling knife, you should check my review in Best Whittling Knife To Choose In 2020. In case you are taking a break from wood carving knives, you can look up Best Power Wood Carving Tools In 2020 and give electric tools a shot. Also, don’t miss our guide on glue for different types of wood, it’ll be helpful for any carving project that has small details that need to be connected.
- Fandeli 36025 100 Grit Multipurpose Sandpaper Sheets
- Quality material sheets for flat wooden surfaces. Not useful for details and corners of your carving.
- Fandeli 36021 060 Grit Multipurpose Sandpaper Sheets
- Rough sandpaper for multiple uses. Good value for 25 durable sheets.
- 3M - 533440 9019 General Purpose Sandpaper Sheets
- Perfect grit options for the whole sanding process. One set of these sheets can only be used for 2 projects in total.
- 3M Wetordry Sandpaper, Assorted Grit
- A fine assorted grit sheet for polishing a wood carving project. 3 grit levels of fine grit, good size sheet, easy to use.
- LANHU Abrasive Dry Wet Waterproof Sandpaper
- A set of very fine grit sheets, that can be used for smoothing the wood.
When it comes to sandpaper, the key is to choose the right degree of grit you need. There are different types of sanding paper according to how much material they remove – some are for hard brushing, while others are used for final gentle polishing. 60-grit sandpaper is generally used for rough sanding that is the base of the finishing process. After that, a more gentle 100-grit comes to the stage to polish the wood to a smoothness level you are happy with. And finally, 120-180 grit sandpaper is for tiny details and perfecting the wood carving.
So, the best grit sandpaper for wood depends on what you need it for, really, but after trying different grits I realized that, when it comes to wood, it is not useful to use anything softer than 200-grit paper. In these sandpaper reviews, I’ve shared my thoughts on the best woodworking sandpaper and sandpaper that I use for wood carving.
Fandeli 36025 100 Grit Multipurpose Sandpaper Sheets – Quality material for flat surfaces
The sandpapers’ abrasive material works well for softwood and hardwood, and it is efficient in removing imperfections when finalizing my project. The material used is aluminum oxide mineral.
However, the sheets are too stiff and they keep breaking when I fold them. The paper is not durable and it disintegrates very quickly. If you try adding more pressure to it, it will backfire on you. For a 100 grit paper, this one seems a lot rougher in practice.
If you need it for short-term use, it is a fine deal since there are 25 sheets in the pack, and they are not expensive, all things considered.
- Cheap price for 25 sheets.
- Works well with softwood and hardwood.
- Quality abrasive material.
- The sheets are too stiff and they break easily.
- The grit layer does not stand any pressure and disintegrates easily.
To Sum Up
In theory, this sandpaper is good for removing lumps from your carving, but it is very delicate because it is stiff and doesn’t react well when you bend it. I recommend you use it for flat surfaces, but don’t bother if you have a carving project with many corners and details.
Fandeli 36021 060 Grit Multipurpose Sandpaper Sheets – Durable and highly abrasive sandpaper
Fandeli multipurpose sheets are good for high wood removal, also made of high-quality aluminum oxide mineral. The 60-grit sheets are highly abrasive, and with their surface, you can remove an extensive amount of wood and even up all the lumps you come across.
The package includes 25 sheets, 9×11 inches, and they are good to be used more than once. In fact, every next time you use them it gets easier because they become softer and then you can reach even the delicate corners of your carving.
- Sandpaper can be used multiple times.
- The more often you use the sheets, the softer they get.
- Highly abrasive, rough sandpaper grade.
- The sheets are super stiff when you first unpack them.
- More expensive than it is worth.
To Sum Up
This is a rough sanding paper for wood that is very durable and handy to use multiple times. It is very stiff at the beginning and difficult to apply in delicate places. It is a little overpriced, in my opinion, but for 25 pieces you might consider it a fair deal.
3M – 533440 9019 General Purpose Sandpaper Sheets – 3 grit papers in one box (2 of each)
This assorted-grit package contains 60, 100, and 150 grit sheets, 2 pieces of each. This is an aluminum oxide sandpaper, considered a general-purpose abrasive, and can be used for finishing your project entirely.
With each sandpaper sheet, you should sand with the grain of the wood. Start with the hardest, 60 grit paper, to remove any extra layers from your carving. Then move onto the 100 for leveling the surfaces out, and finally polish everything with the more gentle 150 grit paper.
With this paper, you can even work on your final project after gluing and painting. It is a good size paper, but it is not good for woodworking since it doesn’t last for more than one project. Each sheet can only be used once, and this is why I think it’s too expensive overall.
- A full pack of sandpapers - 60, 100, and 150 grit, 2 pieces of each.
- Great size and quality abrasive material.
- It can be used on painted wood.
- Doesn’t last long - each sheet can only be used once.
To Sum Up
I purchase this pack when I have an urge to finish-up a quality project, so I am looking for 3 grit papers in one box. However, this is not my standard choice, and I would rather buy them separately if that means they will last longer and be cheaper in the long run.
3M Wetordry Sandpaper, Assorted Grit – A very fine assorted grit sandpaper for general use
This assorted grit pack of sandpaper is intended for more general use. You can use it for metal, glass, ceramics. But, there are qualities of this toolkit that make it good for both woodworking and wood carving as well.
First of all, the pack contains 5 sheets 9×11 inches in total, among which is one very fine (220 grit), two extra fine sheets (320 grit), and two superfine (400). This makes it ideal for completing your projects to the level of perfection and prepping the wood for oiling, waxing, and painting.
The downside of this assorted grit is that it only contains the finest grit sandpaper for wood, which means you would need to purchase rough sandpaper on the side. However, it is a good value and I recommend you have one of these nearby.
- Fine sandpaper for wood polishing.
- Three levels of fine grit, 5 sheets in total.
- Good size of the sheet.
- It is a bit expensive if you don’t really need three fine grit levels in a single purchase.
To Sum Up
When it comes to fine-grit sandpaper, these grit levels are all you will need, really. The size of the wood sanding paper sheets is good, and the material is of good quality, so they are easy to use and practical for the final touch of your project.
LANHU Abrasive Dry Wet Waterproof Sandpaper – Best for smoothing the wood to perfection
Now, this is what I call a fine assorted grit. This pack of sandpaper sheets contains 12 sheets in total, and with the grit of 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500. It is intended for all kinds of work around the house, but you won’t often use it in wood carving unless you are a professional carver.
Sandpaper sheets are made of grit silicon carbide, which is different than other sandpaper you can usually find. It is excellent quality material and will be very durable in your workshop.
Now, the sheets on their own are super small – 2.8×4.5 inches, which is what the manufacturers call “compact”, but I like to call it “impractical”. The only time I ever use these is when I try to finish-up the tiny details of my project, but other than that they are just collecting dust in my workshop.
- Super good quality of the abrasive material.
- The finest set of sandpaper you can find.
- Good for professional carvers.
- The sheets are very small and not practical to use.
- The pack is way too expensive.
To Sum Up
This is among the finest sandpaper for wood I could find, but to be honest I rarely use all the grit levels. It is the best sandpaper for smoothing wood, but unless that is what you need for your projects, then it doesn’t make sense for you to have one.
Zona 37-948 3M Wet/Dry Polishing Paper – The finest sandpaper you can find
Grit levels in the Zona pack are the following: 400, 600, 1200, 4000, 6000, and 8000. These papers are intended for plastic and metal objects that you need to polish until they shine, but I don’t know any carvers that actually use this fine grit.
The size of the sheets is really good, 8.5×11 inches, and it is comfortable to use, plus very durable. I found them useful for painted and waxed carvings that I already thought were finished, but with this toolset, I ran an extra mile and gave them a different kind of glow.
The materials that this paper is made of is some sort of synthetic fiber, and it doesn’t behave like a classic sanding paper. But, as I said, these grit levels are good when you want to freshen up the look of your carvings that you have finished a long time ago.
- Good size, very practical.
- Durable synthetic material.
- Handy for maintaining the glow of your carvings.
- Such fine grits aren’t often used in wood carving.
- A very expensive package for a woodcarver.
To Sum Up
If you were thinking of buying this paper to finish your carving projects, it won’t be of much help. The only good application is for maintenance of your figures that were already finished, waxed, and painted over.
When I think of the best sandpaper for wood, the first one that comes to mind is the Fandeli 36021 060 Grit Multipurpose Sandpaper Sheets, for many reasons. First of all, rough sandpaper is essential for the process, and it is very important to me to have one I can rely on. This product comes with 25 sheets that are very durable, high quality, and perfect dimensions for my needs.
Now, for the best sandpaper for woodworking, I would have to choose the same winner. When sanding wood, in general, there isn’t much need to use fine and superfine sandpaper. It is handy to have one on you for when you really want to make the best out of your project, and my go-to choice is 3M Wetordry Sandpaper, Assorted Grit, which I find to be just fine enough.
I hope you enjoyed my sandpaper review, and that my experience can help you out in choosing what is best for you and your carving style.