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How Do You Minimize Dust When Sanding?

November 02, 2022

How Do You Minimize Dust When Sanding?

When sanding, it is inevitable to have dust and particles appear. However, too much of it can get very annoying and also cause damage to your workpiece. There are several different ways to minimize the amount of dust that occurs when sanding that we will get into later in this article. 

Is Dust Bad When Sanding?

Dust can be very bad, not only for your project, but for you and your health as well. Firstly, when you are sanding something and dust is loading up on the surface, it is bad to keep sanding over it as it will keep you from getting any results on the workpiece. It acts as if you are sanding the dust itself rather than the material you are working on. Dust accumulating on your project can cause the time spent sanding your project to double or take longer than it should. Also, if you are staining or putting oil on after sanding, having dust left over on the surface can make the end result look poorly – this could even cause you to sand all over again. Dust can easily get ingested into your nose and body creating allergies or lots of coughing. Nobody wants to spend hours on hours sanding or having allergies, so let's talk about how to avoid these issues.

Should I Use a Dust Extraction System When Sanding?

Using a dust extraction system when sanding can help minimize the amount of dust tremendously when you are sanding. Generally, if you own a wide belt sanding machine, there is a dust extraction system within it. However, hand sanding or power tools used by hand do not come with a dust management system. Although it does not come with one, it is still important to minimize debris when hand sanding. Some orbital sanders come with a spot on them that allows you to attach a vacuum, allowing for the dust to get removed. It may be a good investment to purchase one to ensure a nice finish on your workpiece. 

Extra Tip; Make sure your belt sander is grounded properly. If it is not grounded properly, it can lead to issues like loading, dust buildup, and scratch lines or imperfections on your project. 

Does the Coating of the Abrasive Help with Debris?

Open coat can be a great option for you if you are concerned about loading. Compared to closed coats which have 90 - 95 percent grain coverage, open coats have around 30% less grain coverage – so around 60 to 65 percent. Since open coats have less coverage, it allows for more airflow when sanding. Not only will it help with heat build up, but it will also be less likely for the dust or debris to get stuck on the sandpaper or work surface because of its more spaced out grains. 

Stearate coating can also help to minimize loading because it has a type of chemical coating on top of the sandpaper grains and acts as a lubricant in between your project and the sandpaper. It will allow for a cooler sanding process and will help to not have dust particles stick to the sandpaper. 

Is There a Grit Sequence I Should Follow?

As most individuals know, sandpaper grits have different removal rates because they come from very coarse to very fine and everything in between. The lower numbers , for example 36 or 60, will be much more coarse than a bigger number, like 320. If you use a fine grit to try to remove a lot of stock, it can cause loading and other issues due to the fact that the sandpaper grit is too fine to be used for stock removal. Following a grit sequence will allow for a better finish while not having to use a lot of pressure.

Does Wet Sanding Help With Dust?

Wet sanding, when aiming for a glossy or polished finish, can be a good choice for you. Wet sanding means using a liquid such as water or a lubricant when sanding and can be beneficial to you. The reason it can be beneficial is because it will help to get rid of scratches in the surface while also eliminating dust and debris. You can use wet sanding for a variety of materials, however you must use a waterproof sandpaper – such as silicon carbide. 

Overall, having no dust or debris when sanding is unrealistic. As mentioned before, it is inevitable; however, these tips can help you keep it under control and to a minimum.