How to Sand a Table Top

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There are several methods to sand a table top. The process may take a few hours or several days depending on the table’s finish. The steps described here are suitable for both hand-sanding and orbital sanding. In addition, you can sand the top using a table polisher if you desire a more refined look. In addition, hand-sanding requires little skill, so you can even do it yourself in your kitchen.

Typical grit sizes

Typically, a table top will require a grit of at least 100. If the top is made of a thin veneer, you may skip to a higher grit, such as 150. If the top is made of wood, you can skip to grit sizes of up to 220-grit, but this will leave a rough, bumpy surface.

Sandpaper is usually sized by CAMI or FEPA (Federation of European Producers of Abrasives). The letter “P” before a grit number indicates a sandpaper that is sized by FEPA. There are many different grit sizes; therefore, it is difficult to list them all. Generally, CAMI and FEPA grit sizes correspond to one another.

If the table is made of wood, you can start with a coarse sandpaper to remove the old finish and smooth out any bumps or rough patches. After that, you can move to finer grit sandpaper and finish the table by hand. This technique is better for the final finish because you can preserve long lines and sanding lines. Fine-grit sandpaper helps seal the pores in the wood and eliminates small fibers that can show up in the finish.

Typically, grit size 80-240 is used for heavier sanding or stripping. Coarse sandpaper is useful for removing varnish, but it is not recommended for sanding bare wood. For furniture work, use finer grit sandpaper, which is typically found in furniture finishing. The higher the grit size, the more finer the surface will be.


There are two main techniques for sanding a table top. Wet-sanding leaves the surface smooth, but dull. Using fine-grit sandpaper between coats of stain can restore the finish and add shine. Use either a satin or semi-gloss finish. Sanding the table top in this manner produces a thin, fast-drying coat. If the wood is warped, polyurethane will stabilize it.

You must first apply the stain to the table top before you sand it. The stain will appear darker on certain areas than other parts. This is because the stain has different colors on different woods. The manufacturer of the stain will have recommended types of wood that will match a particular stain. Always test a small area with the stain before applying the stain to the entire table. You should wear protective gear when applying the stain.

If the stain is on the table surface, you can use a chemical stripper to remove it. Use the product according to instructions and make sure to place the table top in a well-ventilated area. The chemical stripper will soften the stain and make it easier to remove. After that, you can sand the table top using 80 to 120-grit sandpaper.

Once you have completed the sanding, use a vacuum with a brush attachment to remove 99 percent of dust. You can also use tack cloth, which is available at home centers. Always test the finishes on scrap pieces of wood, as they can have different results. In case of any sanding errors, test on a piece of wood with the same species before applying the finished product. The wood grain may look lighter or darker after a lighter or heavier sanding.

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Typical grit sizes for hand-sanding

First, you need to determine what kind of wood you have and the desired removal rate. If you’re doing the work on a table top that has a thick veneer, you can skip the low grit and go straight to the higher grit. Otherwise, you will have to spend more time on each level. You can also skip ahead to higher grit levels if you’d like to smooth out the surface of your table.

Once you’ve chosen your materials, you need to pick the right sandpaper. For wood, coarse sandpaper is good for removing old finishes and smoothing rough spots. Similarly, fine sandpaper is good for smoothing wood before it’s finished. If you’re removing an old finish, a heavy grit is best for this job. Eighty or sixty-grit sandpaper is heavy enough to cut through an old finish.

Sandpaper grits are measured in square inches. Generally, you’ll start with a coarse grain and progress through finer grits. Uneeda makes several different types of sandpaper, from P24 to 10,000. Each grade is based on the size of abrasive particles. However, the number of grits on the sandpaper can be confusing. To avoid confusion, consider using a sandpaper chart.

The grits you choose for hand-sanding a tabletop are determined by the size of the particles. The coarser grits are best for removing machine marks, but they can also remove deep scratches and washboard ripples. Using the right sandpaper depends on the type of wood you’re sanding and your desired finish.

Typical grit sizes for orbital sander

If you’re preparing a table top for a new finish, you’ll need to choose the appropriate sandpaper size. You’ll need a sander with different grits to achieve the desired finish. While you can buy sandpaper with a variety of grits, it’s a good idea to choose the highest grits possible when you’re first learning how to use a sander. For example, if you’re working on maple, you’ll want to use 150-grit sandpaper. A sander with a higher grit value would be a better option for this project, while one with a lower grit value would be a good choice for a table top.

The sanding process can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes, and it doesn’t require washing the wood. You can use a rotary sander or a sander with a variety of grit sizes. However, if you’re working with heavy wood, you’ll need to use a rotary sander.

Random-orbit sanders work best when the weight of the sander rests on the workpiece. Excessive pressure slows down the pad’s rotation, and can cause swirl marks and thumbnail-scratches. Additionally, random-orbit sanders can’t get into corners, and they may leave swirls in your surface. If you’re not sure which sandpaper to choose, consider hand sanding the final grit. This method is quick and easy, and it will leave a smooth and consistent surface for staining or finishing.

Random orbital sanders also have a variable grit setting, and this allows you to choose the sandpaper that works best for you. You can choose a random orbital sander with various grit sizes, or you can buy the right size for your tabletop. The random orbital sander is a popular option for sanding a table top.

Typical grit sizes for sanding a table top

You have probably seen instructions on your woodworking project to sand the edges after cutting. The difference between coarse and fine grains is apparent from the different grit numbers. Using the wrong grit size can result in a compromised workpiece, so it’s important to follow the proper sanding sequence. In general, coarser grains will produce a smoother table top.

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First, you’ll need to decide on the finish that you want. A smooth, even finish is a desirable outcome. You can choose different grit sizes, ranging from medium to fine, depending on your preference. For example, a table top with a glossy finish should be finished with the coarser grits. For a table top made of wood, coarser grits can be used to remove scratches and gouges. When choosing grits, choose a 50-percent higher grade of sandpaper than the previous one.

The grit size of sandpaper is easily discernible by looking at the grit number. The lower the number, the coarser the grains. The grit number corresponds to the hole pattern of a Ryobi random orbital sander. For example, 100-grit sandpaper has small grains and is 141 microns. A tabletop made of fine-grained wood requires sandpaper with a coarser grit.

Once you know what grit size is appropriate for your sanding project, you can proceed to the next step. Begin by marking the entire surface evenly. This helps you gauge how long the process will take, since the grit size increases with each switch. You can also use the same grit as previously used, but at a slightly higher grit size.

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s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

Itamar Ben-Dor has been in the home improvement business for over 25 years. Itamar Ben-Dor is a jack of all trades. He's worked in the renovation field for years, doing everything from locksmithing to carpentry. He's a small repairs specialist. But his true passion lies in furniture construction and renovation - he loves seeing old pieces come back to life with some new woodwork or a fresh coat of paint.

He has taken courses on many topics in these fields at professional colleges in Israel. Over the years, Itamar has also become quite skilled in gardening, carpentry, and renovations. He's worked on projects of all sizes, from massive renovations to small repairs. No job is too big or too small for him!

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