Are Natural Abrasives Better Than Manufactured Abrasives?

Posted by Sandpaper America on Aug 13th 2020

Are Natural Abrasives Better Than Manufactured Abrasives?

Abrasives are used in various ways, and come in various grit sizes, to allow craftsmen to achieve various results. For this reason, it is important to choose the right type of sandpaper for the project if you want to get the end result you have in mind. The dimensions, finishes, and other characteristics are certain elements of a project that require some consideration in terms of abrasives.

Interestingly enough, there are two types of abrasives, natural and manufactured. Of course in today’s age, we are most familiar with the manufactured sandpaper; but throughout history, craftsmen relied on a more natural means of polishing and shaping their art and objects. 

Continue reading to learn about natural abrasives and how they compare to the manufactured ones used today.

Natural Abrasives

In history, sandpaper sheets didn’t exist. So how did the builders and craftsmen achieve the incredible and artful work we see in books and museums today? The answer is natural abrasives. Natural rock and other mineral elements were the go-to tools for sanding and polishing. These minerals included flint, garnet, corundum, and of course, sand. Today, sandpaper grit is actually made from many of these materials combined in aggregate form. Before the 19th century, sand stone was actually cut and shaped into wheels, attached to a spindle, and could be manually operated to sand objects like tools and weapons. Today, this is similar to using a grinding wheel and sanding machine. By the late 19th century, craftsmen caught on and created an actual grinding wheel, more similar to the ones we see today. But as the industrial revolution advanced, people began to notice that the natural minerals were not very reliable or effective for the purposes they needed them for. So in comes manufactured abrasives.

Manufactured Abrasives

At the start of the 20 century, the world of abrasives were revolutionized. In an attempt to synthesize diamonds, Dr. Edward G. Acheson accidentally invented a new type of abrasive that proved to be highly effective for woodworking. And today we call this abrasive silicone carbide. A few years later, another ambitious fellow by the name of Charles Jacobs, used an electric arc furnace to successfully fuse bauxite to make another effective abrasive called Aluminum Oxide-perfect for metal working.

Sandpaper America

Call Sandpaper America at 1-800-860-SAND for information and advice about buying abrasives and sanding products. We offer a wide inventory of online sanding products at the most competitive prices! Our inventories stay full with the highest-quality abrasives and sandpaper products for any type of project. Online ordering is simple and hassle-free, and we even provide bulk orders, custom orders, and more. Call 1-800-860-7263 (SAND) to order sandpaper products online, today!