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Sanding Epoxy Resin Guide 101 [All You Need to Know]

In order to give your epoxy resin workpieces a finished look after curing, you need to sand the surfaces to make them even.

man polishing epoxy table close up.

Since you have looked up this guide, we are pretty sure that you take a keen interest in creating workpieces. Today, we are going to learn about the things you need to take care of while sanding.

We will also be taking a close look at the materials that you will be needing. Be assured that by the end of this article, you will have a firm knowledge of the different kinds of sanding and their pros and cons.

So, without any further ado, let us learn how to properly sand epoxy resin!

Sanding Epoxy Resin 

Modern handmade table made from walnut tree

We bet you know how hard the liquid-casting resin turns during curing; this makes it pretty hard for us to sand the surfaces of the workpiece. The main reason why it becomes so hard is that the abrasive paper used often gets dull almost immediately.

Furthermore, the hard resin totally deteriorates the quality of the sandpaper, which leads us to buy a new one. So, to use the sandpaper well and avoid clogging, we strongly advise you to wet sand epoxy resin surfaces.

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Wet Sanding vs. Dry Sanding

There are essentially two kinds of sanding - wet and dry. Now, you might be wondering, which one is better? We have found out that wet sanding does a better job when compared to dry sanding.

There are a good number of reasons for backing this method. For starters, the abrasive paper employed during wet sanding tends to last longer than the material used while dry sanding.

Also, when you wet sand, you get rid of the unevenness almost immediately, and this process produces less dust because of the moisture. Another important benefit of wet sanding is that the surface of the workpiece becomes much more visible, so it can be taken care of anytime.

But, there are several occasions where dry sanding proves to be more beneficial. For instance, dry sanding works best on materials that are partially made of wood or other similar materials that are moisture sensitive. If you wet sand wooden materials, it would cause the wood to swell up and may also cause hideous stains on the surface.

Apart from this reason, wet sanding always ends up beating dry sanding in most cases. Dry sanding requires a lot of physical effort, and it also creates a good amount of frictional heat and dust. This heat may loosen the resin surface, which might give a matt shine to the surface.

Once the shine is gone, it is very difficult to have it back. Also, wear a mask if you do intend to dry sand as the resin dust is carcinogenic.

Advantages Of Wet Sanding Epoxy Resin

There are quite a few advantages of wet sanding epoxy resin, so let’s take a look at them now.

  1. It Offers Better Results

Wet sanding offers significantly better results than dry sanding. The water cleanses the abrasive particles off the surface, which prevents the sandpaper from clogging, so it can be used for a long period.

  1. No Risk Of Breathing In Dust

There is no dust involved in wet sanding, so it saves you from the dangers of inhaling carcinogenic dust. This is one of the biggest advantages of using wet sanding over dry sanding.

Disadvantages of Wet Sanding Epoxy Resin

Wet sanding comes with its fair share of disadvantages as well. We’ll take a look at them in this section.

  1. The Dust Is Absorbed By The Water Used

The dust generated makes the water used dirty. Often, this contaminated water causes damage to the material, so you must ensure that you cover the materials with a well-built trampoline.

If you do not have access to a trampoline, make sure to cover it with a protective plastic sheet.

  1. The Water Used Leads To the Swelling Of Wooden Parts

While wet sanding, the water can lead to the wooden parts swelling up. So, you must ensure that the wooden parts of the workpieces are not exposed during wet sanding. Other materials similar to wood that are prone to swelling should not be exposed to wet sanding either.

Waterproof Sandpaper | Explained

In order to conduct the process of sand resin by wet sanding in an efficient manner, it is important to get hold of water-resistant sandpaper. It is nothing but sandpaper that is made of silicon carbide.

These special kinds of sandpapers are available in grits ranging between 60 and 4000. Keep in mind that the coarser your water-resistant sandpaper is, the harsher it is for your workpiece material. Coarse water-resistant sandpapers can leave deep starches, which may be very difficult to get rid of.

So, while sanding epoxy resin, ensure that you start with a grit ranging near 120. And after getting the hang of it, you can steadily work up to a finer grit.

Wet Sanding Epoxy Resin 101 - A Beginner's Guide

In this part, we are going to take a look at how you can efficiently perform the process of wet sanding epoxy resin. Wet sanding is mainly performed by hand. We strongly advise you against using electrical equipment as it can give out electric shock because of the water used. You can consider using an air-power sander to work on large surfaces.

Furthermore, you can use a rubber sanding block to ensure that your abrasive paper remains flat during wet sanding. If you are going to sand on a curved surface, we recommend you use a suitable alternative.

If you do not want the hassle of using a sand block or pad, simply use your hand to keep the abrasive paper in a comfortable position before moistening it.

That being said, the downside is that waterproof sandpaper does not bend quite easily. This becomes a problem when you want to use it on uneven surfaces of workpieces or complicatedly shaped epoxy resin pieces. It is very difficult to bend the abrasive paper on these kinds of surfaces.

But, do not worry as there are several alternatives out there for such occurrences; one such alternative is using a Scotch Brite.

During wet sanding, you must ensure that you keep a large water tank nearby. If the ambient temperature is cold, you must use hot water. Always scrub the sandpaper in a regular circular motion while wet sanding epoxy resin, and do not forget to dip the waterproof sandpaper in the water frequently.

Furthermore, you should make it a point to only change the grit to a finer version when there are no traces visible of the older grit on the resin surface.

Tips For Wet Sanding Epoxy Resin

In this section, we’ll discuss some tips that will help achieve better results while wet sanding epoxy resin.

  1. Wet The Surface Instead Of Wetting The Sandpaper

It is always better to wet the surface of your workpiece instead of continuously wetting the sandpaper. We recommend that you consider using a spray bottle to spray water on your workpiece frequently.

  1. Use A Cloth To Remove The Existing Sand Residue

By removing the existing sand residue, you can keep track of how much you are sanding. If you do intend to change to a grain that is finer, ensure that the surface of your workpiece must be cleaned before.

Doing so will prevent your workpiece from sustaining scratches from coarse sand grains.

  1. Use An Electrostatic Dust Cloth

You must use an electrostatic dust cloth if you consider painting right after you finish sanding. Using an electrostatic dust cloth will eliminate the smallest dust particles from the surface so that it does not affect the painting.

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Dry Sanding Epoxy Resin 101 - A Beginner's Guide

Dry sanding is a better option when you are sanding a large area and when time and effort are your prime concerns. While dry sanding, there is going to be a lot of dust involved. So, we strongly suggest you wear a respiratory mask while you are dry sanding. As we have already mentioned before, you must work in an open area or at least in a well-ventilated room.

Keep in mind that these dust are highly toxic, so you must take all the required measures to protect yourself. While dry sanding epoxy, ensure that you start with 200 grit and then slowly make up to 1000 grits.

The sandpaper will likely clog during dry sanding, so we advise you to use a rubber stick to remove all the resin residue from the sandpaper's surface. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should remove any visible sanding traces from your workpiece before changing the grit size.

Tips for Dry Sanding Epoxy Resin

Now, let’s talk about some of the key tips that will help you get better results while dry sanding epoxy resin.

  1. Do Not Apply Too Much Pressure

It is recommended that you do not apply too much pressure while dry sanding epoxy resin. You must keep the pressure from moderate to light. Also, do not sand the same spot over and over again, as it will leave a depression that could show up while you paint your workpiece.

  1. Use A Headlamp While Sanding

If you use a headlamp, it will help you locate spots that need more attention, such as scratches, dings, gouges, etc. If you do find out any of these, make sure that you re-sand them to get better results.

  1. Be Attentive While Cleaning Up

You must be very attentive when you are cleaning up the dust after you are done dry sanding. Keep in mind that this dust is highly toxic to the lungs, and it can mess up the paint's adhesion to your workpiece. The sooner you remove the dust, the better it is for your workpiece.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In this part, we have tried to answer some of the frequently asked questions. We strongly recommend that you read these questions and answers.

  1. What is amine redness?

Anime redness is a sticky layer that gets formed on your workpiece during the process of curing. This mainly happens when there is a consequential fluctuation in temperature in the course of drying.

Sometimes the amine redness is not visible to the eyes since its appearance may alternate, but it can be seen and felt as a dull layer in cold and humid temperatures.

The resin under amine redness is usually damaged, but you should remove it right away as the sandpaper will clog due to the malleable and sticky surface.

  1. How to remove amine redness?

You can remove amine redness by using the following agents

    • Use soapy water and a sponge
    • Use a commercial spirit and a cloth
    • It can also be removed by wet sanding

Even though anime redness is not harmful, it should be removed immediately, if you are interested in giving an extra touch to your workpiece with special paint or epoxy resin. If you do not remove the anime redness, these materials will not be able to bond successfully with the resin.

  1. How to smoothen the resin surface?

The resin surface can be easily smoothened by sanding it. We would recommend you gather all the necessary supplies. You will need sandpaper with a grit size between 400 grits and 1000 grits.

Place the resin on a hard surface and then start applying the sandpaper to it. Keep doing this until you flatten the resin surface.

  1. Can I use a Dremel for sanding resin?

Yes, you can very well use a Dremel instead of sandpaper to sand resin. However, there is one problem, a Dremel does not sand as straight as sandpaper. If you use a Dremel to sand resin, it will leave a lot of gouges that you will have to deal with.

Another problem is that a Dremel is prone to peeling off resins very quickly. Be extra careful; otherwise, there will be depression in your resins that will have to be filled with more resins.

So, if you are hell-bent on using a Dremel, we suggest getting a pair of safety glasses for your own good.

  1. What is the process of sanding resin art?

For sanding resin art, you need to first buy sanding blocks, wet them, and only then use them for sanding resin art. We strongly advise you to pay full attention during the entire process.

Ensure that you do not take much off; only cover the area by 1/8 inch since artwork resins have a self-leveling depth of 1/8. Keep sanding until you get the desired results.

Texture of a wooden table with epoxy resin. nobody.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! That was pretty much everything you needed to know about sanding epoxy resin. Sanding epoxy resin is very important in order to give your workpieces a finished look.

Wet and dry sanding have their fair share of pros and cons, with each meant to be done in different conditions and on different materials.

We hope you found this article informative and that it has provided you with some valuable information regarding wet sanding and dry sanding of epoxy resin.

With that, we wish to take your leave. For further queries or suggestions, kindly leave a comment down below.

Till next time, Adios!

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