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Glorious grits

Working in the modern woodshop is a colorful experience.

When I was a kid, sandpaper came in either brown (regular), or black (wet/dry or emery cloth). Sure, there were lots of shades of brown ranging from dark brown to tan, but still it was all brown.

Then not too many years ago abrasives got creative.

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Of course, back in the old days tools came in only one color: gray. I guess it was starting to make tools in just about every conceivable color that got the ball rolling for sandpaper to join the club. My go-to paper at the time – Norton – keyed the color to grits with blue being the coarsest, red intermediate and yellow the higher grits. Although they had more grit levels than just three colors, it was still a good general guide when grabbing paper out of a drawer.

But today, as attested by the photo above, there are not only myriad colors among brands, but the general color-denotes-grit idea isn’t as common. Plus, the variance from one manufacturer to another is so wide as to not be that useful anymore.

Still, I like it. All this sandpaper, combined with my tools – yellow, a couple shades each of green and orange, red, blue (at least five shades!), and even some black and gray – make every day like working in a rainbow. No wonder I’m happy whenever I’m in the shop.

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