How to Wet Sand Metal

by Mike Biscoe

Wet sanding is used in glass, auto paint and metal applications. For metal, wet sanding is often the best means of removing minor defects due to scratching and also as a means of refinishing a dull surface to a high sheen. Not an especially difficult task, wet sanding metal is more about patience and a watchful eye to determine when the job is complete. Wet sanding requires little preparation and utilizes a few basic items that are affordable and readily available.

Wipe down the surface to be sanded. Spray water on the surface and wipe again. Spray metal degreaser on the surface and wipe with a clean rag. Spray the surface with water once again and wipe with a new clean rag.

Attach 180-grit sandpaper designed specifically for wet sanding to an orbital sander. Fill a small bucket with water and dip the attached sandpaper into the bucket--do not under any circumstances dunk the sander in water as there is a chance of electrical shock. Wet just the paper.

Spray the area to be sanded thoroughly and stop as necessary to apply more water. Sand the surface in a slow, steady motion.

Spray the surface with water and wipe with a rag. Spray the surface again using metal degreaser and a clean rag.

Replace the 180-grit sandpaper with 320-grit sandpaper. Dip the attached paper in the bucket of water. Spray the entire surface with water before sanding the area again. Maintain the same slow, steady pace. Apply water to the surface as necessary--do not let the surface go dry.

Spray the surface with water and wipe again with a rag. Spray metal degreaser on the surface and wipe the area using a clean rag.

Replace the 320-grit sandpaper with 460-grit sandpaper. Dip it into the bucket of water. Spray the surface until covered with water before sanding.

Spray the surface again and wipe with a rag. Spray metal degreaser on the surface and wipe with a clean rag.

Replace the 460-grit sandpaper with 600-grit sandpaper. Dip it into the bucket and spray the surface with more water. Sand the area longer with this grit paper to remove sanding marks and to achieve a high sheen. Clean first with water, then metal degreaser to finish the job.

Tips

  • check When sanding, apply even pressure throughout to avoid damaging the surface.
  • check Use clean rags with every wipe. Avoid dirty rags, as sanding on metal particles can result in further scratches to the surface.
  • check Keep the surface continuously wet to avoid scratching the surface.

Items you will need

About the Author

Mike Biscoe has been writing since 2009. Focusing on travel, sports and entertainment topics, he has credits in various online publications including LIVESTRONG.COM and Trails. He often writes articles covering uncommon travel destinations from firsthand experience. Biscoe holds a Certificate of Completion in acting from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera teaspoon image by Pefkos from Fotolia.com