Sunday, March 3Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Sandpaper in Tagalog? History, Types, and How to Choose

Sandpaper in Tagalog is called “papel de liha,” a thick “paper” designed for smoothing out rough surfaces. Although normally used in carpentry, it can also be used for sanding metal and plastics. Despite its name, sandpaper is not a kind of paper and does not contain sand. Instead, it consists of abrasive particles glued to a backing made of paper. 

sandpaper in tagalog
Sandpaper in the Philippines

The origin of sandpaper can be traced back to the 13th century in China. People used natural gum to bond crushed shells, seeds, and sand on parchment, an animal skin used for writing. In 1833, John Oakey of Walworth, London founded the company that manufactured glass paper, which is different from sandpaper but has the same purpose. 

The difference between glass paper and sandpaper is the abrasive. Glass paper uses glass grit or powdered glass as the abrasive. On the other hand, sandpaper uses different kinds of materials. Depending on where sandpaper will be used, it can be made of alumina-zirconia, aluminum oxide, chromium oxide, garnet, and silicon carbide. 

Alumina-zirconia sandpaper is used in extremely tough metal, fiberglass, and painted surfaces. It is typically in the form of belts, pads, and discs, and is stronger than aluminum oxide. Garnet sandpaper is typically used in polishing glass, leather, metals, plastics, and wood. It is sharp and produces a fine finish, but not durable enough. 

On the other hand, silicon carbide sandpaper is the sharpest and hardest among them all. It is commonly used in automotive, stone, and wet applications. However, aluminum oxide sandpaper is the most common due to its durability and flexibility. Aside from carpentry, this type of sandpaper is also ideal in metal works and high-speed grinding. 

How to Choose the Right Sandpaper Grit

Before buying sandpaper, read the number on the back of the sandpaper. This number represents the grit size or the amount of the abrasive material. A higher grit number means a smoother finish, while a lower grit number means a coarser finish. Sandpaper grits have 8 different categories – Ultra Fine, Super Fine, Extra Fine, Very Fine, Fine, Medium, Coarse, and Extra Course. 

Sandpaper grit standards are set by the Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute (CAMI) in the US and the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives (FEPA). There are also two main subdivisions – micro (higher grit numbers) and macro (low to mid grit numbers). To help you understand more, below is the table for sandpaper grits.

Micro Grit Sandpapers Table


Macro Grit Sandpapers Table

There are no records of the history of sandpaper in the Philippines and no known local sandpaper manufacturer. Nonetheless, there are several sandpaper distributors in the country. Papel de liha can be bought in local hardware nationwide. They are usually sold in sheets and rolls, and you can buy them in boxes or per piece. 

Use papel de liha in a sentence. 


Paki bili ako ng 5 pirasong papel de liha para sa ginagawa kong lamesa. 


Please buy me 5 pieces of sandpaper for the table I am making.


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