If you want to carry out a repair on a scratched glass item or smooth out a sharp edge, then learning how to sand glass properly is absolutely essential.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not too difficult to do if you know the steps to take and the right tools to use.
How to Sand Glass like a Pro
Safety First – Protect Yourself When Learning How To Sand Glass
There are a few different methods to use when sanding glass. The best one for you will depend on the item that needs sanding and the number of times you will be carrying out this task.
You may have a choice when it comes to the sanding method, but the safety precautions will be the same for all of them. This is because glass dust or fragments will be in the air as soon as you start to work, so you must take time to protect your eyes, lungs and hands. Safety goggles are a must, as is a simple mask for your mouth and pair of gloves for your hands. These are standard items that are easy to come by and you may already have them in the shed or somewhere else in your home.
Choose Your Preferred Tools
Before starting, you’ve gotta choose the right tools for your task. If it’s a small one (such as a watch’s face), you can probably get by with just getting a few sheets of sandpaper but if it’s a larger, more demanding one (a tabletop for example), then you absolutely need to get yourself an electric sander. It’ll make the job much faster, easier and you’ll also achieve better results.
Random orbital sanders are without a doubt the very best ones for glass due to their scratch-free orbital motion and high-polish capacity – be sure to read the best orbital sanders article to discover the perfect one for you.
If you’re going to be sanding small surfaces but in larger quantity (requiring a machine to speed up the whole process), then getting a simple dremel is a good option. Dremels are multi-function tools handy for lots of little odd jobs and they have a sanding and polishing attachment. As a bonus, Dremels are also very inexpensive.
No matter which machine you end up getting, you will need to have three of four different grades of sandpaper and a polishing pad. A polishing compound is also required for the final stage.
In short, this is how you sand glass: starting with the coarsest paper first, spend around one minute polishing with each grade of paper, lubricating the area lightly with water to keep down the dust. Carefully wipe away the residue between sanding. Finish by polishing the glass with the compound and polishing pad or cloth.
Simple right? Let’s take a closer look at how to sand glass below:
How to Sand Glass in 3 Steps
Follow these steps thoroughly and you’ll be guaranteed to achieve an excellent result.
1 – Wet the Glass Surface
Starting with the coarse sandpaper, wet the glass and sand the area firmly in for around a minute. The use of water offers some lubrication and it also reduces the dust particles in the air. Depending on the shape of the item, it may be easier to sand in a circular movement or in a straight line along an edge.
Rinse or wipe the glass before moving onto the next step.
2 – Climb the Sandpaper Grit Scale
Use the mid-range sandpaper and repeat the sanding, applying a little more water at the same time. Wipe the glass residue once more before moving onto the finer sandpaper. The glass will look milky at this stage, but it should be smooth and deep scratches should have been sanded away.
3 – Achieve a Smooth, High-Quality Finish
The final stage is the polishing process – this is what will make your glass surface crystal clear. Switch the sanding pad for a polishing one and then apply a glass polishing compound, or cerium oxide powder, on the surface. Now, carefully polish in a circular motion and be sure to spend several minutes doing this for the best results. Clean off any residue and there you have it – the glass should now be clear.
The End Result is Worth The Work When You Know How To Sand Glass Properly
The best tip for great results is to take your time. Make sure you have smoothed the area completely with each grade of paper, and always remember to thoroughly clean the glass between each stage. End with a patient polishing process and the glass will be crystal clear, smooth and better than new!