sandpaper, abrasive originally made by gluing grains of sand to heavy paper sheets. Today sandpaper is made primarily with quartz, aluminum oxide, or silicon carbide grains, and is graded according to the size of the grains. It is used for smoothing and polishing, for removing old paint or varnish, and for otherwise preparing wood surfaces for refinishing or other treatment.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.