Glossary of Terms


  • Air File – long, narrow PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive) or clip on type finishing sander. Used in the auto industry.

    Aluminum Oxide – a synthetic mineral with a brown-tone color, it is the most widely used abrasive. It can be used for metal, wood and plastic and is long-lasting and durable.

    Angle Grinder – a hand-held machine that is used for light to medium sanding on wood, metal and other surfaces. It uses a disc that sands or cuts at a right angle.


  • Bastard Cut – Coarse teeth for rapid material removal.
    Belt Sander – a machine used to sand down wood and other materials for finishing purposes. A belt of sandpaper is mounted on a pair of drums on the machine. The drums turn and allow the sandpaper to remove the material.

    Bench Grinder – machine used to drive an abrasive wheel. Mounted in a stationary position for use with vitrified aluminum wheels or silicon carbide griding wheels, wire brushes, flap and buffing wheels. Sizes can range from 6″ through 14″.

    Bonded Abrasives – abrasives that are bonded together using glue such as phenolic resin. Grinding wheels and cut-off wheels are considered as bonded abrasives.


  • Coated Abrasives – used in the production of abrasive papers and sanding discs. Backing material can be made from a variety of materials, including paper and cloth. A synthetic resin bond is used to make the coating in which the abrasive grit material is bonded to.

    Cut-Off Wheel – bonded abrasive blade used for cutting metal.


  • Die Grinder – a small high speed, inline grinder. Used to polish and buff the inside of cylindrical objects.

    Doodlebug – industry term for non-woven material in rectangular or circular pad form. Used with a holder to clean and prepare surfaces for paint or chemical treatment.

    Dual Action Sander – dual action, random orbital, oscillating round pad, finishing sander.


  • Emery – a natural mineral that is black in color. Applications include rust removal, polishing and sanding.


  • Fiber Disc – a coated abrasive disc that is used with an angle grinder. Applications include stripping paint from metal, wood, fiberglass, deburring, polishing and grinding.


  • Grinding “rocks” – traditional regional term used to describe grinding wheels of all types, mainly T27.

  • Hook and Loop – also known as Velcro®. A method of mounting finishing discs or sheets. More expensive than PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive), but allows changing of grit types before disc or sheet is finished.


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  • Jitterburg – a square pad oscillating finish sander.

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  • Mixed Sanding Wheel – made of non-woven abrasive and mixed with single or multiple abrasive paper or cloth leafs.

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  • Premium Zirconia – a grain that is characterized as being self-sharpening each time it is used. Bluish in color, it is durable when used on heavy stock removal applications and is well suited for heavy grinding of metals and wood.

    Pressure Sensitive Adhesive – also known as PSA. Peel and stick method of mounting finishing discs or sheets of abrasives.


  • Quickie Saw – a high speed gas powered saw which came about from the Target brand Quickie Saw. Normally used with diamond cutting blades but could also mean a saw using abrasive blades.


  • Rol-Loc Disc – known as “prep pads” and “cookies”. They are non-woven, surface condition discs with 3M style mounting.

    RASPS – Rasps are typically used to roughly shape a project before fine-tuning it with a fine file and sandpaper. Rasps have deeper and coarser cuts than files because they have separate and triangular, rather than parallel, lines of teeth. Rasps scrape away wood rather than plane it away as files do. The rasp is well suited for shaping wood quickly.


  • Second Cut – Medium teeth for moderate material removal.

    Silicon Carbide – a hard abrasive that is superior to other grains because of its ability to penetrate and cut faster than other abrasives. It is commonly found in black color, but can often be found in green. It is ideal for working on non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, brass, bronze and also non-metallic materials such as wood, plastic and glass. It does not last as long as aluminum oxide.

    Skilsaw – a hand-held circular saw. It is driven indirectly by a perpendiculary mounted motor. Also known as a “worm drive” circular saw. Not to be confused with a “contractor saw” which has a different drive motor arrangement.

    Smooth Cut – Fine teeth for a smooth finish.


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  • Walk Behind Saw – used to cut concrete and ashpalt surfaces with an abrasive or diamond cutting blade. Found in 12″ to 14″ diameters. These saws are gas powered and are pushed by the operator from behind while cutting.


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