I like to have on hand about 2 sheets of 120 grit, 3 of 180 grit, 4 of 220 grit, 4 of 320 grit, 6 of 400 grit and 6 of 600 grit paper for stripping and smoothing a stock. You may not need much or any of the coarser grits depending on the type of finish and damage to be removed. For shaping and finishing a semi-inletted blank you will probably need a bit more of all these grits. The grits mentioned above should be found at a local hardware store. On occassion a finer grit may be wanted. Woods of complex grain patterns usually have open and close grain. Not all of the close grain may completely fill after wet sanding. These can be filled in a different manner but still require sanding. In such cases grits of 1000 or even 1500 may be desired. I have been able to easily find these and finer grits at auto parts stores. However, I do not recommend purchasing a super fine grit unless you later decide it is needed.
The 320, 400 and 600 grit papers should be of wet-or-dry type since they will also be used to fill the wood grain during wet sanding.
I do not like to use steel wool of any grade on the wood or its finish. The fibers of steel wool find their way into open grain. It has caused me extra work more than once. Finally I have sworn off its use for all but buffing up plastic butt plates and such and then only after the final coat of finish has been applied and the stock is masked off.
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