One of the automotive websites that links over to the Abrasive Resource website www.abrasiveresource.com has "How-To" information and we were interested to see that they include some articles on automotive finishing! Here are some excerpts from their article "Using Body Filler":
First, the bodyman finishes the filler work to 80 grit, then a quick trip over the filler and old paint edge with 180 grit on a DA sander (lightly to not destroy the shaping), then feather edge the surrounding repair with 320 grit on a DA sander. Scuff a little past the area to be primed with a 6 x 9 maroon scuff pad. Prime the area and after it has cured any areas that need slight block sanding can be done with a 320 grit on the primer.
Basic Guidelines for Automotive Sanding:
24-36 grit for paint removal, bare metal Bondo prep and roughing out the filler with an air file or hand board.
60-80 grit for smoothing out the rough scratches from the previous operation and shaping fine contours.
80-180 grit for further smoothing in preparation for high-build catalyzed primers (with hardner) or 240-320 grit for lacquer-based (non-catalyzed) primers.
220-600 grit for final sanding prep before paint, following the manufacturers guidelines on their product information sheet.
600-2000 grit for sanding clear coats or for removing minor surface imperfections prior to polishing and buffing.
For more information, check out www.Roadsters.com. A guy named Dave created Roadsters.com back in the summer of 1996, and continues to update it every day. The site is used by thousands of automotive professionals and hobbyists to quickly access organized links to around 8,000 quality automotive and motorcycle Web sites.