MicroMesh and Nails

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:25 pm
Location: Roanoke, Virginia

MicroMesh and Nails

Post by daverkb » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:17 pm

Nail Shaping Materials
-- MicroMesh, wet/dry sandpaper and sanding pads
-- and where to buy

MicroMesh is a pliable cloth backed abrasive material which is mostly used by woodworkers. But also, many classical guitarists have adopted MicroMesh as their preferred medium for contouring their nails. Micro Mesh comes in a variety of grits. The coarser grits are useful for the rapid contouring of a player’s nails while the finer grits are useful for imparting a fine polish to the nail edges. One can also use other cloth backed sandpapers, but it is usually more expensive to do so as most often one must buy more sanding material than one is able to conveniently use.

A Few Places Offering MicroMesh

Strings by Mail:

Strings By Mail (SBM) offers both individual sheets and variety packs of MicroMesh sandpaper for a guitar player’s nail care. The grade sizes range from 12000, 8000, 6000, 4000, 3200, and 2400. And if you are ordering strings or other items at the same time, there is the added benefit that shipping costs are lowered. The downside of ordering from Strings by Mail is that they do not seem to carry the 1500 and 1800 grades of grit, and that may be of importance to some people.

Strings by Mail does not indicate the sheet size. So you might want to inquire.

R and B Crafts on e - b a y:

This is the one of the best places to buy MicroMesh sandpaper. It is the same cloth backed item as sold by SBM. And additionally, R and B Crafts offers 9 MicroMesh grades –  1500, 1800, 2400, 3200, 3600, 4000, 6000, 8000, and 12000 for only $15.75 with Free Standard Shipping included. Indeed, this is a value – especially for those who like the 1500 and 1800 grades. As as added note, I was able to inspect the sheets with the magnifier feature in the product window, and so I was able to verify that this was indeed the very same product which I had bought several years ago and liked so much.

This e - b a y seller has an Internet site where you can save, depending upon your location, somewhere between a $1.00 to $1.50 on shipping by dealing directly with the vendor.

Peachtree Woodworking Supply

This is another site worth knowing about. First, you can buy the same complete range of papers as from R and B Crafts, all for $16.99 plus shipping. The $16.99 includes a sanding block. Most importantly, Peachtree also offers sets of 5 ea. of any grade, and thus you can economically replace grit sizes as you use them up. And by the way, five sheets of each grade will last your a very, very long time!

yart777 (seller name) on e - b a y:

This is not MicroMesh paper. It’s wet/dry paper – 50 sheets of sandpaper, 3”x 5 ½" – ten sheets each of these sizes, 1500/2000/2500/3000/5000. As to fineness and in spite of the numerical designations, these wet/dry papers are really more equivalent to MicroMesh sizes in the 4000 to 12000 sizes.

Wet/dry sandpapers are not as pliable as MicroMesh, but as a treated paper product, wet/dry is far more bendable than the old-timey conventional garnet sandpapers. Thus, I can easily bend this product in repeated use around my contoured sanding grips and get a good use out of this material. And since the very finer grits of MicroMesh tend to wear out rather quickly, buying 50 sheets at a price of 34 cents a sheet a very cost-effective economy measure.

Contoured Sanding Grips

Many people like sanding blocks as included in some sets sanding paper. However, there is another option and that is contoured sanding grips as used in woodworking. I find them easy to use, and because they have varying contoured surfaces, it’s easy to get at the nails from various angles of dangle. Contoured sanding grips are also called sanding pads or sanding profiles by some people. Whatever the name, it’s all the same thing.

Sanding grips are marketed in sets, but as a caution I would avoid the sets of concave profiles as being too awkward for practical use. They just don’t fit well in a guitar player’s hand. Instead, I would buy either the rounded or angled profiles. My own preference is for the WoodRiver angled profiles which I have just bought, but then again … when I use the WoodRiver rounded profiles, I then like them as being the best. And so, rounded or angled? I’ll just have to leave that judgment up to you! And maybe, if I get real lucky, I’ll get some comments back from you all on this aspect.

Where to buy? You can, of course, do your own search. But to save you time, Woodcraft offers a particularly sturdy sets of sanding grips made by WoodRiver. And again, and not to confuse you, whether termed sanding grips or sanding pads – or even sanding profiles, it’s the same thing.

Woodcraft is a woodworkers supply store, and there may be a store near you. Buying from the store near you eliminates a bit of shipping cost, but you can also make your purchase directly over the Internet from the Woodcraft site. I have also included Woodcraft on e - b a y as seen in the above links because the magnifier feature on e - b a y gives you a very good idea as to what the product actually looks like. And, of course, you can place an e - b a y order as well if you so choose.

The Angle Sanding Pads. They sell in a 4 pack for $5.79. To get the 3 rounded pads, you’ll have to buy a 6 pack costing $9.50 which also has three concave pads. What I like most about the Woodcraft pads as made by WoodRiver is that the flat surface of the pads is thick enough so that the pad does not wobble around in your hand while you are sanding your nails.


Some of you will be very happy to stay with the nail files you already use. But some of you might be looking for the control and cost-effectiveness which I seem to find in using the contoured sanding pads. If this is you, then the above information will save you a lot of ‘looking around’ time. And as always, I look forward to your comments.

User avatar
Posts: 9502
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:55 am
Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Re: MicroMesh and Nails

Post by pogmoor » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:38 pm

A number of links to commercial sites have been removed from the above post. This forum is essentially non-commercial in its ethos and direct links to commercial sites are deprecated. However there is no objection to providing enabling search terms.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

Posts: 300
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: MicroMesh and Nails

Post by dtoh » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:08 pm

I've used contoured sanding grips in the past. They work really well. Recently however, I've been using flexible rubber back nail files. You can get them in grits from 100 to 6000. Not quite as precise as sanding pads, but IMHO a little easier to use. Certainly much better than any kind of a rigid file or using paper/mesh product without backing.

User avatar
Posts: 6558
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: MicroMesh and Nails

Post by petermc61 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:43 pm

I must note that the ‘shipping included’ comments in the original post probably only apply for US domestic customers. Given this is an international site readers might bear that in mind.

SBM micromesh sheets are 100mm x 75mm (4” x 3”) and seem perfectly sized to my mind. They are washable. I seem to get about 18 months from a set before I feel a need to replace them.

Posts: 1103
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:17 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: MicroMesh and Nails

Post by JohnB » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:18 am

I'm very sensitive to nail noise and have been using micromesh sheets for a few years.

However, recently I've been using a glass file for shaping and a "beauty" nail buffing block with 4 sides (shape, smooth, buff, polish) for smoothing and polishing - the "polish" side gives a very good final polish to the nail edge.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso", Christopher Dean 2018, Ana Maria Espinosa 2014

Posts: 300
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: MicroMesh and Nails

Post by dtoh » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:13 am

JohnB wrote:
Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:18 am
I'm very sensitive to nail noise and have been using micromesh sheets for a few years.

However, recently I've been using a glass file for shaping and a "beauty" nail buffing block with 4 sides (shape, smooth, buff, polish) for smoothing and polishing - the "polish" side gives a very good final polish to the nail edge.
I used to use the beauty nail buffing block. I had a couple of issues.
  • Little hard to get to the underside of the nail because of the shape of the block.
    A little too short.
I find that individual flexible rubber backed files work a bit better in these regards.

Return to “Use of nails in playing the classical guitar”