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Just came across a reference to the use of "scouring rush," aka horsetail, aka snake grass, as an organic sandpaper. It is fairly common in wet areas, and typically is found in large colonies along stream courses where other plants are wiped out by annual flooding. It is a primitive form of fern.

According to the various references, it compares favorably to finer grit sandpapers. The stems are filled w. silica particles. Was often used in early America for cleaning pots and pans, and is still often used in Japan for fine woodworking, etc. In Japan, the stems are boiled before drying.

One Japanese research paper mentions that it performs better than sandpapers up to 600 grit because the tiny bumps in the stem are more uniform in size, and spaced in such a way that the wood dust doesn't load up on the surface so much. This leads to a glossier surface.

Worth looking for the next time one is out harvesting sticks.

As a side note, it grows very vigorously, and if placed in a garden will most likely over run everything else. Best grown in pots.
 

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Gdenby, glad you mentioned the plant is vigorous. In fact it is darn near impossible to eradicate once it becomes established. I would suggest cutting the amount needed at its site rather than moving it live. Even in pots it may escape into your yard.
 
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