If you are in the habit of doing elaborate and detailed piercing, you have probably discovered that it’s easy to make crevasses and crannies with a saw blade that are tough to clean up and finish with even the smallest needle or escapement files. It probably also really annoys you when you can’t get your lines as exquisitely clean and crisp as you want them. Fret no more! There is a way to sand the edges of even the smallest fissure….
As usual, you will need some stuff….
Materials & Tools
- leftover strips of sand paper (saved from making Custom Sanding Sticks, right?)
- strapping tape (the kind with fibers running the length of it)
- saw frame
1) Cut a piece of your sand paper that’s the same length as a regular saw blade (5-1/8″ or a bit longer if you like).
2) Cover the back of the strip of sandpaper with strapping tape. Don’t overlap the tape, but do cover the surface completely, and make sure the fibers in the tape run along the length of the paper.
3) Cut narrow strips of your strapping-tape-backed sand paper. Put any extra cut strips into an envelope, cigar tube, or other marked container, so you know what grit they are.
4) Clamp one end of the strip into your saw frame, and thread the strip through the hole you want to sand. When you clamp the second end of the sandpaper strip into the saw frame, put only a small amount of tension on it. The fibers in the strapping tape will hold the strip together and prevent it from tearing immediately in two, but the tape can only handle a fraction of the tension you can put on a steel saw blade.
5) Use a regular sawing motion to sand, pushing slightly towards the side with the grit on it. The beauty of the micro sanding strip is that it cuts when moving both up and down, rather than only on the down stroke like a saw blade. Of course, it also cuts on only one side. You can make wider strips – up to the width of the clamp area on your saw frame – but the narrowest strip you can make will be one with only a single fiber from the strapping tape running down the back of it.
P.S. The ornament I’m sanding in the photos? That’s a piece I made for the annual Christmas Ornament Exchange Holiday Party held by the Seattle Metals Guild. I seem to have fallen into the habit of always making an ornament with a bat theme :). This one is a snowflake of caroling bats, hence the sheet music and the candles. The beautiful hostess of the 2013 party drew my name and received this ornament. Most fitting!
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