Friday, 15 May 2009

Toolbox - the sanding tools

Welcome to part two, this time the sanding tools.

The first photo shows some of my well-worn Sanding Sticks, pieces of scrap wood with Aluminium Oxide sandpaper stuck to one (or both) sides to produce 'sandpaper files'. I first become aware of these when I was at school - my Technical Drawing teacher used to use simple versions to keep sharp points on the pencils. Later I was reading and article in Finescale Modeller about a modeller who carved airplanes from wood and used sanding sticks that were in fact old wooden rulers with different grades of sandpaper attached with double sided sellotape!

The Aluminium Oxide paper is from Wilko's, and sold in packs of different grades for a couple of pounds. One pack should last years. The smallest one is not wood but sandpaper stuck to an eraser, perfect for small and curved parts, that's the great thing about these tools, if you have a specific modelling problem, you can custom build a sanding stick to match!

One other option is to use a layering construction technique; Wood - Double-Sided Sellotape - Polystyrene (from frozen Pizza packaging) - Double-Sided Sellotape - Sandpaper, this gives a sanding stick that has the slight 'give' of the manicuring boards.

I would recommend these simple and inexpensive tools to all modellers. The largest is 200mm long, 40mm wide and 15mm thick. The one at the bottom of the picture has a very rough grade.

Photo two, shows some of the very wide selection of Nail Files or Emery Boards I use, which you can buy from chemists, take a whole variety and see which best suits you. My favourite are from Poundland, three for one pound and on the back they have small plastic, half beads, which can be used for making turrets or look-out domes.

The bright pink one is a standard no-nonsense plain emery board, while the Flexifile (still in its packaging) is purposely designed for plastic modellers.

Finally we have the Sanding Boards, two examples of sandpaper/Aluminium Oxide paper attached with double-sided sellotape to plate glass chopping boards. MAKE SURE THE GLASS IS TOUGHENED, chopping boards or small glass shelves can be found in cheap Pound stores in the UK and will last a lifetime. The top board has 3M's Aluminium Oxide paper (medium) attached.

This one has three different grades of paper (from Wilko's), rough, medium and smooth. The scalpel gives an idea of size.

There you have it - my main sanding tools.



Bill said...

I do the same sort of thing. I usually use contact cement rather than double-sided tape; it holds the sandpaper in place much better. In addition to wood and glass, I stick sandpaper to odd-shaped pieces of styrene sheet when I need to get into tight places.

I have a several small glass cutting boards that I've stuck various grits of wet/dry sandpaper onto. I also have a small baking pan that can hold a board. When I want to wet sand something, I put just enough water into the pan to cover a board and do the sanding in it. That keeps the dust out of the air and gives a smoother surface than dry sanding.

Tony said...

I've read about a 'wet sanding board' before. I really should try it - for both my health and as you have said a smoother surface.