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stumbled over some sanding tricks. My left wrist was operated on two
Christmases past. It's tender and I have to be careful. Wet sanding
caused a couple of problems. Water gets cold, my back gets sore
leaning over the sink in the kitchen, my wrists get achy when doing
small things like pinch pots and beads, I sand off the ends of my
finger tips and gosh. What's a granny to do? Adjust and make
1) The easiest adjustment is to keep the sanding water warm, remember
a bit of liquid soap to keep the grit from adhering to your sand
2) Staple those sand paper sheets together with the coarsest on the
top going down to the most fine on the bottom. Don't make yourself
more work swishing about claydust murky water looking for the right
grit sand paper to use next. It's all stapled together, all in order,
use one, flip it over the staple, use the next, flip, next and Done.
Bango Boingo Bonk. done and done.
3) Do not be cheap when it comes to wet/dry sandpaper, change them
from time to time to keep a good tooth on them or you'll be making
more work for yourself. With the sandpaper grit stapled together, when
my coarsest one is crapped out all of them goes to the garbage.
4) Use the coarsest sand paper to effect shape, don't be shy to get
that bump leveled, the fewer passes will be needed with the finest
sand paper if you're not trying to carve the item with a tooth pick.
That's what it is like when folks use the finer grits to try to shape.
NoWay, that's for smoothing what you've already shaped.
5) I had to move my sanding to a location where I could sit down.
Standing at the kitchen sink, folks want to cook, folks don't wash up
so in order to sand I got to clean up before I sand....hey, what's
wrong with that picture, bad back notwithstanding?
Don't think so, this homie is going to avoid that mess by taking my
largest aluminum mixing bowl I got and dedicating it to the claypen
for the effort of sanding and not standing. "This is dedicated to the
one I RUB." sorry, I couldn't help myself. James said that pun earned
me a special place in Pun-ishment Hell, "You've earned your own
special area, a whole new level of pain."
Some folks say "I can't stand to sand." So sit and sand then. Oh I'm
being a goof, but there's a punny truth in that. Don't stand on your
feet to do what can be done sitting down, after a while your back will
bother you, or your fallen arches, or ... you get the picture.
Claymates like Barb/Elfie got to find another way to sand being in a
When you find another location, where you can sit comfortably, have
kicking space for your feet, don't have to reach up or reach down too
far, you can do some things to still to make your life easier.
6) Got a garment that has big shoulder pads? I had this soft t-shirt
type cotton jacket with HUGE shoulder pads with foam filling. Left
over from the Power Shoulders of the 80's. That shoulder pad has
become my sanding MITTEN. If I have a round pot to sand. I hold this
foam filled cotton lined shoulder pad and put the sand paper over it
and put the round pot on the sand paper and SURROUND the pot gently by squeezing the foam thing.
NO crab pitchy movements that hurts carpel tunnel syndrome folks,
holding little things with finger tips
NO sanding the tips of your finger tips
kiddos, if there's one thing I aim to do here is to make your lives
Embrace the pot or bead in the sandpaper, but separate your hand from
the sandpaper with a sponge, or shoulder pad, or a discarded beany
baby, I don't care what you use, but it'll save you time and effort.
By embracing the pot that way my hand didn't have to close down so
tight hurting what already hurts. The foam gives against the cured
clay, but provides a gentle pressure on the sand paper.
TWIRL your pots around once embraced by the sandpaper and foam thing you've brought to bare. I turn the necks around with my right hand like I'm winding a toy.
Don't hold the pot or bead any harder than it needs just to stay put,
it's not putting up a resistance and trying to run away like a drug
peddler caught in the act, relax... it's an embrace, not a
Keeping the soapy water in the equation to keep things lubed up, pot
or bead embraced, just twirl it around, like you're opening a bottle
See you don't have to work all that hard if you use a sponge, staple
your different grit of sand paper together, use soap in the water and
keep the water warm, and sit down... by a nice window or put in your
7) C-claps... those clamps you can turn a bar and it closes on things.
I used a C-clamp to clamp the shoulder pad, the stapled sand paper, on
the edge of the aluminum bowl. I can roll up the shoulder pad, wrap
the sand paper around it and sand curved areas without grief, and with
8) Using this C-clamped mess on the edge of my bowl I can just lay
flat things on it and with a few passes with each grit size I'm done
with Natasha beads, pendants, and the like. The foam gives to the
pressure and I find this prevents "flattened" areas where we've sanded
against a hard surface, or our finger tips pressed on one area more
9) There are times when I used unstapled larger sheets of sand paper.
When I am sanding tins that don't have built up areas with flowers and
all that on them, just flat tins. I wrap sand paper around the tin and
use both hands and sand both sides at the same time, flat palms
sandwiching the tin in paper and schoootch schootch schootch, rub your
hands in opposite directions, it makes faster work of it.
10) I string tube beads with dental floss, make a bead snake, embrace
the snake in the sandpaper and foam and pull them through while they
are embraced gently, slap the snake down, pull it through, don't make
more work for yourself than need be. Dip that snake o beads in a vat
of Future or other shiny stuff and drape it over a lattice fence made
of bamboo skewers and move on.
So there it is then, 10 sanding tricks and tips that make my life
easier and I hope it does the same for you. If I had a tumbler going
on here in this small apartment, with all these souls sharing space,
there'll be a uproar of outrage for the noise factor.
splish, splash, scootch, scootch they can ignore easier
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