Monday, January 19, 2015

Smoothing it Over - Day 19 of 31 Days of Organizing

After the Cutting we may need to sand or file, so I'm talking about storing these tools and supplies.

I don't really have that many of these supplies, but since it was something that is a needed tool in miniatures, I wanted to talk about.
I have a drawer full of various sandpapers that I bought new or got from at a yard sale of another miniaturist's items.  In this same drawer are a set of larger files and also some sanding blocks. This big drawer isn't really organized beyond having these items in the same place.  That is what is important to me in storing/organizing this type of item.

I love sanding blocks.  I got mine at a beauty supply place.  They usually come in two different grits on three sides.  If I am going to do lots of sanding, I will likely grab these.
I also use sanding boards of various thicknesses and styles that are intended for doing nails.  I use the regular emery boards and also a newer style that has plastic in the middle.  These have two different grits on them.  Mine are usually grey but could be colorful. I like these newer ones with the plastic as it is like having a sanding block behind it.  
Here is those basic variety sanding tools. Early on I bought a couple of basic shapes of needle files.  Then later on I got a full set.  It is the basic ones in my toolbox.  The full set hangs out in the big drawer. 
I really like having needle files on hand as they can get into some really small spots so basic shapes are a needed tool in my toolbox for working with smaller scales, however they have their uses in larger scales as well.
Sanding  blocks are great for keeping  square as you sand.  They can be as simple as block of wood with sandpaper wrapped around it.  I have made various different tools like this. I typically tape the sandpaper on.  Another type is a block of wood with cuts in it.  Sand paper is cut to shape (width and length enough to wrap around). Then another wood or other piece is pushed in to the cuts to keep the sandpaper in place.  
Here's my toolbox divider box
That long middle section has a variety of sanding tools plus a drilling tool.  It is called a push drill.  But the drill bits aren't here.  Guess something I might want to work on having in here.  Oh and the mess at the bottom of the box, is actually paint from my worktable, not the box itself. 

My solutions for these are all very simple, but... if I were to get more specific, here are some ideas I would consider.
First, sandpaper comes in different grits and if I used a lot of it, I would likely try file folders or even an accordion type file folder case.  Then I could have all the same grit in a folder or section.
My needle file full set came in a flat flexible plastic case, which works fine to hold them. But I have used cases like this before and over time this would potentially not last.  Once it got to that point, I am sure that I would consider just grouping them together in some container.  One that comes to mind that was shared with me recently is the Crystal Lite drink powder type containers. 
Other types of materials can be used for sanding and smoothing.  Steel wool is something is used for roughing up.  Ok, I know this post is about smoothing, but sometimes we use these tools for distressing and steel wool can be used for that.  It goes in my misc sanding drawer.
Paper - like a brown paper for packaging or paper sacks - can be used as a sanding tool after using sandpaper.  It acts as a burnishing type smoothing.  
Cheese cloth is useful for removing sawdust before staining.
A craft knife - wait that is a tool for for cutting.  Well it can be used to smooth things over, too.  Sanding plastic is especially troublesome.  The sanding works but the plastic has a tendency to fray.  That's where the craft knife comes into to use, it can 'smooth out' or remove the fray.  Also sometimes plastic has 'flashing' - this is when it squeezed out between the mold and it leaves a thin extra stuff that I try to remove.
Another smoothing tool - scissors - again with the cutting tools.  When working with smaller scales we don't want to remove too much of the ends which can cause the piece to be too small and the kit doesn't fit properly.  So many kit makers recommend to trim the wood feathers (these are caused by the saw and is just the frayed end of the wood) with scissors to keep the wood piece intact.  

Come back tomorrow for another organizing idea during my 31 days of organizing.

Happy Miniature Organizing!


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