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Builders’ Tip: Cleaning Sandpaper and Files

Crepe Rubber Blocks
Crepe Rubber Blocks

This tip came from Terry Schubert, editor of the Central States newsletter, via Jim Doyle, EAA 151172 since 1980, and RAA member from Calgary, Alberta. - Editor

This is a great way to clean file teeth and clogged sandpaper using a rubber-type product called crepe rubber. If you do a lot of woodworking, you may already be familiar with it. You may even be able to find an old pair of shoes whose soles are made of this material. Remember those light-coloured super rubbery soles?

I bought a block of crepe rubber from Lee Valley Tools for about $8. It's about 1 1/2-inch x 1 1/2-inch x 8-inch long, and it lasts a long time. It cleans aluminium stuck in file teeth, and fibreglass, wood, and other crud stuck in sandpaper, greatly extending the sandpaper life. Also, it does not create a lot of obnoxious smoke or overheating like ordinary rubber might do to your files or sandpaper.

Regards,

Jim Doyle

Editor: Crepe rubber also does an excellent job of cleaning up excess rubber cement or liquid frisket (watercolour masking material). You can also make your own version using clear Silicone 2 caulking. You have to make your own block by applying about two-thirds of a tube spread thinly onto a sheet of wax paper or plastic. Let it dry for two days and cut into strips the length and width of the block required. Glue these strips together with the rest of the caulk and glue them to a paint stirrer, if you like, to make a useful handle! Leave to dry another two days, and voila, you have a nice cleaner-upper that should last a long time and save you money on sanding belts. If you have any silicone caulking that's going to expire without being used, this is a great use for it. In fact, if you have any that's already been hardening for a few years, you might just want to cut the tube open and see what'cha got!

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