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Thread: Media blasting live edges

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Whidbey Island, WA

    Media blasting live edges

    Which media or method is best for blasting live edges to remove dirt and the cambium layer? Could the right media even remove the bark? I know it's done, but I am not sure if walnut shells or soda is best. Seems a soda blaster is cheaper than a setup for walnut shells. Sure would work well for burls and highly varied edges on slabs.
    Timberlight Designs

  2. #2
    I tried walnut shell on a burl- gave a fine finish but very slow. Best would be to find a blasting shop to do some samples with various media. Sandblasting takes a lot of air.

    Have you tried pressure washing the bark off? A wire wheel followed by a sanding mop is effective once the bark is gone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    If the slab is cut spring through early summer you can tap on the bark with a hammer and that breaks the bond of the cambium layer. The whole strip will peel right off. Then I use a french curve card scraper to remove the cambium layer. With your two chosen blasting materials, I assume you want the grain to be smooth with no texture? Both of them will be extremely slow on dry slabs. You'd also want to do that before surfacing to preserve the edge.

  4. #4
    +1 for Kevin's power washer suggestion. Works really well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Watch a few videos from Blacktail Studio on the 'Tube. He uses brushes and various cleanup techniques to insure that the actual natural edge is preserved.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    We use a brush sander after knocking off the bark with the nearest weapon at hand.

  7. #7
    I recommend a drawknife and then a cup brush on an angle grinder. Way more control. No need to bring a gun when a knife will do in this fight.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
    There is an old thread with a link that shows "The Restorer" a drum style wire wheel especially for wood.

    This is not exactly what I was remembering but its close.

    Original Restorer Tool - A Wellington Corp Patented Invention
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 05-29-2022 at 7:26 PM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Santa Fe, NM
    I so misinterpreted the title to this thread. I thought, "Doesn't the media have anything better to do than bash live edge tables?"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Knock the bark off and then wire wheel/angle grinder for me with oak.

  11. #11
    ‘nuther vote for the wire brush. Actually, I’ve been using these cup brushes from Harbor Freight that have red synthetic bristles. A little friendlier to the hands when installing/removing.

    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  12. #12
    Draw knife followed by 4 x 10" mac mops from Kingspor 100 &180 grit.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Here's why I want an option beyond brushes:


    Highly figured edges of myrtle, walnut, maple. Getting in/around all those textures.

    Water may work, and I can try that on most slabs, but some I don't want to soak in water, for example if my supplier has already planed and sanded the slab.

    Can any media blaster spray walnut shell? Can a soda blaster also blast walnut shell?

    Which sanding mop should I try first? Seems the brown abrasive "spindle mounted mop" would be the best so the abrasive is orientate outwards. Whereas the gold unit it's orientated perpendicular to the spinning.
    Timberlight Designs

  14. #14
    In fact the undulations of a burl like that are well suited to a wire brush. To each his own.

  15. #15
    You'll have a slow time of it removing tight bark from those surfaces with walnut shell. As well, you will need to protect any adjacent surfaces. One carver told me he uses glass beads on burl edges but I have not tried it.

    I have one of the fine gold sanding mops and some flap wheels. They do ok at polishing but the coarser grits tend to smear details. Plus they don't last forever and aren't inexpensive. I have considered getting a Sand-O-Flex wheel as the refills aren't too expensive, but you will have to experiment. Ideally you want to "pop" the bark off at which point the surface below shouldn't need a lot of work, but that is easier said than done. That's why you get the big bucks for live edge work, right?

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