Sandblast wood etching

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Has anyone sandblasted an etching into wood? More specifically,
I'd like to etch to a depth of 0.0625 (1/16th) of an inch.
I'm working with soft and hardwoods. Particularly Pine, Cedar, Maple, Oak, Birch, Cherry and Mahogany.
I am familiar with the sandblast/stencil process used for etching glass and would like to apply the same to wood. I understand stencil creation/photoemulsion techniques, etc.
I am familiar with the sandblasting concept (compressor, pressure or siphon feed abrasive blaster, blasting medium, cabinet to contain mess).
The only area I'm foggy on is actual blasters. What I've come across are:
Badger mini-blaster
Paasche AEC Air Eraser
Micro-Etch 2 (used for Jewelry sandblasting. I believe the company also makes blasters for dental work).
Glastar Microabrasive blaster
I read somewhere that Campbell-Hausfeld makes a kit that can be used for micro abrasion as well.
There's also a self contained kit (i.e. no external compressor) by Armour sold at hobby stores for $40. It's basically a can of compressed air and silicone carbide. I'm leary of buying this because I don't think the compressed air would move the silicone with enough pressure. It also seems overpriced compared to something like the Paasche and a C-H compressor set up, but IF it works, it could be something used in a pinch when a compressor fails.
Also, a friend told me that the Badger likes to clog up in our humid (Georgia) climate. The Paasche has a moisture trap with the hose. Would that solve the problem if it is a problem? Has anyone used any of these or have experience sandblast etching in wood?
I know I should be a master wood carver or buy a carvewright, but at the moment I'd like to give something like this a try first, if it works.
Any thoughts from experienced users are appreciated.
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What are you planning to sand carve? If you make wooden jewelry those might work OK, but for signs, etc. and larger work I have been using a 10 gallon pressure pot style sand blaster that I bought from Northern Equipment. These are available for about $150. The blasting sand is available at the Borgs for just a few bucks per 50 lb bag so it's way cheaper to operate then those micro units although not as good for micro fine work.
If you go this way buy and use a gravy strainer to sift the sand as it will tend to clog from bigger pieces that always seem to be mixed into the sand. They must have a small hole in their grading screen as I always seem to find some pieces that are 2-3 times as large as the sand granules. There aren't many, just enough to drive you crazy if you don't get them out. You also need to use a good water filter on your compressor and your compressor needs to be 8 cfm at 100 psi or larger to run the blaster properly, or you can add a large storage tank to what you have to get a few minutes of use at a time, if your compressor isn't large enough to keep up with the blaster.
Charley

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I'd like to etch to a depth of 0.0625 (1/16th) of an inch on soft and hardwoods. (Pine, Cedar, Maple, Oak, Birch, Cherry and Mahogany). I'm doing detailed design work on a flat surface, typically 1.5" x 8"; nothing as large as a sign. I've looked at some of the abrasive blasters and was concerned that they would either be overkill for something so small and thus unnecessary expense, but I could be wrong. I also understand that soft and hard wood, even within the same board, will be removed at different rates. I'm set on using silicone carbide since it can be reclaimed more than most materials, isn't a health hazard and doesn't create the static charge aluminume oxide might.
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wrote:

CG:
First, all fine, inhalable dusts are a health hazard. Use a dust collector and wear a cartridge mask. The other suggestions you've had are good. You might want to check with --or google on--the monument/tombstone process for their robust stenciling materials. Also, check the sign-making suppliers.
The blasters I use are very, very fine and are intended for rock and metal and I employ them freehand. They are also not cheap and I don't think you need to consider them. Your governing constraints are the finest width of line you need to make and the hardness of the wood, which will effect the choice of abrasive type, sieve grade, blast nozzle aperture and air pressure you need. Blast angle, nozzle distance and dwell time are other considerations you will have to reckon with. Experimentation on your subject wood will give you a quick education.
Hygroscopic clogging is a constant concern. I oven dry my abrasives and avoid leaving them in any drafty hopper or container. Nice grading sieves that can be nested are available commonly on Ebay. Looking under +(brass OR stainless) +sieves would be productive.
You might want to make a call to a technical advisor at S.L. Fusco, 3M or other makers/marketers of free abrasives to see if you can either get more guidance or a reference to an end user who will kindly spare you some time.
Regards,
Edward Hennessey
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Mon, Dec 10, 2007, 7:47am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Chrisgiraffe) doth query: Has anyone sandblasted an etching into wood? More specifically, <snip>
More specifically nothing. I've read the thread, and I don't see anything that tells what you actually want to do. I don't know what you want to do, and I've gotten the impression you don't know what you're doing, or want to do, either. From what little that I 'gleaned' I believe you might be best off by getting a Dremel tool, tental drills, and routing out what ever, because it seems you want small detail. I hardly think you're going to get small, or fine, detail with a sandblaster. Not on wood anyway. Or you could carve out whatever. Me, I might use a woodburning tool, if I wanted whatever actually IN the wood - otherwise I'd probabl just glue a label on the wood or paint the design.
JOAT Even Popeye didn't eat his spinach until he had to.
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(Chrisgiraffe) doth query: Has anyone sandblasted an etching into wood? More specifically, <snip>
More specifically nothing. I've read the thread, and I don't see anything that tells what you actually want to do. I don't know what you want to do, and I've gotten the impression you don't know what you're doing, or want to do, either. From what little that I 'gleaned' I believe you might be best off by getting a Dremel tool, tental drills, and routing out what ever, because it seems you want small detail. I hardly think you're going to get small, or fine, detail with a sandblaster. Not on wood anyway. Or you could carve out whatever. Me, I might use a woodburning tool, if I wanted whatever actually IN the wood - otherwise I'd probabl just glue a label on the wood or paint the design.
JOAT Even Popeye didn't eat his spinach until he had to.
--
It MIGHT be, that he has an idea that he wants to keep a secret so that
someone else doesn't take it and run with it.
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(Chrisgiraffe)

you can sandblast lines the thickness of the particle. i doubt that you're going to be able to burn a line or etch with a dremel lines the size of 200-300 grit 'sand'.
to the op: if you're looking to do this cheaply, i use shelf contact paper for my masks. cut it with a blade. i can get 1/32-1/16" deep blasts on glass; wood is significantly softer.
you can also make a photo screen and use that for light blasting. anything deeper you'll have to use buttercut or something similar.
regards, charlie http://glassartists.org/chaniarts
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Mon, Dec 10, 2007, 5:24pm (EST-2) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.stratus.com (charlie) doth sayeth: you can sandblast lines the thickness of the particle. <snip>
On wood?
JOAT Even Popeye didn't eat his spinach until he had to.
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JT:
I'm leaning your way on that one. Your particles--the grit size--must be such that they individually span and impact a portion of the smallest width one wishes to blast. The smaller the better to quickly capture fine detail. If particles were used that measured the exact size of the smallest width, it would take longer to blast out the detail, with the increased probability of deleterious effects on the margin of the stencilling material used and diminution of detail as it frays and degrades.
Regards,
Edward Hennessey
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sure, depending upon if you can make your mask openings be that thickness too. usually done with etching of a photoresist. i've made some with 200 mesh screen material, sort of like the way they make screens for tshirt silkscreening. the blasted pattern may not show up if the wood isn't shiny enough though. if you sand/pumice/rottenstone it to a french polish, it will show up just fine.
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Tue, Dec 11, 2007, 11:33am (EST-2) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.stratus.com (charlie) doth sayeth: sure, depending upon if you can make your mask openings be that thickness too. <snip>
Hmm, interesting. I don't plan on sandblasting anything near that delicate, but, how pricey is the equipment for doing something that delicate?
I'm just curious, any delicate etching I do, I use etching cream, or something similar - I'll stick with that - or engraving.
Question. Do you use something like that to make a design? Or, just freehand? Seems to me it would be pretty time consuming to make a detailed design that way, but maybe worth it on a one-time basis. I would think multiples might well be a major PITA. More than once would be work. LOL
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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well, what process are you talking about? i can cut freehand maybe 1/8" details in contact paper and that's pretty cheap.
if you're talking about photoetching, you need the special films, you can use the sun for exposure although a UV light is recommended, a high pressure hose for washing out the exposed portions of the film. you then need the compressor and either a pressure pot or a grit recirculating blasting box (for that you need a larger compressor).
you can get halftones with photoresist, which is good enough resolution to get recognizable b/w pictures out of.
you might be able to get started doing this for $750 for everything.
see http://www.etchmaster.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?page=ES/CTGY/S-2 for a good example pictures of the process.
you can look over http://rayzist.com/ which is one of the major producers of photoetching films.

you can use etching cream through photoresist too, although abrasive is more common. you don't have to worry that the carrier of the cream won't also dissolve your resist. they also have photoresist that you can put on silk, use glass paint, and after firing in a kiln, you can basically do tshirt silkscreening onto glass blanks.

both. when it has to be detailed, there's not an easy way to cut a resist by hand (interior dots, for example), or you're doing more than one, then photoresist is the way to go. for broad kind of blasting, i cut it by hand. for example,
http://www.glassartists.org/Images/FullSize/000028000/Img28977_blue1.jpg
took 2 different cut by hand masks, and 5 trips through the kiln, to produce.
your talk about consistent blasts is also misguided. when you get good with a blaster, you can do broad expanses at a constant depth using a blaster. it just takes practice, and it doesn't come out well until you do get good.
regards, charlie http://glassartists.org/chaniarts
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Tue, Dec 11, 2007, 1:53pm (EST-2) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.stratus.com (charlie) elnlightens: well, what process are you talking about? <snip> your talk about consistent blasts is also misguided. when you get good with a blaster, you can do broad expanses at a constant depth using a blaster. it just takes practice, and it doesn't come out well until you do get good.
Ah, details, I didn't give enough details. I hate it when that happense.
Actually I meant the blasting equipment to do that, when I was sking about how expensive it was.
And when I was talking consistency in depth I was meaning in wood, because you can get a soft spot, or especially hard spot, so I don't see a consistent depth. Close, yes, consistent, as would be metal, I don't see it, not with wood, or at least pine,cedar, and so on.
I don't expect to do any of it, but always interesting to learn something new. It does give me a bit of inspiration. LOL.
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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starting price for a compressor that you'd want to use for blasting: 500 cabinet: anywhere from free to 200. i built mine from plans at http://mrcol.freeyellow.com/sand-blaster/ for about 50 in materials. the harbor freight one is ok at around 100, but needs to be caulked well to work ok. some people make theirs out of a very large tupperware tub for cheap, but that's ok for small things. pressure pot: harbor freight 100 dust extraction: large shopvac to small dust extractor: 100-300. get .5 micron or less (hepa) filters if you value your lungs. you're only issued with 2.

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JOAT, I always come to this board to help or be helped. I think that's a good reason to be here. I'm not sure how you might consider your posts helpful or worthwhile. Didn't I ask for people with sandblasting experience? I guess you did take a shot at sandblasting my post, but I did ask for replys from those who've sandblasted wood, not words. I thought my post was specific enough without the need to submit blueprints. I already stated I have no intent to carve. There are many reasons I wouldn't want to carve hundreds of the same pattern in wood. I'd hope that I wouldn't need to tell the world that I'm applying a repeating pattern several hundred times and that they'd just take my word for it that I don't want to take the carving route, but there's always someone who has already figured the best way to do everything without knowing what's being done and thinks a guy is stupid for asking a question. You were really off the mark on this one and I'm not sure why you wasted your time with it other than to make noise. Well, I hear you loud and clear. Perhaps next time you might try being helpful instead.
Sincerely.
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"Chrisgiraffe" got offended and tried to reason with JOAT
Maybe you could take some of that fine abrasive sand and spray a little on your skin to thicken it up. Thin skinned folks don't do well on usenet.
JOAT is the group curmudgeon. He really doesn't care what you or I think of him, or his posts. His form of logic and general approach to things is not very reverant. He does things his own way. I find it refreshing.
His approach of nailing together a couple of boards and scrounging some cheap materials to make something is an incredible alternative to the guys who need to buy the latest (expensive) toy or gadget. It remind me of the folks I grew up with. They did not have money, but they built things, got things done and displayed an incredible amount of creativity.
And like all old farts, he may lack in social graces. But I consider that to be a good thing, not a bad thing.
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Tue, Dec 11, 2007, 3:15am leemichaels*nadaspam*@comcast.net (LeeMichaels) doth claimeth: <snip> JOAT is the group curmudgeon. <snip of a bunch of other stuff"
Ain't no crumbmudgin. Do care, just not quite as much as some people desire. The logic is a result of my upbringing, and 20+ years in the Army. I'm spiritual, not reverant. Blatant lie, I glue everything together (wood that is).
I've found that things I can buy, too often don't do just what I want/need, or are lower quality than things I can make myself. Part of growing up, loads of time you made it yourself of did without. The old man put a pickup bed in the back of a Model A coupe. Plenty of people did that, the old man just refined it - his dumped. Pull a hand lever, the loaded bed dumped, then when it was empty, tipped back. Can't afford a lot of the things I would like, but that's OK, because I've learned I can make things that suit me just as well, maybe even better. Urgh, I need to finish my first cuppa, then get another, maybe two more.
JOAT I do things I don't know how to do, so that I might learn how to do them. - Picasso
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Mon, Dec 10, 2007, 10:11pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Chrisgiraffe) did say something I snipped;
Now you're assuming. I guess I'll just leave all the sandblating equipment with my older son then. I bought it several years ago.
You didn't exactly state sandblating wood as such. I'm not an expert, but don't think you're going to find it real easy to accurately hold to a depth of 1/16" in wood.
You day say you wanted to do 'fine detail' in pieces of various types of wood approximately 1.5" X 8". I didn't ask for any blueprints, but that doesn't sound very specific to me. What's 'fine detail' to one person might not be to the nest guy.
I only mentioned carving as an option.
I didn't say anything about carving hundreds of the same pattern either. In fact this is the first I recall anything about hundreds at all.
People always leave out details, and then want a detailed answer.
OK, you want a helpful sugestion? Then you've got it: Take whatever sandblasting equipment you have and try it. And remember what Granny Weatherwas always says: You'll never get anywhere if you believe what you "hear". What do you "know"?
JOAT Even Popeye didn't eat his spinach until he had to.
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Folks; I have a similar interest.
I have a pole barn with six hickory poles. I have enclosed it nicely, new roof, wall system, concrete slab, etc. and was thinking of sandblasting the posts to remove the bark and get down to the wood surface. My thought was that I could sandblast it smooth enough to take a finish and provide an interesting appearance "coming out" of the walls as it would appear.
Anyone ever tried something like this - Anyone who has recommend a type blasting media ?
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