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How To Sand, form and polish graphite for glassblowing

Glass blowing involves upkeep and maintenance. Today we wanted to talk to you about polishing, reshaping, and cleaning your graphite tools.

Any tool made of graphite will eventually see some wear and tear. This can decrease the effectiveness of your tools and can cause them to stick to hot glass. Depending on the kind of tool here's what you need to know. Shaping graphite produces graphite dust which when inhaled can be dangerous to your health. Please wear a respirator,
gloves, and protective eye wear when sanding graphite.

For tools with many bezzles or edges such as reamers its important to maintain crisp edges. To do this you will need a variety of smooth sand papers, a piece of cardboard, and a dry paper towel. The older sandpaper the better it will be easier on your tools. Start by gently sanding the surface of each bezzle being careful to not round any edges. You will repeat this step with softer sandpaper until the desired shape is reached. To smooth out the sanded surfaces, use your piece of cardboard to polish to a smooth finish. For the final polish we using a dry paper towel provides the perfect amount of bite to give a good shine. To finish off wipe your tool down with a wet rag to trap any remaining graphite dust.

For tools with large flat surfaces reshaping isn't necessary instead try to bring back the polish of the tool and keep it from sticking by very lightly sanding the surface with your softest sand paper and then moving to your cardboard and paper towels. It's very important to be delicate when polishing as to not reshape the tool by accident

If you have access to a belt sander, shaping and forming your own tools can be fast and easy. Belt sanders will quickly and efficiently remove a lot of material, as such its important
to sand only outside and to take your time when establishing the starting shape of your tool.

Graphite polishing is an important part of tool care and often overlooked. We hope this guide will help keep your work and tools looking clean.

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