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Sandblasting a Metal Sculpture

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I?m playing around with a metal sculpture; I want to change the finish on this piece of contemporary art. I did a little work on the base, and now I want to strip it.

This is a little hand sandblaster. I?ll take some aluminum oxide, which I'll use to fill up the little gun then sandblast the steel base. The problem is that it doesn?t last very long because the gun has such a small container. It?s really only meant for doing small areas. It does the job, but it takes a lot of trips back to the bucket.

(loading sandblaster)

Some of this stuff is kind of cool. This particular material is white, looks almost like beach sand, but it?s not. There?s also crushed walnut shell for doing really soft metals like copper or brass.

The ?beach sand? type of stuff might etch into the metal when using a higher pressure; however, the walnut shell won?t touch the metal. It won?t damage the metal at all; it will only take the finish off.

There?s also other sandblasting material that will etch the metal. Even with this little gun, it will be capable of putting grooves into the metal.

Back to work.

(text on screen): After Several More Rounds

Now this is not how I would sandblast my large metal sculptures. I transport all the big pieces, such as public art, to a regular sandblast company with a great, big diesel-powered air compressor and a great big pot of sand. The sandblast operator wears a full suit with a respirator and it?s amazing to watch.

If you were to go there and look inside his booth, it looks like a whiteout in there from all the sand going everywhere. He laughs every time he sees this little tool and says "you've got to get serious someday.?

I power this small gun with the little air compressor here in the studio. It
runs on 120 psi. You just pull the little trigger and go for it. This handy little power tool comes from Harbor Freight. You get what you pay for.

I?ve got to get to work, the sun?s coming. Bye!

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