Keep ’em Sharp

To me one of life’s little luxuries- right up there with a hot bubble bath or a one hour massage is a totally sharp tissue blade. Just how long your blade stays really sharp will depend on a few things

  • don’t cut directly onto a glass or marble work-surface, use a slip sheet of bond paper, index card or deli-wrap instead
  • when trimming clay against metal = bead mandrels or metal rulers use a utility knife instead
  • store your blade when not in use in a plastic box sleeve or a polymer clay blade case
  • try to avoid dropping it onto hard surfaces, as a burr at the end of the blade makes for “dull” cutting
  • the acidity in some people’s natural skin oils can cause the blade to tarnish and drag

If your blade becomes dull, burred or tarnished you can…

  • open up a new blade and relegate the older one to utility work
  • sharpen it

To sharpen a tissue blade you will need two pieces of wet dry sandpaper (600 and 1000 grit), a couple of inches of masking tape, a perfectly flat  cutting board and a lubricant such as mineral oil (or saliva, which actually works best) and a paper towel.

Tape two 5″ x 5″ pieces of the wet dry sandpaper to a perfectly flat cutting board. Apply a couple of drops of  lubricant to each square and spread it out with your fingers. Then take a close look at your blade. Are there any burrs at the ends or small dings in the middle areas? Start with the 600 grit sandpaper and place the cutting edge at the same angle the metal has been honed at on the paper, stroke the entire blade in a sweeping motion towards you at least five times. Wipe the excess lubricant off and examine the blade again. Turn the blade over to the other side and repeat. If the blade looks smooth, without any large dings or burrs, switch to the 100 grit sandpaper and repeat.

This is very similar to how one would sharpen a knife.


2 Responses to “Keep ’em Sharp”

  1. 1 christiew October 17, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing these sharpening tips!! I have several long-since-sharp blades I can try this on. Yipee!! 🙂

  2. 2 lori g. October 22, 2007 at 4:40 am

    I love your fruit slices! Makes me want to pull my polymer out. Thanks for the colorful and informational blog.

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Thanks for visiting my blog where you'll find my latest news, class details, and new tips and tricks. You'll find more information about my work at my website. Come back often.


October 2007
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