I've never tried sand blasting wood, but Dick Tilley used to and got that great raised grain look.
I don't recall if he burned first and just used this method to remove soot quickly, or if you can get the raised grain look by just using a gentle abrasive.
Burning and brushing takes me forever. Your toilet brush idea is awesome, Barre.
Anyone know anything about blasting wood, aside from sign making?
Ive thought about investing in a sand blaster quite a bit. There are old mills here they have turned into shopping malls,they have sand blasted all the old beams and wood floors,it looks great. It brings out more grain than just burning but isn't quite as smooth. Im sure there would be so many applications for it and surprised we haven't seen more of it in our field. I would love to experiment with it. How about power washing your char away?
I'd try a bigger torch first. We use propane and oxy it's not too expensive and burns very hot. Grit blasting leaves a pitted surface burning leaves a smooth surface with grain texture. That being siad you can get a small grit blaster pretty cheap and give it a try. You need a pretty big air compressor to run one and they tend to clog now and then. They have different types of griits including shells and powders. Perssure washing tends to rip wood if it's too powerful. We try so hard to get the wood dry I dont think I would not want to make it wet again. Hire burner and brushers that's what I do. lol
I've had some small success with using a pressure pot blaster and crushed walnut shell. I have used it in the past to strip years and years of paint off old hardwood mantles. On green pine it has a varied effect, on dried pine, with the right technique you create a driftwood effect.
To answer your question about Dick's sand blasting - yes he used a propane torch first. Dick had to use the services of a commercial sand blaster for medical reasons - (which he's already told us about on the forums) - to avoid inhaling dust. It worked very well.
I like soda blasting though. A mobile unit came to my pit and soda blasted (baking powder) which is environmentally friendly, dissolves harmlessly into the waterways. The soda crystals explode on impact and leave a good finish and some skill is needed by the operator not to overblast. Hardwoods do well but some softwoods like redwood can loose detail.
I think what brought this to mind was that Badger Airbrush makes a mini sandblaster for etching glass and wood. I'm talking literally pint size. Too small for the scale of work Barre does, but it might have a place with smaller carvings or hard to reach places.
Hmmm...I never would have thought of using a pressure washer. I do have one.
Nice to see you on here Lynn. You have always been a great inspiration to me. I use a brass wire wheel on a drill to create fine fur on fawns and other such beasts. I'm sure they must come in different gauges so I don't cut into the wood.
I mostly use white pine that's pretty dry.
That reminds me, Copas made a comment on Facebook about a nylon brush that is impregnated with grit. Osborne brush I think it was called?
Expensive, but sounds interesting because it could get into the grooves of the grain, whereas a Sand O Flex would just smooth it all off.
What happens with the blasting material you use? I can see soda dissolving, but what about other abrasives? Maybe it doesn't add up much, I've never seen it done, but I envision abrasive all over the place. :O
It's sand and dust same as the planet earth. I have sifted and recycled some but it's not really worth it. Real grit is slag can cost $30 to $40 a bag it has a sharp edge you don't need that for wood. Play sand would work fine if it is dry so it does not stick together.
If you just want to try it, contact some local mason shops or tomb stone engravers. They usually have plenty of sand blasting equipment. They might even be able to give you some additional ideas. I find it enjoyable to share and bounce things off of a local group I friended. We aren't in competition which makes the friendships fun but they can unders my language and visa versa.