WHAT IS SANDBLASTING AND WHAT ARE ITS PURPOSES?

Sandblasting is a general term used to describe the act of propelling very fine bits of material at high-velocity to clean or etch a surface. Sand used to be the most commonly used material, but since the lung disease silicosis is caused by extended inhalation of the dust created by sand, other materials are now used in its place. Any small, relatively uniform particles will work, such as steel grit, copper slag, walnut shells, powdered abrasives, even bits of coconut shell. Due to the dangers of inhaling dust during the process, sandblasting is carefully controlled, using an alternate air supply, protective wear, and proper ventilation.

The first sandblasting process was patented in the US in 1870. As a cleaning method, it is often used for priming a surface for the application of paint or a sealant. When painting, one doesn't want to trap dust, dirt, or bubbles in a previous layer of paint, or other imperfections under the new layer. By launching small bits of abrasive at the surface at a high speed, all imperfections are knocked loose and can then be easily washed off, creating an incredibly smooth surface upon which to lay the new layer of paint. Sandblasting may also be used for such projects as cleaning the hulls of ships or large structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge.

In decorating glass, sandblasting is a wonderfully popular technique, with few substitutes. While hand-etching is possible, it is incredibly time consuming and expensive, and laser-etching has a range of flaws which make it a questionable choice. There are two main ways in which sandblasting is used to decorate glass: etching and carving.

In glass etching, abrasive is blasted at the glass lightly to turn the glass semi-opaque. This 'whiting' or 'snowing' of the glass can be used to great effect to produce words or images. By adjusting the speed of the sandblasting and the angle from which the abrasive is being launched, differing shades can be created, allowing for some true works of art. Glass is carved by steadily sandblasting the surface through a stencil which protects the areas you don't want to be carved out. Sandblasting as a technique for carving can be very nuanced, with differing depths and angles of cuts creating an array of lighting effects that may be quite beautiful.

Stone can also be engraved using the sandblast system and often is. You may assume that all of the stones in your local cemetery are hand carved?! in actual fact, these days sandblasting is used far more often along with stencils in order to engrave the text as this method is not only more cost effective than hand carving but also much quicker and produces very similar results.

The cost of sandblasting equipment depends greatly on the scope of the projects intended. A small home glass carving setup can be acquired relatively inexpensively, while a system with a cabinet capable of handling larger pieces of glass and more nuanced sandblasting can cost significantly more. A professional-level artistic sandblasting setup will likely be quite expensive. Industry-level sandblasting equipment also varies in cost, again depending on the scale and scope of the projects to be completed.

      BRICKWORK

 

Openblast Blasting Services are fully experienced in sandblasting stone and brickwork. We use the most efficient equipment available together with various sandblasting mediums and our own specially developed techniques.

 

It doesn’t matter whether your house is soot blackened, covered in mosses and lichens, or whether the stone or brick has been painted. Openblast Sandblast Company can restore your building beautifully.

      METAL
 

Blast cleaning can be used to remove paint or corrosion from a variety of steel surfaces. Ornate metal railings can be cleaned back ready to be re-painted. Blasting commonly cleans interior columns, which require preparation prior to fire proofing. The surface is ready for the specialist coating to be applied by the next trade.

 

Internal and external staircases including balustrades and fire escapes respond well to sandblasting, allowing years of accumulated paint to be removed to either leave as an aesthetic finish or re-coat.

 

Sandblasting can give old metal objects a bright future. Whatever the metal and however long the paint, rust or dirt has been on it, our low pressure cleaning systems can restore your property to its former glory.

 

Our metal restoration service is available on all metals including RSJs, steel fabrications, cast iron fireplaces, metal stairways, railings, gates, church bells, water wheels and vehicles of every description.

      OAK BEAMS
 

Here at Openblast we use a soda blasting and low pressure chemical free blasting method to safely, effectively remove and strip paint, varnish, smoke damage, graffiti and grime from timber & oak beams.

Soda blasting and low pressure chemical free blasting are non-harmful processes to clean and strip wooden beams and timbers. Soda blasting uses sodium bicarbonate and as baking soda is an extremely friable material it completely fragments on impact cleaning and stripping the timbers and beams without any surface damage.

These dry cleaning processes are very precise and can be targeted to clean and restore only the designated area, such as the fine detail on a carved old timber door.

Common applications of these blasting techniques include removing, cleaning and stripping the black paint from old oak beams in historic buildings and the restoration after fire and smoke damage.

Our specialised system can clean and strip oak beams and timber by using a chemical free, non-abrasive controlled stream of super fine angular particles that gently remove the old paint, varnish, dirt & grime. These super fine particles leave a finer finish to the timbers surface so that details are not eroded – carpenters marks, initials, names etc. will not be removed with our safe and approved method.

© Openblast Cleaning Services, Ipswich, Suffolk - www.openblast.co.uk

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