LaymarCrafts Woodturning Techniques


Abrasives Cleaning

Abrasives are Expensive and all too often get discarded before they are past their best, mainly because they look Clogged Up but in fact they are not, underneath that Sawdust/Resin Coating is a Sharp Cutting Surface.

In this Techniques Article I detail how I have extended the Working Life of all the forms of Abrasives I use in and around the Workshop.

Anyone who owns a Belt Sander will be familiar with these type of Belt Cleaner, which are made from what looks like "Crepe Rubber"? and how effective they are for Cleaning and Extending the life of Abrasive Belts and Discs on the Disc Sander.

I originally bought one for my Belt Sander with some scepticism as to there effectiveness and value, I only needed to use it once to realise it was money well spent.

Now that I had the solution to Clean and Extend the Life of Belts and Discs, I wanted to have the same benefits for my Free Hand  & Mini Disc Abrasives used at the Lathe.



I purchased a 210mm x 40mm x 40mm [8" x 1" x 1"] Cleaner and cut it into 3 pieces:-

  • The first was 75mm [3"] long and would be my Rotary Cleaner for my general Lathe Abrasives.
  • The second was 50mm [2"] long and was for my Drill held Abrasive Disc Pads.
  • The third  & final piece was  85mm [3"] which would be for the Mini Sander Discs.



If we start with the easy one first which was the last piece in the list above.

This is used in exactly the same way as you would use the Cleaner on say the Belt Sander, where you power up the machine and apply the Cleaner Block by hand to the Abrasive and watch the Debris disappear in front of you.

The pictures to the right show it's effectiveness when used on my Mini Power Sander System Top Picture shows Disc that would previously been discarded, the picture below shows the rejuvenated Disc..

Details of the Mini Power Sander System can be found here 


This is what I call my Rotary Cleaner as it reverses the principle of operation, here we Rotate the Cleaner Block and apply the Abrasive just as if you were Sanding a Spindle on the Lathe.

You first will need to drill a suitable hole through the center of the 75mm [3"] length, for my part I held this in the Lathe Chuck and used a 12mm drill mounted in a Jacobs Chuck in the Tailstock.

The Swarf produced during this process is Tacky and you will need to take it very slowly and constantly remove the Swarf that will quickly fill and wrap itself around the Flutes of the Drill.

I then mounted the Block onto a Coach Bolt [M12 x 130mm] with a Large Washer at either end and bolted it up tight.

Mount this assembly in the Lathe Chuck [ I used my Bottle Stopper Collet ] and carefully Turn it into a Round Barrel Shape using a Small Spindle Gouge, again the Shavings will be slightly Tacky and will cling to the Gouge so you need to clear it away as you go.

By applying the Abrasive to the Rotary Cleaner Spinning in the Lathe you can now effectively Clean those, not ready to throw away, valuable pieces of Abrasive and achieve the results as shown right.

The final piece of Cleaner Block ended up bolted to the underside of a convenient Shelf as shown below.

Again by drilling a hole carefully through the 40mm width of the Block and attaching it to the shelf using a M6 Coach Bolt you have a Cleaning Block for your 50mm, or larger, Power Sanding Pads.

With the Pad mounted in the Drill you can, on the way too, or back from that Bowl you have just Smoothed Off, touch the still spinning Pad against the Cleaner Block and give it a Clean.

Again the before and after pictures below say it all.


The total cost for this little exercise was only a few Pounds and I have recouped my investment in a very short while, I estimate my Abrasive's are lasting  anything up to 4 times longer in most cases.

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Last update 13 June 2008
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