How to properly clean MicroMesh, if at all?

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RegisG

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Dec 15, 2016
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Mount Juliet, Tn
I saw "somewhere" that micromesh will last a lot longer if properly cleaned. So, my question is how do you properly clean it and is it worth it?

Rather spend my $$'s on kits and blanks

Thanks,
Regis
 
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Mr Vic

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Aug 11, 2008
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Falcon, CO
Hi Regis, I keep in a small butter tub with a drop of dish soap added to the water. When I want to clean I just top it off, put on the lid and give it a good shake. The I rinse of each sheet, rinse the tub and put in another drop of soap and fresh water. I've cut my micro mesh crosswise for 1" wide strips.
 

SteveG

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Dec 21, 2009
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Eugene, Oregon 97404
The micromesh that I use and a strip of 600 grit abranet just sit (stay) in a small bowl of water between uses. The water in the bowl has a tiny drop of dish soap mixed in to help avoid clogging the abrasive. From time to time I will use a fingernail brush to clean the MM and flush with water. I have never had a problem of 'build up' on the mm pads using this method.

Just a related note. There are some who believe that essentially micromesh does not wear out. I have responded to those that believe that to compare side-by-side a well used mm pad with a fresh one of the same grit. The difference is striking. I am among those who do not like to sand stuff any longer than necessary. I consider it a wise investment to change out my abrasives of all types fairly frequently, even if there is some life left in that abrasive. As a result, I am a happier pen turner! :biggrin: :wink:
 

RegisG

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Dec 15, 2016
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Mount Juliet, Tn
Thank you both, Mr Vic and SteveG,

Do you dry you MM before using? Or at least wring it out? If not, then do you just put a towel on lathe bed?

Thanks,
Regis
 

Rockytime

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Jun 3, 2014
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Arvada, CO 80003
Someone on this site once said they put them in the pocket of their jeans. They are then washed along with the jeans. Sounds like a good idea to me.
 

Maverick KB

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Dec 28, 2015
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Location
Huntersville, NC
I keep a stack of small paper plates in the shop. Great for mixing epoxy and many other things. One such other thing, I place it on the lathe under my work and lay a paper towel over it when wet sanding. The paper towel collects the water and the plate keeps the moisture off the metal and supports the towel.

A large paint mixing cup or two of fresh clean water to dip the MM in before sanding and then to dunk it in after. I just rub it under the water with a finger and find it comes mostly clean. They do wear out though, even if they still look clean and new.


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Skie_M

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Aug 7, 2015
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Lawton, Ok
I have a fingernail brush that I use for cleaning my abranet sheets ... They can get pretty clogged up REALLY fast when wet-sanding with them! :)

For my micromesh, a drop of dish soap and rub them against each other in a bowl of water - typically does the trick for removing surface clogging, followed by a good clean water rinse and then air dry.
 

Dave Turner

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Jul 23, 2010
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Sylvania, Ohio
I have 4 plastic bowls (old cottage cheese containers) that I use. Three of them I fill with clean water before use. I then put all my Micro-Mesh pads in the first bowel with water. I use the first pad on my blank, then rinse it out in the second water-filled bowl before placing it in my empty bowl. I do the same thing with the next several grits. When I get down to the finer grits, I'll rinse them in the clean bowl of water before placing them in the non-water bowl rather than dipping them in the "dirty" water. I have a lid for the water-less bowl. When the pads are dry, I'll put the lid on to keep the dust out. I then will dump and rinse out my other bowls.

This is the only maintenance I've ever done for my pads and they last a long time. Eventually, the edges will become a little frayed so I'll break down and buy a new set. The new set always does seem to cut faster - so I know the grit gets worn down on the old pads, particularly the coarser grits.
 

Bikerdad

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Apr 4, 2009
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237
Location
Utah Valley
I just rinse mine under running water. On a related note, if you end up with a buildup of shellac on your MM, if you can't clean it with soap and water, you may be out of luck.

It's shellac, so clean it with denatured alcohol, right? Nope. Denatured alcohol and MicroMesh do NOT get along. I did not conduct extensive tests, but my limited experience wet sanding with DNA had the abrasive coming off the MM pad. I say limited, because I stopped trying it at Green. Something seemed a little odd with the first MM pad, but because the pad was pretty much the same color as the wood, I didn't see what was happening. When the greed MM started showing up on the wood, I knew things were going sideways.
 

lorbay

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Jul 2, 2009
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BC. Canada
The micromesh that I use and a strip of 600 grit abranet just sit (stay) in a small bowl of water between uses. The water in the bowl has a tiny drop of dish soap mixed in to help avoid clogging the abrasive. From time to time I will use a fingernail brush to clean the MM and flush with water. I have never had a problem of 'build up' on the mm pads using this method.

Just a related note. There are some who believe that essentially micromesh does not wear out. I have responded to those that believe that to compare side-by-side a well used mm pad with a fresh one of the same grit. The difference is striking. I am among those who do not like to sand stuff any longer than necessary. I consider it a wise investment to change out my abrasives of all types fairly frequently, even if there is some life left in that abrasive. As a result, I am a happier pen turner! :biggrin: :wink:



Hear. Hear.
When I first started out in woodturning I was always told use sandpaper as though it was someone else's it's cheap and it's way easier to sand with good paper and not used the old stuff.
Same goes for MM pads. Just saying.

Lin
 

Abter

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Dec 6, 2016
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Bikerdad; Thanks for that comment about micromesh color bleeding. I came here to penturners today to investigate this very question. I had this very problem, and it was a pain. I suspected denatured alcohol (DNA) was the culprit, and it was. I REALLY made the bleeding bad by trying DNA as the wetting agent on micromesh to do wetsanding. I was glad I wear gloves when finishing (or using DNA for most anything), or I would have ended up looking like a Deadhead tie dyed turner.
 

duncsuss

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Jun 29, 2012
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Wilmington, MA
Bikerdad; Thanks for that comment about micromesh color bleeding. I came here to penturners today to investigate this very question. I had this very problem, and it was a pain. I suspected denatured alcohol (DNA) was the culprit, and it was. I REALLY made the bleeding bad by trying DNA as the wetting agent on micromesh to do wetsanding. I was glad I wear gloves when finishing (or using DNA for most anything), or I would have ended up looking like a Deadhead tie dyed turner.

Try mineral spirits, it worked fine for me.
 

moke

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Dec 30, 2009
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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
When my wife went away on a business trip I put them in the bigger version of the silverware holder in the dishwasher. About 6 or 7 years ago I went to a beall buff system and rarely use them any more. I have recently stopped using her toothbrush to clean carburetors with though.
 

eharri446

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Mar 17, 2016
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Marietta, GA
I use a spray bottle with water and a drop or two of dish detergent to breakdown the surface tension. I clean my MM under running water with a little dish soap. I then lay them on a towel to let them air dry.

I was recently given a tray for holding my MM pads which has the grits engraved where each one will go, and a small area for holding water.

I have used MM on wood dry and it will do a good job, however, you have to have a light touch or you will bond the grit backing onto your blank. You have to clean your pads more often.
 

Rifleman1776

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Dec 18, 2004
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Mountain Home, Arkansas, USA.
I put in a little mesh bag and toss in with the laundry. BTW, I have never used wet and never before heard it should be. Dry works for me. I have two sets of mm, first has been used for years, haven't needed the second and doesn't look like I will have to for a long, long time.
 

bradh

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Mar 9, 2005
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681
Location
Aurora, Ontario, Canada.
Nobody mentioned how to clean micromesh if you dry sand, maybe I am the last one left doing this, lol. Wipe the MM on denim and it pulls most of the dust out of the pads. I have a piece of denim from an old pair of jeans; I sit this on the ways while I sand. Wipe the pad down during and after. Every 10 pens or so the pads need a wash in soapy water for a better clean.
 

Rick_G

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Nov 30, 2007
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Location
Bothwell, Ontario, Canada.
The other part of your question, is it worth it? I didn't think so and gave up on micromesh. I wet sand with 2000 grit automotive sandpaper then plastic polish. I find a 4" long by 3/4" strip will last me several pens, I'll wet sand at about 1000 - 1500 rpm for a short while then dry the blank and look for any shiny spots, if there are any a sand a little longer. Between each session I just put the sandpaper in a container of water and clean the slurry off with my fingers. After I'm finished I just leave it in the water.
 

Sallybarden

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May 6, 2018
Messages
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Location
Fleet, UK
I use a spray bottle with water and a drop or two of dish detergent to breakdown the surface tension. I clean my MM under running water with a little dish soap. I then lay them on a towel to let them air dry.

I was recently given a tray for holding my MM pads which has the grits engraved where each one will go, and a small area for holding water.

I have used MM on wood dry and it will do a good job, however, you have to have a light touch or you will bond the grit backing onto your blank. You have to clean your pads more often.
Could this be why my turned wood is turning black with the Micro mesh?
 

JimB

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Mar 18, 2008
Messages
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Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
I use a spray bottle with water and a drop or two of dish detergent to breakdown the surface tension. I clean my MM under running water with a little dish soap. I then lay them on a towel to let them air dry.

I was recently given a tray for holding my MM pads which has the grits engraved where each one will go, and a small area for holding water.

I have used MM on wood dry and it will do a good job, however, you have to have a light touch or you will bond the grit backing onto your blank. You have to clean your pads more often.
Could this be why my turned wood is turning black with the Micro mesh?
Your problem could be contacting the bushings with sandpaper/micro mesh and getting fine metal sanding dust onto the wood.
 
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