SANDBLASTING – Hero or Villain
Sandblasting or shot blasting are terms that are regularly used to encompass all forms of air propelled abrasive cleaning. It is common to read on restorative forums that “sandblasting will turn your oak beams into driftwood” and many other ill informed comments. Of course is possible to cause damage if you use the wrong equipment with inexperienced operatives. In the same way that a jackhammer (pneumatic drill or demolition hammer) used to remove paint from concrete paving will damage the surface of the slabs.
Would you consider having your teeth sandblasted, well dental air abrasion is now an accepted procedure using compressed air to propel aluminium oxide powder to remove scale etc. If you decided to go along to your local shot blasting company for some cosmetic dentistry that may be on News at Ten not just a forum. Just as with dentistry all surface preparation sectors need the correct equipment, & trained operatives to achieve the desired results without damage.
Blast cleaning can be anything from heavy duty shot blasting with garnet blast media to gentle dental air abrasion. Even for applications such as steel, timber brick and stone there are many different approaches depending on the substrate and the degree of cleanliness required.
The period oak in the picture was coated in black paint which was removed by us in the presence of a conservation officer using air propelled soft abrasive.