Advise please - on Sandblasting setup

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Forum topic by enj posted 06-20-2009 05:36 PM 3191 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 3765 days

06-20-2009 05:36 PM

I am going to set up for distressing and/or finishing wood surfaces… removing the softer materials and leaving harder grain outstanding…
Also, making signs with raised lettering…
I know nothing and haven’t found any complete advice/education info online…
The objective is sandblast larger pieces of wood than would fit in most cabinets I’ve seen for sale…
Questions are:
What size compressor…?
What brand of blaster…? I’ve seen one at Harbor Freight for $149.99…
How big a blaster is required…?
Is a cabinet a must…?
Use walnut shells…fine, course, or what else…? I’ve seen charts on various blasting media but I’m still confused…
Do you capture and reuse the blasting material…? 25lbs is $25.00…how far does that go…?
I’m sure this is only a sampling of the questions that will arise, but maybe some basics to start and any good links would be appreciated…

5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3775 days

#1 posted 06-20-2009 06:34 PM

Hey Ed
The size of the compressor depends on how much sand blasting your going to do and how long. The bigger the better a minimum 5hp with 20-40 gal tank .if using it all day a 10-20 hp compressor with a 80-100gal tank. There are a lot of brands of blasters out there if HF cabinet is large enough for you It might be good to give it a try buy check out the return policy. this is an Item that I’ve seen a lot of for sale used,you might check out used equipment dealers, E Bay etc. the guns vary according to volume with different size tips. The size of the blaster is determined by how big of items your going to have in it. The blasting media is usually sand (mostly for metal) walnut shells work well for wood and other materials, glass beads mostly for misl cleaning.
Yes you can reuse blasting material as long as you not mixing material that will be big enough for it to pass through the gun. Other things you need to think about is to have a good moisture trap on yor airline and to place your blasting unit were loose dust coming from the cabinet will not affect shop space preferibly outside

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3942 days

#2 posted 06-21-2009 04:25 AM

If you go with a pressurized tank, you can get away with a smaller compressor. You can reuse your sand if you sift it through a simple screen covered frame.

View whit's profile


246 posts in 4175 days

#3 posted 06-21-2009 05:07 AM


When I was looking for mine, I started with the HF cabinet (floor model) and never looked back. It’s been large enough to do anything I’ve tried so far. But . . . don’t use sand as an abrasive media. From what I’ve read, it contains free silica and the abrasion process will free those elements. If inhaled, it can lead to silicosis. Bad news all ‘round. Check the “Hazards” section in Sand is a lot cheaper but isn’t worth the risk – at least not for my buck.

I’ve used aluminum oxide, glass bead (both from Harbor Freight), and crushed walnut shells (sold as reptile sand at pet stores).

If you’re looking to filter your media and most of what you’ll be blasting is light wood fiber, you can pour the blasting media slowly into another bucket through the breeze of a fan. The media will fall into the bucket; the waste from the blasted product will blow away. Notice I wrote “breeze”, not full-force wind from the fan.

It also helps to have a moisture filter on your air lines – keeps the moisture out of the media. Not a big deal with aluminum oxide but a real pain with the walnut shells and corn cob (if you use it). Corn cob is more for polishing so it probably won’t do for blasting wood though I’ve never tried it for that purpose.

Another thing to keep in mind – the CFM requirements of a blaster are pretty high. Don’t be surprised if the compressor runs most of the time when you’re blasting unless you get a compressor with a relatively large cylinder and a rapid recovery rate. Mine is a 2.5hp, 8.6cfm at 40 psi and 6.4cfm at 90 psi with a 33 gal cylinder. The reserve is too small and the recovery is too slow. Fortunately, I don’t blast that much so it works for my purposes.

-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4091 days

#4 posted 06-21-2009 05:52 AM

its amazing that sand will blast through stone, wood and steel…...............but it wont put a dent into rubber

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View enj's profile


7 posts in 3765 days

#5 posted 06-23-2009 01:25 AM

Thanks everyone for the input…
I looked up Texas Blasters and they are just 45 min away…I’m in HOT-HOT-HOT Austin, Tx…
Think maybe I’ll run down there and get some first hand input…
Thanks again…

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