Use of Portable Wet Blasting Unit For Wood Restoration

I. Introduction

Wood or furniture restoration is a significant industry as well as a popular hobby. It includes the restoration of vintage log cabins, timber homes, antique furniture, old wooden ships, old barns, timber decking, and much more. When wooden structures or homes are exposed to natural elements over a period of time, they undergo weathering and the coating starts to wear off. Polish, varnish and stain fade over time on wooden furniture and paint begins to flake or peel. If left untreated, wooden objects will warp, rot or break over time. Wood restoration is essential not just to make the objects look fresh and beautiful, but also to maintain the structural integrity and its surface characteristics.

This article tells you about the importance of wood restoration, coatings used on wooden objects and the different methods used for removing coatings and restore wood to increase the asset life.

II. Coatings to be removed for restoration of wood

There are vintage wooden log cabins, log homes, decks, antique furniture, wooden boats, barns, and many other wooden objects and many of these are 100 or more years old and need restoration of wood to their original look and appearance. These wooden objects may have been made from soft wood like pine, cedar, or redwood, or hardwoods like oak, maple, or walnut.

The coating to be removed from the wooden objects can be paint, shellac, epoxy, lacquer, acrylic paint, polyurethane, varnish, paper, grime, mildew or mold, stains, paint, weathering, fire damage, or any contaminants.

III. Different methods used for the restoration of wood

Different methods used for the restoration of wooden objects are:

Hand sanding: Hand sanding is done by using a hand-held electric or battery-operated sander, and a variety of different grits of flap wheels or polishing wheels can be mounted on the sander. This is a laborious and time consuming and paintstaking process as it is difficult to sand through all the crevices and nooks that cannot be reached. In addition, the pressure applied during the sanding process can damage delicate wood.

Cleaning wood with chemicals: Chemicals are capable of removing some coatings from wood, but, these chemicals are potent and not friendly for the people and for the environment. Chemicals can also be harsh and damaging on timber in particular on old antique furniture.

Dry sand blasting:  Dry sandblasting can remove all the coating from a wooden surface, but, it would also damage the finish by roughening up the fibres.  is very powerful for timber and softwoods cannot withstand it. You may not want to risk valuable pieces of antique timber with dry sandblasting and risk damaging it.

Dry Soda blasting: – Dry soda blasting may be an option but since soda is a very light abrasive, it can generate a lot of dust and can create a mess. Soda bicarbonate is harmful to plant vegetation and dry soda blasting in the open can may harm the surrounding plants and grass. Dry soda blasting is not very harsh, but doing it needs many precautions like good ventilation (if done indoors) and safeguarding the grass and plants when done outdoors.
Wet abrasive blasting (also called dustless blasting, vapor blasting, etc.): Dustless blasting or mobile wet abrasive blasting is the same as dry sandblasting, but the addition of water removes the aggressiveness and harshness and makes it gentle and mild on the blasted surface. We shall discuss more on dustless blasting in the next section.

IV. Wet abrasive blasting process or dustless blasting for the restoration of wood

Wet abrasive blasting, also known as dustless blasting and vapor blasting, is one of the most environmentally friendly processes and involves mixing water and abrasive media inside a pressurized blast tank and combining it with compressed air to propel it onto the surface being blasted. The impact of the blast force makes light work of removing the coating without damaging the surface. This technique is similar to dry sandblasting but the addition of water generates more impact and suppresses 95% of the dust.

Dustless blasting is an innovative technology, the blasting velocity can be varied according to the wooden surface and the coating to be removed, and has many benefits for the restoration of wood.

V. Advantages of wet abrasive blasting for restoration of wood

Compared to other processes, wet abrasive blasting or dustless blasting has the following advantages for the restoration of wood:

  • The use of water suppresses the dust and makes it safe for the environment, the operator, and the others in the area.
  • A wet abrasive blaster is a multi-media dustless blaster, consumes less abrasive media, and its low water consumption makes it environmentally friendly.
  • Wet abrasive blasting is efficient and impactful as the water particles encapsulate the abrasive media and the saturated media creates a forceful impact removing the coating easily.
  • The blast force can be varied based on the surface being blasted and it can be gentle and mild on the wooden surface to remove paint, shellac, epoxy, lacquer, acrylic paint, polyurethane, varnish, paper, grime, mildew or mold, stains, paint, weathering, fire damage, or any contaminants without damaging the wooden surface.
  • Dustless blasting can reach all corners and nooks of the wooden object to clean them perfectly.
  • Wet abrasive sandblasting is capable of restoring a 100-year-old barn or furniture or a log home or any wooden object.
  • Dustless blasting is efficient and safe for wood stripping and restoration.
  • Wet abrasive blasting does not have the harshness or aggressiveness of dry sandblasting, and it works gently and mildly on a wooden surface.
  • Dustless blasting has enough power to strip off years of old coating, weathering, and grime but is gentle enough to preserve the integrity of the wood.
  • Wet abrasive blasting has mobility and can be taken anywhere including for cleaning an old barn.
  • Dustless blasting or wet abrasive blasting can be used for etching designs on the wood.
  • Wet abrasive blasting can work on soft woods like pine, cedar, and redwood, and hardwoods like oak, maple, and walnut.
  • Different abrasive media can be used viz. crushed glass (Mohs hardness 5 to 6), soda bi-carbonate (Mohs hardness 2.5), fine glass beads (Mohs hardness 5 to 6), and fine garnet (Mohs hardness 7.5 to 8.5). The selection of the abrasive media is made based on the condition of the wood. Soda bi-carbonate is a single-use media. Crushed glass is made from recycled bottle glass, and is economical, clean, and environmentally friendly.
  • .The expert’s advice is to keep more standoff distance when wet abrasive blasting a substrate like wood and keep the nozzle moving, to avoid profiling. Adjust the blast pressure for delicate work.

VI. The RapidBlast Solution

The RapidBlastTM is the only Australian made wet blasting machine and is manufactured and sold by Quantum Blast Australia. The Rapid BlastTM equipment is available in different sizes and can be tailored in different configurations and mounted on a purpose built trailer or a truck to be fully mobile at a fraction of the cost of other foreign made alternatives. It is a versatile piece of equipment and very effective for many applications including wood restoration.

For more information on RapidBlastTM wet blast machine and mobile units please visit Quantum Blast at https://quantumblast.com.au/.

Phone:1300822569 E-Mail:sales@quantumblast.com.au

VII. Conclusion

Restoration of wooden objects needs care and proper handling since many wooden objects like old wooden furniture are precious. Using an improper method can damage the wood. Wet abrasive blasting or dustless blasting is an efficient method for the restoration of wooden objects and it has the added advantage of being portable, dust free and operator and environmentally friendly.

“The uses for RapidBlast™ are only limited by your imagination.“

Line Marking Removal

Before After

Brick & Stone

Restore old bricks and stone to their natural beauty. Use it for just cleaning brick and stone or removing old paint, no chemicals used with RapidBlast™.


General Paint

Fast paint removal from any surface, anywhere! No job too hard RapidBlast™. Leave your job with a nice clean metal finish ready for new paint.

Rust & Corrosion

Removal of heavy rust is easy leaving clean steel to work with. Add rust inhibitor to the blast water and stop flash rust for up to 72 hours before painting.

Full Support & Service

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RapidBlast™ has set the standard. Contact us to arrange the best possible package to suit your individual requirements. With wet blasting equipment for sale at such a reasonable price and with so many perks, why would you choose anything else?

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