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pgf

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Reply with quote  #1 
So, what's the VSS-approved low-cost high-reliability alternative to Q-tip brand swabs, which we all know shred soon after being asked to do any real work?

paul

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #2 
I suppose it all depends on what you are doing but in general I don't like Q-tips.  I've tried them all and have not found one brand better.  They all seem to shred for me and leave annoying fuzz all over.

I do use them on occasion to get out the big gobs of old grease and to maybe soak up some oil.  

One day, in desperation during a cleaning session, I was looking for something beside the Q-tips.  I came up with using some linen fabric scraps twisted around wooden screwers.  It worked so well that this is what I use all the time now.

Linen is a superb fabric - strong, absorbent, and doesn't shred.  I just cut the scrapes into the size I need.  And they can even be rinsed out to be used again.  Sometimes I will take a cotton ball under the cloth for more padding if needed and the wooden screwers and sometimes toothpicks work great.  The linen I've used is a medium weight - not the light handkerchief weight.  And a little goes a long way.  Linen is expensive but its a good way to use up small scraps or maybe even use some remnants.
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #3 
I really like Chaly's idea and potential of putting cotton balls under then wrapped around with linen.  I use scraps of material also for cleaning.  It works really good but of course hard to get into tight places.  I will sometimes hold a larger scrap against the end of a screwdriver or other metal piece to get into a crevice.  I also soak scraps of denim with a little bit of oil sometimes as I clean.  I'm a big believer in using different oils and petroleum jelly for cleaning/preservation.  Mineral oil works good with wood sometimes as a wipe down.  Petroleum jelly really clings to non moving metal and when smeared on a little denim scrap it is really good at soaking up the red rust.  I learned about petroleum jelly on the knife forums where folks found oil sometimes lasts only a week but the petroleum jelly can last for months.  We have the usual white oil and the yellow machinery oil (Juki M and other brands) but the yellow oil is a bit caustic on hands and sometimes I resort to jojoba oil (pure) or meadowfoam seed oil (has allot of natural UV inhibitors and found not only in make up but also sun screen).  I do use q tips but the problem is they cost money and really don't go very far before needing another one.  Best regards, Mike
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #4 
So adding another reply as I had to Giggle (google) the subject......  here is a video on how one makes them with match sticks and toothpicks.  I'd imagine in both cases the wood is recyclable for the next q tip.  Have to wonder if I took some of that clear elmer's school glue (which I bought a gallon of at a bookstore after a friend commented about it as a fabric stabilizer that is water soluble when/as I still study stretch stitches) and put it around the base a little if that would help the tip hold better or not"  


Now here is a really detailed discussion on the commercial/industrial manufacturing of them and says mostly cotton but sometimes rayon is used:

http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Cotton-Swab.html

  Have to wonder if a super version of a batting could be used to make an absorbent swab on steroids.  Lots of different battings out there as well as fabric stablizers as a potential?  I can get stabilizer (in local language called pilon) here pretty low cost.  Now I need to do a little experimenting but the bottom line here is that it is too easy to reach for a piece of fabric scrap most of the time for most cleaning jobs.  The delicate/intricate jobs are where the custom cleaning accessories discussed come in handy for certain.

Best regards, Mike
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaly

One day, in desperation during a cleaning session, I was looking for something beside the Q-tips.  I came up with using some linen fabric scraps twisted around wooden screwers.  It worked so well that this is what I use all the time now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ke6cvh
I will sometimes hold a larger scrap against the end of a screwdriver or other metal piece to get into a crevice. 


I have to agree. Since that part of the work bench always has a box of rags, I'll wrap one around the end of a screwdriver and use gentle pressure. I've done it so many times that I know to use great care, but it often works better than any thing else. I do have to say though that it's a learned skill, and I do have to be very gentle depending on the number of layers of cloth I can get around the drivers end - because sometimes only one layer will fit - and I have to know the rag will stay around the drivers end. It's always a bit of a dance.

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Jim,  I was going to comment but now can't help myself.   Yes, one must be extremely careful especially with thinner scraps of cloth.  Denim is thicker so not so susceptible.  One beautiful thing of this method that you mentioned correctly requiring skill/care is that after using a very small point/point of it then just shift over to the exact next spot and continue until the entire piece is blackened.  Very efficient use of spare denim for me.  The Mrs. here does not like me to use new but instead goes to the ukay ukay (local language for the thrift shop selling used shoes/clothes/bags) and buys scraps of old clothing that we use for various things.  Denim is just one.  We also buy different types of stretch cloth used clothing to experiment with machines which is really excellent.  We even bought used wet suits there (although cheap) and practiced on our Merrow mg-45-4d machines (we have allot of these) for our diy break apart seams otherwise known as "active wear seams" or to others old school way of closing toes on socks.  We now have flat seam machines but these combined with the flatlock/seam and other 3 needle 5 thread over/under cover stitch machines are really nice (also along with various types of overlock) but I am now digressing because the discussion of using scrap material for making things as well as cleaning things 😉  Best regards, Mike
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks all -- I certainly use rags (mostly old T-shirts), in fairly small pieces for most of my cleaning.  And I've done the wrapped screwdriver thing, but there's always that risk of a scrape if there aren't enough layers, or the cloth slips.  I like Chaly's idea of using a wooden skewer -- I'll give that a try.

paul

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Paul,

  One of the things I like for McGuiver work sometimes is pultruded fiberglass rod.  Pultruding makes a higher glass to resin content and super stiff/strong etc.  I used to always keep a supply of it around and mostly kept the size used to make electric fence posts.  A friend had to fix a tactical satellite terminal and asked me for help.  We took these and put electrical lugs on the end with epoxy then used bolts on that fixing a tactical satellite terminal better than new in Afghanistan for just dollars in cost.  A piece of pultruded fiberglass rod could be used to be the "pusher" on said cloth and would not scratch.  Just my 2 cents.  They make it in all sizes for anything from spars on kites to the much larger electric fence post stuff.  The usual sources of Amazon and eBay is how I always got the various sizes. And it flexes under pressure again likely preventing anything bad from happening.  Have to wonder if the end was notched if that may even help more?

Best regards,
Mike
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PMac

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Reply with quote  #9 
I enjoyed the q-tip making video, how simple!

Personally, I find pipe cleaners to be very useful. You can get soft to course with wires in them.
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hilltophomesteader

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Reply with quote  #10 
I use Q-tips often, wooden toothpicks for tiny crevices, but I also like to take a Q-tip and wrap a thin layer of fine steel wool around it to work small areas (with plenty of sewing machine oil/Tri-flow, of course...)
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