E is for Emery Board (AtoZ 2016)

My eyeball bead is the only item I’ve made that I didn’t have to do anything to after it dried (other than fire, oxidize, and polish it). Usually after the metal clay dries, you need to smooth out the surface to remove small ridges and file the edges so that they don’t become sharp after firing. For smaller pieces that are harder to form, you might also need to shape the piece after it dries to get it the way that you really want it.

While I haven’t found the perfect tool to get the surface of the dried clay completely smooth, a cheap emery board does wonders to get the edges smooth and to shape pieces the way that I want! Two outta three ain’t bad, right?

When I started, I tried using sandpaper, but even the finest sandpaper left lines in the clay. Since the sandpaper itself is flexible, it was also a bit harder to control the pressure and often I ended up sanding off too much in one area and not enough in another. Then, I found these emery boards. They’re more rigid than sandpaper, so I can apply an even amount of pressure across the piece. I can even cut them into smaller strips for smaller areas and they still retain enough rigidity to be useful. And, they’re finer than sandpaper, so they don’t leave noticeable scratches in the edges of clay. They’re so fine that they’re actually pretty useless for filing your nails!

Sadly, they are also so fine that I go through them more quickly and I’ve used up most of my original set. This is the last one. I recently bought a different set of emery boards to replace them, but they are too rough and I’m back to having lines in my pieces. I really need to get back to the store where I bought the original ones so that I can replace them properly!

Now, if I could only find something to smooth out the surface of my piece. Recently I’ve been thinking that since I’ve had so much luck with filing boards meant for fingernails, perhaps I need to try a buffing board meant for fingernails too?

Have you found a good tool or other favourite item, only to find that you couldn’t get a replacement when you ran out? What did you do?


    1. Discontinued pills would be more frustrating than emery boards!

      Today I went to the store where I thought that I bought the original set of emery boards and they didn’t have them. So now I don’t know if I got the store wrong or if they have switched to another brand. :D I guess the search continues …

    1. I usually don’t have too much trouble with discontinued items, although I found a store that sold a few beauty products that I liked and then the store went out of business. I’ve found a few of the items elsewhere, but there are still several that I haven’t been able to find at other retailers so that has been frustrating.

  1. You can get different grades of emery boards, probably nail saloons will sell them. Annoying when something runs out and a replacement can’t be found. It usually happens to me with make up which I rarely wear. I find a shade I like and then it’s discontinued when it is time to replace!

    Enjoying your bead A-Z :-)

    1. Thanks, I’m glad that you are enjoying the posts so far :)

      Yes, beauty products seem to be discontinued on a regular basis, don’t they! So odd, as I suspect that most people do find something that they like and then want to stick with the same thing rather than experimenting.

  2. I use an emery board to file my tubing down for the cores, the one I have works well but will need to replace it soon – now I’m worrying about finding another! (My current one was a freebie, but probably not a cheap one)

    The discontinued thing happens to my husband all the time – we can safely bet if he finds something he likes then that will spell doom for the product!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

    1. Freebies are the hardest to replace, I find. Half the time I don’t remember where I got it, or when I do go the packaging has changed so I don’t know for sure if it is the same thing. I hope that you can find a replacement for your emery board before your current one runs out!

      1. Lol me too… it really hadn’t occured to me about different grades of Emery Board, but it’s so obvious now that you’ve written about it!

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