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What is Microsanding?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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As a method that helps to temper fabric roughness and create a silkier feel to the fabric surface, nothing can beat the process of microsanding. Here is some background on microsanding fabric and how this process can help make even the roughest of fabric blends a little smoother to the touch.

As is true with many different types of treatments used on fabrics, microsanding involves making a change in the texture of the individual fibers that make up the material. The technique begins with a roller that has a series of very short pins protruding from the body of the roller. The pins are among the shortest that are used with any type of fabric technique and perhaps the dullest as well. The pins are intentionally dulled so that they will not create tiny holes in the weave of the fabric. When the fabric is pulled through the rollers, the dull pins grab fibers within the cloth and pull them to the surface. The end result of this fabric smoothing process is that even the roughest of fabrics will retain a smooth top layer that will be softer to the touch.

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What sets this type of fabric brushing procedure apart from some other methods that employ rollers is that microsanding is never meant to actually sever or tear any of the fibers. Essentially, the process simply pulls up portions of the fibers to the surface of the material, creating an effect that is not unlike grass on a lawn. The fibers retain their strength, as well as their abilities to absorb color. The only thing that is different is that the presence of the raised fibers alters the feel of material.

Microsanding can be used with just about any type of fiber. It is especially effective with synthetic fibers and fiber blends. Petroleum based fibers, such as olefin and polypropylene, respond particularly well to a microsanding process. Since man made fibers tend to be a little rougher to the touch and also are less brittle than some natural fibers, the microsanding technique can help synthetics to feel much more like raw cotton or even some forms of silk.

Microsanding fabric is a great way to make use of less expensive materials and emulate the soft texture of costlier blends. As a result, fabric that has undergone microsanding can be used for a number of applications, from area rugs to draperies to pillow covers. Used to make durable but rough fabrics more enticing to the general public, microsanding helps to produce a number of goods at affordable prices, which can be great for anyone who has the task of starting up a household on a modest budget.

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