Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bamboo: Handmade Ancient Coin Cleaning Tools

I am sharing with my readers my favorite coin cleaning tools. My wife buys me 100 1/8" diameter bamboo skewers at WalMart for just a bit under one dollar. I cut them in two pieces length wise and that makes 400 tools because I use both ends of the cut pieces. I discovered the wonderful cleaning properties of bamboo by accident and I use them almost exclusively to dig, probe, flick and scrub my coins as and when needed.

The thing I like best about the bamboo is that I am able to clean the coins without the cuts and abrasions one gets with hard tools. I am also surprised at how long the bamboo holds up to scrubbing and cleaning. I encourage you to give the bamboo a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. The photograph you see above contains a few of the cleaning shapes I create using the rotary grinder on my Dremel.

Of course, one can get the same results with a sharp knife. I think each bamboo point in the photo speaks for itself. The sharp point is the point that comes with the bamboo. You will see a small variety of blunt shapes I create for the purpose of pushing and removing encrustation from the coin as I zap. Pay particular attention to the "brush" shaped bamboo on the right. I make these by hammering the end of the bamboo with a hammer on a flat metal plate. I like to keep the "bristles" stiff so I strike the end of the bamboo only five or six times to maintain the stiffness I like. However, if one wants an extra soft brush simply continue to hammer.

I use the bamboo to scrub the surface of the coin. Again, I find I do not get the scratching and marring one gets with hard tools. If you begin to make bamboo tools, please share your favorite shapes with us. A word of caution please! Once you try the bamboo skewers, you will be hooked! You better get your package of skewers early because there will be a run on the little gems! Thanks for allowing me to share.. God Bless.. Jerry..


ronald said...

Jerry thank you for all the extra little & large bits of information that you have been shareing. I have tried the Bamboo, no more poking my hands fingers with the Dental picks & wire brushes.

Godwin said...

Every day you learn new things. Thanks for this very helpful information I will definitely try this :)