Thursday, September 13, 2012

How To Make A Jewelers Sand Bag

Sandbags are used to absorb the shock of blows when pounding on a metal block or small anvil. After pricing sand bags and pitch bowls from suppliers, I decided to experiment with making a sand bag. The cost of sand bags varied but all were above $10.

I made two types -fabric bags and leather bags. I also read a suggestion to use a leather purse filled with sand. The purse would have to be rather flat in design preferably with a zipper closure. The sand needs to be contained in something before placing it in the purse to prevent leaking sand.

List of Materials
Cloth scraps at least as wide as you wish your sandbag (canvas, old jeans)
for inner cover
Paper to trace your shape (bowl or plate)
Chalk or felt tip pen
Sand- 1-2 quarts or BB shot (one container $8.00 for 6 inch bag)
Pan to bake sand
Heavy closely woven fabric,denim, or Leather scraps for outer cove
Cutting Board to cut leather on
X-Acto knife to cut leather
Leather sewing machine needle
See through ruler and metal ruler

Materials Used

1. To make pattern, trace around bowl or plate the desired size on paper.

2. Add 5/8 inch to the circle traced on the paper. Make another paper pattern 5/8 inch larger than the first.

3. Cut out the paper circles.

4. Lay the paper patterns on the denim cutting out four circles.

5. Stitch two circles together so that you have 2 pieces of double thickness. If you have a serger, serge the two pieces together instead of plain sewing.

6. Sew or serge the double thick circles together leaving a 1 1/2 inch opening. Use a very small stitch if sewing. Stitch 2-3 times, once serged should be sufficient.

7. Gather sand. Can use creek or river sand. Sift through a strainer to remove debrie and stones. Place sand in a baking pan no deeper than two inches.

8. Bake in 250 degree oven stirring occasionally until the sand is dry. This will also kill any insects or insect eggs.

9. Place a funnel in the opening and fill the bag with sand to within 1-1 1/2 inches of the top.

10. Place sand bag on the sewing machine or serger sewing together the opening. Use small sewing stitches. Sew 2-3 times to be sure sand does not leak out.

11. To make the outside cover, serge around the edges or use fray check to prevent raveling. (use very small stitch if sewing)

12. Place t;he two large circles over the sand filled circles pinning around the edges.

13. Sew holding up the edge of the bag opposite the needle to sew completely around. Sew around at least two to three times with a small stitch.

To make leather bags, check fabric and upholstery shops for scraps of leather. I purchased enough leather to make a six inch and an eight inch bag for $1.75. I filled my leather bags with BB shot. I did not use an inner liner, but simply stitched the two circles together leaving 1 1/2 inch opening to insert the funnel for adding the shot. I also pieced scraps of leather together to make a strip 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide long enough to go around the circles. I stitched it all the way around one circle and left a 1 1/2 inch opening in the stitching of the second circle. The stitching should not be as small as with sand so you will not cut the leather with the stitching. Make at least two rows of stitching. Using the strip between the two circles makes a flat bag which is very good under a metal pounding block.

Inner and Outer cover fabric (recycled jeans) $ 00
Sand 00
Electricity to dry sand (guess) .25
Thread .05
Total .30

Outer cover leather .97
Shot to fill (found some on sale) 13.00
Thread .05
Total $13.05
The most economical bags are those made from sand. A leather outer cover filled with sand would be more economical than using shot, but would also require an inner cover for the sand.I have preferred using the bags with shot.