Two Toothbrushes Are Better Than One

Most seal carvers keep an old toothbrush handy for use in sweeping stone dust out of the grooves while they carve a seal. You can also use this toothbrush to remove any remaining dust from the completed seal face before you touch it to your seal ink as this dust might otherwise transfer onto the ink and cause problems for you the next time you use the ink. After stamping the completed seal for the first time you may decide you need to do a little more work on it. Before reworking it try to remove as much seal ink as possible from the stone by repeatedly stamping onto waste paper or wiping it with a cloth or paper towel. But, since it can be very difficult to remove all the ink, it’s a good idea to have a second toothbrush on hand to use while you re-cut the stone, one that will likely be stained red by the ink left in the grooves. This second toothbrush can also be used when you’ve decided to abandon a design and want to sand down the stone to re-use it. With a reddened toothbrush you can scrub the stone under hot running water to try to remove as much seal ink as possible from the stone before sanding. Otherwise any ink left on the stone might stain your sandpaper and later transfer onto another stone. Residual ink can also clog up your sandpaper, making it less effective.

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