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Thread: steel wool as a needle sharpener

  1. #1
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    someone posted a Tute on here about making a needle sharpener for you machine needles. It is nothing more than a piece of steel wool placed inside of a fabric pouch and you sew through it to sharpen your needles...

    however..using steel wool, even encased in fabric, on your machine is not a wise choice. Steel wool makes tiny grains of steel when it is broken down...those can cut through that fabric and end up in your bobbin case/race causing damage to the machine! Even if you can't you see them, they are there!

    SO, instead of risking damage to your machine, you can do what I have been doing for 40 years....take the lid from an old spray can...then put in a clean/new SOS pad..cover with a piece of fabric all tucked into the cap...now you can take your pins and needles and stab the into the SOS pad..this keeps them clean and sharp the way the old strawberry emerys do.(though they don't have as much emery in them any more more ruby & diamond dust now)

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    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    i would have also been worried about steel wool getting in my machine also.

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    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    Great information. Thank you for sharing.

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    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip:)

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks for that warning!

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    great idea!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    someone posted a Tute on here about making a needle sharpener for you machine needles. It is nothing more than a piece of steel wool placed inside of a fabric pouch and you sew through it to sharpen your needles...

    however..using steel wool, even encased in fabric, on your machine is not a wise choice. Steel wool makes tiny grains of steel when it is broken down...those can cut through that fabric and end up in your bobbin case/race causing damage to the machine! Even if you can't you see them, they are there!

    SO, instead of risking damage to your machine, you can do what I have been doing for 40 years....take the lid from an old spray can...then put in a clean/new SOS pad..cover with a piece of fabric all tucked into the cap...now you can take your pins and needles and stab the into the SOS pad..this keeps them clean and sharp the way the old strawberry emerys do.(though they don't have as much emery in them any more more ruby & diamond dust now)
    Smart Lady. I never thouth about this happening. I'am going your way to sharpening my neddles.

  8. #8
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    I've used the spray can top/steel wool pin cushion for years. I had a Brownie Troop and we made them for Mothers day, smile. What goes round comes round. Best pin/needle cushion in my collection.

  9. #9
    saf
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    Great tip. Thanks for sharing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bodie358's Avatar
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    Or, just keep the pouch away from your machine - manually poke the needle in and out.

  11. #11
    Super Member bluteddi's Avatar
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    I guess I misunderstood the "steek wool.needle sharpener" idea..I thought u just held the bag in your hand ran your needle thru it, as if sewing but with out thread..... I never would have thought to put it under the presser foot of my machine and run the needle thru that way....

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    Quote Originally Posted by rdorminy
    I've used the spray can top/steel wool pin cushion for years. I had a Brownie Troop and we made them for Mothers day, smile. What goes round comes round. Best pin/needle cushion in my collection.
    yep, I made my first one for my mom in GS when I was 10! She still has it...only changes the SOS pad once a year on Mother's day! she also replaced the denim top with silk..makes the pins slide in and out easier she says.heheheh

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    Super Member cctx.'s Avatar
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    What about "sewing through" fine sandpaper without the machine threaded. Will this damage the bobbin casing area?

    I've used this technique before, not on a daily basis, but used it at least once a year.

    That's another quick trick for an emergency back up that I use if I'm out of sewing machine needles for that day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cctx.
    What about "sewing through" fine sandpaper without the machine threaded. Will this damage the bobbin casing area?

    I've used this technique before, not on a daily basis, but used it at least once a year.

    That's another quick trick for an emergency back up that I use if I'm out of sewing machine needles for that day.
    if that sand gets into the bobbin race it can cause it to freeze up...

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    Quote Originally Posted by cctx.
    What about "sewing through" fine sandpaper without the machine threaded. Will this damage the bobbin casing area?

    I've used this technique before, not on a daily basis, but used it at least once a year.

    That's another quick trick for an emergency back up that I use if I'm out of sewing machine needles for that day.
    I've seen this hint many times over the years. As long as you clean the bobbin area afterward you should be fine.

  16. #16
    Super Member cctx.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bakermom
    Quote Originally Posted by cctx.
    What about "sewing through" fine sandpaper without the machine threaded. Will this damage the bobbin casing area?

    I've used this technique before, not on a daily basis, but used it at least once a year.

    That's another quick trick for an emergency back up that I use if I'm out of sewing machine needles for that day.
    I've seen this hint many times over the years. As long as you clean the bobbin area afterward you should be fine.
    You're right, and keeping it oiled as needed.
    I'd rather use the sandpaper, not sure on that steel wool.

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    instead of sandpaper, at the hardware store look for EMERY cloth...it is in the same dept and you can buy by the sheet!
    it is black and contains the same emery powder that used to fill the strawberry needle emerys! I would also put a piece of cloth over and under it just in case!

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    Super Member cctx.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    instead of sandpaper, at the hardware store look for EMERY cloth...it is in the same dept and you can buy by the sheet!
    it is black and contains the same emery powder that used to fill the strawberry needle emerys! I would also put a piece of cloth over and under it just in case!
    Thanks for the tips Jacqui!

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    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Or you could fancy it up ... and do the tea cup and saucer pin cushions!

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    Those are cute! i made some for gifts a few years ago. I hunted aound goodwill till i found pretty matching ones.

  21. #21
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    This is so interesting.
    I think I'm going to make some pincushions. I never knew what to put in them before.
    Thanks everyone

  22. #22
    Super Member Airwick156's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information. I was going to buy some steel wool to do this when I went for groceries, but now I am not. Its not worth damaging your sewing machine just to save a little money by not just using a new needle. I am fortunate I have probably 15 needles or so, but I still don't change the needle like I am supposed to.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    instead of sandpaper, at the hardware store look for EMERY cloth...it is in the same dept and you can buy by the sheet!
    it is black and contains the same emery powder that used to fill the strawberry needle emerys! I would also put a piece of cloth over and under it just in case!

    there is also an emery-type sanding sponge that i have cut strips from to smooth out any nicks on the needle plate. I suppose you could use it for needles too.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluteddi
    I guess I misunderstood the "steek wool.needle sharpener" idea..I thought u just held the bag in your hand ran your needle thru it, as if sewing but with out thread..... I never would have thought to put it under the presser foot of my machine and run the needle thru that way....
    Keepsake Quilting has a picture of one being used on the bed of the machine. I freaked out when I saw that! Not a good idea, I wouldn't think.

    Is real emery better than ruby and diamond dust? My strawberry is about 14 years old. Which would it have? The velvet is all worn out and I am scared one of these days it is gonna pop when I poke it! :lol:

  25. #25
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I have used the steel wool when I make pin cushions, to hold pins and needles. I would never have thought to use it on my machine. Thanks for the tip.

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