Cleanup Tip: Metal Shavings

If you notice the background of most of my pictures, you’re probably thinking “why would I take cleanup advice from that guy?”.

True, I don’t clean up as often as I should, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to do it.

I have a portable bandsaw that I got for Christmas and that I am fairly certain is the most awesome tool ever.
I use it to slice through angle iron and tubing like a hot knife through Vaseline; and through 3.5-inch thick bricks of steel like… okay, it’s not that fast with the thick metal, but it gets the job done and takes up a whole lot less space than a horizontal bandsaw.
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However, as is true of all saws, it makes a mess. Which brings me to the point of this article: a neat trick to quickly clean up metal shavings.

I use this method whenever I have a fairly localized mess of shavings in an area that isn’t easy to use a broom in, such as around my vice and grinder on the workbench, or on the floor in front of the vice where I use my portable bandsaw.
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What you need:

  • A strong magnet (ideally a rare earth magnet)
  • A shop cloth (I like to use pieces of old t-shirt)

Place the magnet in the cloth…
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Fold the cloth around the magnet…
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Wipe the area where the shavings are to collect them…
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Then go over the to trash can, and unwrap the magnet and set it aside…
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Now you have a handful of shavings to empty into the trash and a clean magnet.
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See? I can clean if I want to.