I have mentioned in several other areas the virtues of owning an air
compressor. I use mine for cleaning more than any for other task.
Compressed air makes short work of tasks that used to take longer and gave a
less satisfactory result.
For example, they are excellent for getting dirt and dust from areas that no
other item will reach in to. Another example is blowing all the crud
that accumulates in drawers of your flight box and tool boxes.
A large camel or horse hair brush used to wipe off your bench. Use it
remove particles that might gouge your wood. Never use it to wipe away
anything that is oily such as metal chips from drilling. You can also
use it wipe the bulk of the sanding dust from your work but be sure to check
that there are no chips or other crud in the brush that will scratch the
Cake Pans and Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
These items make excellent cleaning trays. You will
want some that are relatively shallow and others that are bowl shaped.
They can be purchased at Wal-Mart or from local grocers.
I use cloth diapers for cleaning my planes after flying and other clean-up
tasks. I do not use them for wiping up glue or paint or anything else that
will harden in the cloth and potentially scratch the finish of a model if I
happen to use that particular diaper to clean it. Diapers are very
absorbent, can be washed and last for years.
You can either buy real diapers from
the baby section of various stores or diaper cloth from places such as Home
Q-Tips are great for a lot of different cleaning
tasks. They are also good for making nice little glue fillets. For
example, you can dip it in alcohol or lacquer thinner and use it to wipe up the
epoxy that oozes out when you glue the horizontal stabilizer on and it will
leave a small fillet of glue that makes cleanup easier (no seam for oil and grit
to get into). They are also handy for cleaning
Old paint brushes are good for cleaning dirt and
dust from hard to reach areas such as the between the fins of an engine.
The are not good for scrubbing but are excellent for removing loose dirt.
The cost of paper towels adds up after a while, so I only use them for
cleaning up glue, paint or other things that would ruin cloth diapers.
Paper towels will scratch finishes each time they are used. Over time a
finish will become dull. Use diapers instead — you will save money and your
finishes will look good longer.
Used for general cleaning tasks and especially
handy for cleaning airbrushes. I use good quality pipe cleaners for my
airbrushes. For other types of cleaning I pick up a bag at a craft shop. They are not as good as the real thing,
but much less expensive. The craft store variety are fairly long so I cut
them in half using side cutters and get twice as many for my money.
Shop Vacs are excellent tools. I almost put a shop vac
in the "necessities" section because it is almost that important. The only
way to really remove all the sanding dust from your model is to vacuum it.
Be sure to buy a brush accessory if your vac does not come with one. The
brush can be used when vacuuming the structure of a model without gouging or
scratching the wood.
I purchased two brush attachments. I use one for general cleaning in
my shop and use the other for nothing but vacuuming dust from my models.
Brushes get crud stuck in them and I found out the hard way that this stuff
can damage soft balsa, so now I reserve a brush to ensure that problem
does not occur again.
The two downsides of a shop vac are that they are
space hogs and can be loud. Try to find a place in your shop where it is readily
accessible but out of the way.
I would not even consider purchasing a shop vac that
isn't a quiet model.
I use very fine #0000 steel wool for removing tarnish from items such as
threaded rod, etc. Very fine sandpaper could also be used but the more
the part is scratched the faster it will tarnish again.
I also use steel wool for rubbing out polyurethane finishes (my flight box,
Toothbrushes are excellent for scrubbing small,
hard to reach areas. Generally speaking they will not damage or scratch
metal so they are good for cleaning engines. Another type of brush
which is probably hard to find now is used to clean the keys of typewriters.
They have plastic bristles like a toothbrush but tend to be much stiffer.