Friday, May 02, 2008

A hot knife through butter

Well, I finally got up into the loft today and played with my new Walnut Hollow Creative Hot Knife that I bought at Michaels on Tuesday before I wiped out and had to get myself home. (Speaking of which, got the results of my blood tests back -- I am completely normal, nothing serious going on except a really bad reaction to steroids and a sinus infection. So I am now on Doxycycline again. But I do feel "better" today in the sense that I don't feel quite as weirded out, more just sick. Sick I can handle!)

ANYWAY ... the knife is awesome! It really works superbly well, like, well, a hot knife through butter on the EZ Mount, and even fairly easily on the rubber itself. Here's the scoop:

What I did was peel the rubber only off an SU set and adhere it to the sticky side of some EZ Mount, then I peeled the paper backing off the vinyl cling side and stuck that to a glass cutting mat. Then I just traced around the edge of the rubber (cutting the foam only -- on this set the rubber was already trimmed just fine), and, I mean, in seconds the stamp was cut out and ready to go on an acrylic block! Cutting out the whole set took less than five minutes. This will totally make unmounting all my sets so much easier!

Then I wanted to try trimming rubber with it. I found a stamp I bought that had some biggish empty-rubber bits ("Simple Pleasures" by Stampabilities -- some of you have this, the one of the little boy walking with his dad down a road) and unmounted it. That part was NOT easy, as Stampabilities use some kind of horrid, cancer-inducing black foam that is stuck for eternity to the rubber. I ended up having to actually use the hot knife to scrape the rubber off, and this is what I mean about the cancer inducing part -- the smell was wretched! The foam probably has toluene or something in it. I know about this stuff because I spent a summer working in the Safety department of the chemical company where my dad was the environmental affairs director. I looked at a darned awful lot of MSDS sheets describing all kinds of nasty chemicals and their dangers to human health. "Black foam for mounting rubber stamps" was probably one of them.

So, anyhow, once I finally got that off, I just put the rubber by itself down on the glass mat and trimmed back the parts where I wasn't satisfied with the way the company had done it. It wasn't quite like cutting through butter, it took a bit of pressure (not much!), and I did have to kind-of hold down the rubber with my left hand while I cut with my right, because of the tendency of rubber to stretch. But I got great results with it, and after I did the rubber I stuck it to the EZ Mount and trimmed the foam to match. (The main reason I didn't stick it to the EZ Mount before I trimmed out the rubber bits was because the work was a bit detailed and I wasn't sure if working through both would be a good idea.) Then I stamped with it to make sure there weren't any little unfortunate lines anywhere, and I got a perfect image!

I am totally thrilled with this thing. It should really make this unmounting project pretty much a snap now (as long as I don't have too many black-foam stamps to deal with!) And then I'll have more space, and then I can start getting my pegboard and new flooring and really get with it on re-doing the loft!! Yippeeeee!

I am almost finished with my cataloging project! I got all but the current SU sets lists printed and into a notebook. Tomorrow I'll probably get the current SU lists printed up and added. The last things I need to do are make the alphabet image index, add the non-SU wood-mounteds as they come off their mounts and check for sets/stamps I've missed. It will be SO COOL to have an index to use!!

AND I'm hoping to get into the loft and MAKE SOMETHING!! I am in desperate need of creativity again. I have been organized, now it's time to get messy!

Off to bed, hopefully a good night's sleep and a better day tomorrow.

God is good!

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