First, let’s talk about the board…
A blending board is a fun, simple, fiber tool that, in the last few years, has really gained attention and popularity. It originates from a garnetting board or carding board, but, with a few specialized tweaks to the clothing design, it takes on a whole other life of function.
The board is flat and wide to accept the special blending board cloth (hyperlink) and typically has a foot on the underside so that it may be propped upright on your work table, or, by turning the foot, you can cradle the blending board on your lap, using your knees on the foot to hold it in place.
(photo of complete board)
Now, let’s talk about the cloth…
After extensive research and development, Howard Brush came up with a combination of variables that were the ideal makeup for a cloth used specifically on a blending board. Blending cloth has longer teeth, a different, more open tooth pattern, and the finish on the tip of the wire is such that it is less likely to hurt your hand since there is so much more contact using a blending board than with hand or drum carders.
Regular carding cloth has a shorter tooth in comparison to blending cloth, a more closed tooth pattern, and the finish on the tip is a bit more aggressive.
The special fabrication and design of blending cloth makes it ideal for handling a spectrum of materials; normal fleeces, and not so normal fun additives; feathers, bits of cloth, etc. On top of that, the makeup of the tooth itself is best suited for the process of evenly blending, and uniformly removing
How to build one…
So you’re the type that likes to get your hands dirty, do it yourself, and customized something of your own? We like your type.
Start with your cloth. Does it need to be cut to size? Whether you’re cutting our carding cloth, rug hooking gripper strips, or blending board cloth to size, the foundation cloth cuts very easily with a razor-type utility knife. But you’ll first want to remove the teeth from wherever you’ll be trimming.
Removing the teeth width-wise and lengthwise is very easily done. First, protect your work table with a piece of cloth, cardboard, etc. Next, place the carding cloth teeth side down. You’ll notice that there is a bend in the teeth. You want to pull the teeth out with this bend and not fighting against it, so position your cloth with the points of the teeth pointing away from you. Using a tool such as an ice pick, awl, or heavy sewing needle, place the pick under the crown of the staple and pull them out. The teeth will come out very easily if you are working with the bend, and not against it. If the teeth feel difficult to remove, turn the clothing the other direction and try again.
A great feature to note: the teeth line up straight width wise and length wise, so whether you are trimming your cloth shorter, or making it narrower, you’re guaranteed to always pull a nice, straight line.
Once you have the teeth removed from your carding cloth where you need it, using your utility knife, still with the teeth face down on your work surface, cut the carding cloth from the backside.
Now, for building a blending board, you’ll want to have a margin of space on all four sides so that you have room to staple your cloth to you board. If you had to trim down the cloth width wise, you’ll need to remove teeth of the sides for this margin. If not, the factory spacing on the sides of the blending board cloth, as you received it, is perfect. Also remove teeth on the top and bottom of the cloth, as described above.
How to attached the cloth to your wooden blending board, or your night table, or a grand piano, or the hood of your car.* Anything “flat” really….
We recommend only using staples when mounting your carding cloth to your drum carder, hand carders, or blending board. A very important variable in how well the carding cloth performs is the tooth’s ability to flex within the foundation material. Using an adhesive will cause the teeth to become very rigid and not work as well.
For a blending board or hand carders; hold the clothing down flat and staple around all 4 sides.
It’s important that the teeth point toward the top of the board, and away from you when using it.
There. You’ve done it! Bravo! Now grab some fibers and get to it.
*Howard Brush does not recommend attaching the clothing the hood of your car and is not responsible for any damages as the result of doing so 😉