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i have a question about squeegees. i do a smallish amount of screenprinting (water-based) out of my home to sell at craft fairs. would a dull squeegee cause printed lines to go "wobbly?" when i checked the squeegees i use most often, i noticed they were definitely getting worn down and losing their sharp edge. are there usually places to take them to get them sharpened, or is it best to buy a new one?

thanks for any help you can give.

dabne
 

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I'm new to printing, so I can't give you the best answers, but I can give you some help until a better answer comes along.

mogo said:
would a dull squeegee cause printed lines to go "wobbly?"
I don't know about "wobbly", but yes it can have an adverse affect on print quality.

mogo said:
when i checked the squeegees i use most often, i noticed they were definitely getting worn down and losing their sharp edge.
Depending on what printing you are doing, this is not necessarily a bad thing. An uneven edge is certainly bad, but for some printing you would actually be better off using a rounded blade. Squeegees don't always have to be sharp.

mogo said:
are there usually places to take them to get them sharpened, or is it best to buy a new one?
Yes, there are places you can have them re-sharpened. You can also buy a piece of equipment to re-sharpen them (the ones I've seen were surprisingly expensive), or use a piece of sandpaper, or I suppose a power sander if you were careful.

Obviously there's only so many times you can do this until you've worn away the rubber to the point where the squeegee is no longer useful, but you don't need to throw them out straight away.

Other than that, you don't need to buy a new squeegee, only new rubber. Squeegee rubber can normally be bought by the inch (or yard if you want to buy in bulk) from a distributor, cut to the size you want, and replaced. This is easier with some squeegees than others (mine are aluminium and have screws, others are wood with staples).

Also, this all assumes you have decent squeegees to begin with. The ones I've seen that come with speedball kits are crap (flimsy, thin, plastic handles), so if you have something along those lines I'd recommend you look into upgrading your squeegee. If you have one of those and haven't been unhappy with it though, you might as well try sand-papering the blade first to see what you can do.
 
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