A "no-sew"
© Frank Ford 2006; Photos by FF

Sandbags are some of the most useful weighty things in my shop.  I use 'em for ballast, balance and cushioning.  Here's a quick way to make sand or shot bags without having to truck out the old sewing machine or use up any favors.

I start with an old pair of heavy work pants or jeans, and simply cut off a leg to the length I want:

Rolling up the leg three full turns, I get a nice seal on the end:

Then I punch some holes and bang in a line of grommets to secure the opening:

Don't have a grommet setter?  Ooh, you should get one.  They come in handy for making and modifying tarps, curtains, covers and stuff like that.  Now, of course you could use this same technique with a bunch of fender washers and bolts or rivets, or you could even staple the ends to a couple of hardwood sticks.


I can fill the bag loosely or tightly depending on its intended use, and I can use lead or steel shot for density:

Most of the time I use coarse sand, because that's what's handy.  The coarser the sand (up to and including pea gravel) the less likely I'll have any sifting out through the weave in the bag.  In a pinch, I made one with (unused!) cat litter. I do, by the way, use a plastic grocery bag over any of these sandbags if I'm working with it directly on the mill table or anywhere else that abrasive dust might be an issue.


Here's the result - a nice plump little ballast bag:


It would work well to cushion delicate work:


But, I'll add a permanent rope handle on this one:


It's full time job will be to stabilize my shop camera tripod:

I just learned something last week about digital cameras. They REALLY don't like it when you trip over the tripod and knock it over so the camera slams onto the concrete floor lens first. Oh, well, now I have an excuse to get that new Canon G7. . .

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