After three months, we’ve finally completed soaking, scrubbing, and sorting the massive number of typeset blocks. Needless to say, our fingers are raw, the sink is trashed, but the blocks look GREAT!

Here’s a few shots of what the sink looked like immediately after completing phase 1. It took two hours to get most (80%) of the ink residue removed from this sink.

After a LOT of experiments with different solvents, soak times, and other cleaning methods, what we learned from this first phase was quite interesting:
• Leaded blocks do not respond well to soda blasting.
• Ultrasonic cleaning does not work with wood products, as they float to the top.
• Despite numerous combinations, no chemical or solvent (such as citrus degreaser, or Simple Green) can match the cleaning power of hot water.
• Even dried-out 50-year-old wood will quickly go from “good” to “warped” if soaked just a few minutes too long.

After the last batch was dry, the sorting began. We honestly thought this would take longer than it did, but was completed over two nights.

So, this brings us to the start of phase 2: the mosaics and glue-ups. Ironically, this phase is also not fast, and put our Tetris-like puzzle solving skills to the ultimate test.

Here. We. Go.

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