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Abrasive Wheels for Flexshaft

I prefer to use a heatless mizzy wheel as a coarse abrasive and a
black silicone wheel as a fine abrasive before polishing. I haven’t
found an abrasive that I really like as a middle step between these
two. Any recommendations that anyone “swears by”?


Any recommendations that anyone "swears by"? 

I LOVE the AdvantEdge silicone (silicon?) wheels. I bought the
assortment kit of three shapes and four grits, and I use them
constantly, as do my students. The finest is only moderately fine, so
I extend the set with the Shofu wheels, which are x-fine and xx-fine
(I learned about those right here on Orchid).


Any recommendations that anyone "swears by"? 

I also use Mizzy wheels for rough. Then I go to a white 100 grit
wheel followed by a gray 220 grit wheel. I work with mostly silver
and occasionally gold. The kind I use doesn’t have a brand name that
I know of. The also come in finer grits of blue (800 grit) and pink
(1200 grit). I get them through Stuller and Rio.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Brown and green wheels keep sharp edges and bring it to a low polish
(Edenta Topstar polishers). Pink silicon wheels will bring metal to a
high polish (Gesswein Elite pink silicon wheels). White pumice wheels
(GK-9 Premium pumice wheels) will smooth out bumpy surfaces, and
great for pre polish on curvy surfaces. All from Gesswien. We use
them every day


Hi Jamie.

Karen from the Flex Shaft book here!

With regard to your Mizzy wheel, unless you are really grinding off
some serious imperfections, it is an aggressive abrasive. I wouldn’t
consider this as a “polishing” step, as its intended use is for a
hump left over on a sprue, or a very nasty deep gash, and even the
latter, I don’t think I would use a Mizzy for this.

There are several alternatives you can explore. However, what
exactly are you polishing? Datapoint for all of you in Orchid land in
asking questions. Describe in the best detail you can on your
problem. I have an silver ring, which is highly detailed, has three 1
carat diamonds in a channel setting and I need to polish this puppy.

Now you have informed the readership to give you more accurate
assistance. I only say this, because you should have seen my
questions when I started here. LOL

  1. Rio Grande sells the blue AdvantEdge blue silicon wheel, which is
    a good first step in polishing, as it is loaded with grit (don’t know
    the grit content, as I don’t have my book in front of me!), but I’m
    guessing aluminum carbide, to give you the first round of polishing
    on a small surface. However, there are alternatives to begin
    polishing besides rubber wheels.

  2. Depending on the complexity of your design, the amount of
    crevices, hills and valleys, you might look at the 3M Radial Bristle
    discs as your beginning point for polishing. Even in the heavier
    sized, the 3/4 inch yellow, brown or green, when brought up to speed,
    (depress your flexshaft pedal 3/4 the way down), and a light touch,
    gently “abrades” the metal reducing scratches. Work your way through
    the colors with the bristles in grit until you reach the minty green
    one which is very gentle and will bring your piece to a near perfect

Remember those safety glasses and dust mask!

Important operation protocol. The bristles like and need to be
stacked. A minimum of 3 on the heavy larger bristles and a minimum of
5 on the tiny ones. They like to party and be part of a collective,
so let them.

Direction is crucial. When you look at the bristle, the little
bristles should be pointing to the LEFT. This picture has them going
in both directions and that is counter productive to your polishing

  1. If your piece has wider surface areas, like rolling hills and
    flat portions, 3M wet and dry sandpaper in a split mandrel with a
    touch of water will do a very nice job for the pre-polish. Start with
    320 and work your way to 600.

  2. final polish can also be done with the Advantedge wheels in the
    finer grit. These are very good wheels available from Rio Grande and
    I recommend them highly.

  3. Polishing compounds. There is nothing so frustrating than
    purchasing your lovely stitched cotton buff flexshaft accessory,
    loading it up with either Tripoli, rouge or the polishing compound of
    your choice and having tiny bits of cotton shrapnel go flying across
    the room at mach speed.

Buffing wheel prep (large and small).

With a butane lighter, hold your mounted buff accessory in one hand
and the lighter in the other and lick the flame onto the buff. The
intention is for it to catch fire, and burn off the little stringy
bits. It is not to meant completely incinerate your buff. When it
burns slightly, extinguish the burning buff on a hard flame retardant
surface. If you still find stringy bits, re-ignite. If not, you are
done. It will look a bit charred and dismayed, but don’t worry, it is
ready for loading your compound.

  1. Here’s a little tip. Go find an empty Altoids box, clean and dry
    thoroughly. Cut off some chunks of rouge and place them in the
    bottom of the box. Put the canister in a tray in your regular oven
    set at 100 degrees or “warm”, or in your toaster oven. The tallow in
    the compound will begin to slowly melt. Once it is soft, take an
    offset pallet knife (plastic is fine) or even the back of a spoon,
    and spread it out evenly in the Altoids can. Allow it to cool. Now
    you have a nifty container to dunk your buff without getting your
    hands dirty with the added feature of it being portable and

  2. No crossing buffs! Like the movie Ghostbusters, crossing the
    streams of energy is bad. This relates to buffs too. Imagine brushing
    your teeth with kitchen cleanser. Same idea.

Hope this helps.

Karen Christians
Waltham, MA


I use a lot of the “white rubber” abrasive wheels, carried by most
all suppliers. I buy a lot of them in different shapes, unmounted.
They are agressive and fast, but leave a fairly smooth finish on
golds, silver, and palladium. I can usually go from this wheel
directly to tripoli. They come in many shapes from a large wide flat
wheel, to smaller diameter narrower ones that will fit inside most
rings. They also have barrel shapes and knife-edge, as well as an
ultra-thin design. They seem to wear down quickly, but they don’t
load with metal, which seems to be the trade off with a more durable
wheel. One trick I’ve learned is to dress these wheels by mounting
them on their mandrils and spinning them in my handpiece against a
diamond bur. Depending on the contour I need to shape, I can dress
each wheel with a correspondingly shaped diamond bur. The sets of
assorted diamond burs I use for shaping the rubber wheels are quite
cheap, maybe $10 for a dozen different shapes, and they are just
ideal for shaping or sizing these white rubber wheels.

Jay Whaley Whaley Studios


I made an error on my post for the direction of the 3M Radial
Bristle disks. The direction should be CLOCKWISE not counterclock
wise as in my previous post.

Got my lefts switched with my rights! Apologies.

Karen Christians
Waltham, MA