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Alternatives to hand filing edges?

I’m currently making a pendant in sterling silver with 20 gauge
overlayed onto 18 gauge. The two pieces are completely joined up all
along the outside edge, making a fairly convoluted shape. My
technique is to cut the top piece exactly to size, cut the back
plate a bit oversized, sweat solder them together, cut away the
excess backplate with a jeweler’s saw and then file the edges until
the seam disappears. I’m happy with the result and would like to make
more. Is there a flex shaft attachment I could use to grind the edge
in order to cut down the amount of time I have to spend filing to
make the seam disappear?

Is there a flex shaft attachment I could use to grind the edge in
order to cut down the amount of time I have to spend filing to make
the seam disappear?

Pretty much any abrasive wheel that’s course enough to take away the
excess would work. You just need to make sure you don’t overgrind
too quickly. And you’ll have to slow down towards the end or even
hand file to make sure it’s all smooth and uniform when you finish.
If you pay attention and be careful, that’ll work fine.

I use a mandrel for sand paper. I have 5 each with a different grade
of sandpaper on it. I use wet slanging paper holds up better. I take
and fold thesand paper aprox. 1 inch the width of the sheet both
ways. ie smooth side to smooth side then rough side to rough side
then i just tear the paper whereit has been creased. put one end in
the mandrel then wrap it around. I actually do this on low speed
using the flex shaft. I start with 120 grit and go up to 2000 grit
depending on the finish I need.

Mizzy wheels are like little grinders. Cutting disks also act like
grinders and for finishing when you get close to done the snap on
sanding disks are awesome and come in different grits

I like black AdvantEdge wheels. There are little ones for the
flexshaft, but for what you are describing, a bigger one for the
polishing lathe will be quicker and easier to maintain a smooth line.


It is a rare piece that crosses my bench that hasn’t been touched by
a flex shaft mounted abrasive wheel. The wheels that I use are
abrasive filled rubberized wheels. I buy them usually from Rio in
packs of 10, but other suppliers carry them as well. They are the
22X6 black polisher in a medium grit and, if not already worn down to
a shape to get inside of the small places, you can “carve” them to a
desired size and profile by running them against an old file. I do
very little filing on the pieces that I make as these wheels are much
faster. If I do have a lot of filing to do, I use a rubber lapidary
expansion wheel with an abrasive belt in the desired grit. Since I
use my lapidary arbor, I can also run coolant on the piece to keep it
from getting too hot to handle. You can collect the swath from time
to time, dry it, bottle it and send it back to the refinery. Thanks.

Rob Meixner

You can use Nova Points. I have the large cylinder that I use with
my foredom and/or dremel and they come in different grits.

I use wet slanging paper 

What is slanging paper?

Al Balmer

I hate filing and sanding. I do my best to pre fit every thing so I
don’t have to remove so much metal.

I’m not a big fan of using abrasive rubber wheels on solder seams.
They tend to drag out pits and can leave an uneven surface.

I’d much rather use the little snap on sanding discs. The plastic
ones are my favs. They don’t drag seams out the way rubber wheels do.

Remember to only file or grind down 80% then hand emery the rest. If
you file the seam all the way out and then go to emery before
polishing you will have a thin spot.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

These are my favorite grinding/sanding attachments ever. They last
way longer, make less dust, and come in different gradients and
diameters. You can buy the extra mandrels so you don’t have to stop
and change gradients constantly.

I heartily second Eleanor: “And you’ll have to slow down towards the
end or even hand file to make sure it’s all smooth and uniform when
you finish.”

I ordered all of the components from Kingsley-North to make a wet
sander and my hubby put one together for me. He has also made
several more for some of my students. It sure does work great and
fast and because there is water pumping on the sanding belt, the
metal doesn’t get hot.

The components are a splash shield, motor and 1/2" arbor to hold a 6"
expanding drum, a wheel wetter, and the sanding belts to fit the
drum. He mounts it to a board and installs a switch and it is ready
to go. You can put the water directly into the splash shield but
since it is mounted, it works better to put some kind of flat tray in
the bottom of it so you can pick it up and empty and clean it and put
it back.

Hope this helps.

Has anyone tried this Badeco filing tool? I just saw it for the
first time and the concept is intriguing. My problem is many jewelry
fine finishing tools seem designed better for softer, precious
metals. I’m trying to do very fine nook and cranny deburring in 6-4
titanium and most finishing tools break down and/or lose shape
quickly. Currently my strategy is #8 Swiss files.

Jeff McWhinney


Has anyone tried this Badeco filing tool? I just saw it for the
first time and the concept is intriguing. 

If you’re going to use a reciprocating tool, why not a flexshaft
with diamond bits or ceramic points and oil for lubricating? I’m just
curious why this would or would not work, as I’m not yet familiar
with working titanium.

Excited to attend today’s local Gem and Mineral Show - on the hunt for
intriguing cabs, in Huntsville, AL

Jeff, master the graver and many of the problems of tight, square,
nooks, and crannies, can be dealt with quickly. There are many
different cutting metals that gravers can be purchased in. Do some
research to which is best for Titanium and practice, practice,
practice. I often combine gravers and burnishers to achieve the
results I want. Commonly, a light rouge is all that is necessary for

Hi Becky,

Tumbling successfully takes care of most of my deburring. But, I
haven’t found an aggressive media small enough to reach into my
tight spots. Those are the places I use files on. When I try
rotating tools in these areas, I inevitably end up with some sort of
gouging. Because my pieces are machined, these flaws really show up.


Hi Jeff, or Becky

I use #005 round burs or even #006 bud burs to get in where any other
filing method not do the job. I have more control over these two
sizes of burs & implements than a large hand-held file. For tight
corners I use a #5/0 or a larger #4/0 saw-blade. I use them just for
the corners or ultra-tight spots on delicate items!!!


Ah, thank you very much for the clarification. It’s helpful for
understanding the process you go through on your pieces. I didn’t
think about how easy it would be to ‘mess up’ when using a rotary
sanding or grinding bit. But you’re right, it would be hard to
prevent those markings!

Another great little tool that has not been mentioned is the Wolf
Belt sander for the flex shaft.

This tool will mount in your GRS bench mate system and quickly sand
flat surfaces or edges. I love this tool for fabrication and quickly
getting thosecrisp edges I need.

Just another tool in your tool box to make your life easier.

Phillip Scott

Technical Support
Rio Grande

I already replied once, but thought of another way. I string long
thin strips of various grit paper doubled over on an old saw frame
and use this as a flexible file to get into tight spots. You can also
do the same with butchers string charged with tripoli or some other
abrasive. Rob

Rob Meixner