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Bench grinder and polisher

Is all this necessary? 

Katou, I think it is necessary to have a suction arrangement to take
away the worst of the fuzz+buffing compound that comes off when
you’re polishing.

Here’s how I do it:

–I bought a single-side dust collector (the cheapest kind you can
buy; I find it easier to change buffs than to move the collector back
and forth). It has a light on it and a replaceable filter inside.

–Changing or cleaning the filter is tedious because you must
unscrew the top in order to get at it. I simply leave it unscrewed
and place three heavy bricks on the top, it keep it in place and (I
hope) eliminate most air leakage.

–On the side is the air-exit screen. Over that, I duct-taped one of
those large round aluminum things that are used to step down the
aperture size for clothes dryer hoses (it must be larger than the
screen area).

–I put flexible dryer hose onto that and attached it to an old shop
vac (I bought that at a church rummage sale for $3). Turning on the
shop vac is very noisy, but the suction action is much, much better
than without it.

I still wear a mask over my nose and mouth when I buff, as well as
one of those plastic full-face shields and ear protection. Before I
got the shop vac (and before I went to doing so much of my work by
tumble polishing – I absolutely agree with Judy Willingham and
others about the wonderfulness of tumble polishing), I also would
wear a keffiyah (to keep the compound out of my hair) and an old
work shirt buttoned up to the top (to keep the compound off my skin
at the neck) and with the sleeves rolled down. I still would end up
with black streaks on my cheeks, marking the area just outside my

When I first began jewelry-making, I used our old (1950s) Kirby
vacuum cleaner to do polishing. It can be set up with a buff, to
polish. However, its speed is too slow to get the kind of polish
possible with a bench grinder. Nonetheless, for a time, it worked for
me, until I bought my bench grinder and then the dust collector
described above.

One more note: in the early 1980s, when Allcraft still had a store in
the Los Angeles area, I visited it. One of their older employees
talked to me about White Diamond buffing compound, which I purchased
and which remains the only buffing compound I use (on my base-metal
jewelry). That helpful talk has saved me days of time, over the
years, and I still remember his kindness. It’s the same kindness that
so many Orchid folks show!

Judy Bjorkman


Thanks for all the feedback from everyone. I see now that a dust
collection system is mandatory. I have sheet metal skills, so I will
start construction of the hoods as soon as I do my first castings.
No sense starting the hoods for the buffer before I have anything to

Oh, and buffers regularly run at 3400 rpm. There are only two speeds
for most induction motors, 1700 and 3400. Most motors are 1700, but
many are 3400. They probably have variable speed buffers but I’ve
never seen one. On the upside, the 1700 rpm motors are twice as hard
to bog down relative to a similarly sized 3400 rpm motor.

Thanks again for your help,


When we were first starting in this biz we purchased several silly
polishers. Now we use the collector mounted units. We always use a
p95 or p100 mask/resparator in addition to the collector. We have
one unit that is the old style rio, which we bought used from a
production company. Even though it is the cheaper oriental unit,
(not baldor) it still works after 10 years. The newest unit is the
new style collector from rio made by Pepe Tools. They put the light
bulbs on one fixture to save money. Instead of the bulbs being on the
outside of the work wheel they are on the inside so the light is
blocked by any wheel bigger than 5 inches.

These tools will hold 2/3’s of their value long after those others
are dead and gone. Same goes for me, I aint a filter thats why I buy
good ones for my work.