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
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
–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
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!