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Bench grinder for polishing tips


#1

They (whoevever THEY are) say there are no stupid questions. So be
kind and bear this in mind when you read mine!

I purchased a bench grinder for polishing about a month ago. It works
great, but I spend more time on the floor looking for my pieces than
I do polishing. Please, O Friends of Orchid, tell me what I am doing
wrong and give me tips or techniques to prevent this. Pieces flung
against the wall after they have spun out of my fingers certainly
have that “flawed” look everyone has been discussing in another
thread!

Thanks,
Candy


#2

Hi Candy,

Here are severeal tips to remember:

Always polish on the bottom portion of the wheel…Picture a clock
and then turn it sideways…You should be polishing at between 3:30
and 4:30.

Use the whole wheel not just the center or you’ll end up with an
uneven buff. (Like a trench in the center of the wheel).

Also stick to the 4" buffs until you get more experience. A 6" buff
can be very unforgiving.

Try to polish in the opposite direction than you last sanded.

Use a separate buff for the tripoli, red rouge, and green rouge. (I
really like the bobbing compound instead of tripoli but be careful
because it removes alot of material so you could trash prongs pretty
easily)

DON’T PUSH too hard…let the speed of the wheel do the work & let
the tripoli and rouge do its job.

If a piece gets away from you … Let it go! … Your fingers are
more important than a piece of jewelery.

Always WEAR SAFTEY GLASSES!

When polishing a chain or a bracelet always use a piece of leather
(about 4" long should be good) from an old belt to hold the chain
against. Also never clasp it closed or wrap your fingers with it to
hold it better… Again, IF IT GETS AWAY FROM YOU LET IT GO!

Lastly, I never use the finger tip gaurds. This does two things. One
I can feel the piece very well and have much better control of it.
Second I get really dirty fingers. For me the better feel far
outweighs the dirty hands. Unfortunately getting used to the heat
will only come with time and tougher (numb) fingers. I know people
who work with the finger guards to spare their fingers and it works
well for them…It’s probably what you get used to.

I hope that helps,

Mark

Ps If you don’t have a vacume system…Wear a mask…At least with
the rouge side.


#3

good to make holding jigs for things, from wood(holes in wood for
posts, etc., while buffing whatever’s soldered to it, good to hold
rings with tapered wood dowels, don’t let edges of things come into
contact first, let the buff set down on a surface in the middle
somewhere, and then go to the edge, turn around and do the other
half of the piece touching middle first, or go parallel to the
edges, never come onto an edge, come off an edge, unless you’re
holding tight, good to hold piece more towards the underpart of
the buff, instead of in front, and even to keep hands planted on
bench underfront, so you are moving your fingers and hands only,
not your arms(if sitting), or keep your hands steady and only move
arms from the elbow(if standing), and while doing this, make sure
you pay close attention to the pressure you are exerting, know what
you’re doing, when you’re touching, possibly get a polishing
hood to catch things, line the place where things hit, with
cloth, carpet pieces, foam, etc., by the way you should have
dust collector, either in your hood, or if not right behind the
wheel somewhere, and if not have a filtered mask on, and of course
glasses, and shield somewhere between your face and the wheel,dp


#4
    I spend more time on the floor looking for my pieces than I do
polishing. Please, O Friends of Orchid, tell me what I am doing
wrong and give me tips or techniques to prevent this. 
  1. Use gloves, finger cots or “alligator skin” to protect your
    fingers, and holf the piece to be polished firmly.

  2. Enclose your grinder/polisher in a box of some sort. I use a
    cardboard box with one open side, facing front so I can reach the
    buffs. Any flung items usually wind up hitting soft cardboard and
    remain inside the box.

James in SoFl


#5

I think you need to use a ring holder or a hand vise. It will give
you more control in holding your piece while polishing. If you
can’t use a hand vise, polish your piece in smaller sections. Do a
little bit at a time till all of it is polished, don’t try to do the
whole piece at once and let it cool down once it gets hot.

~Tom~


#6
   great, but I spend more time on the floor looking for my pieces
than I do polishing. Please, O Friends of Orchid, tell me what I am
doing wrong and give me tips or techniques to prevent this. 

Candy,

It sounds like you’re not using a polishing hood of any type with
your grinder. I’ve adapted a grinder as a polisher (several years
ago, at this point) and use it quite successfully on an ongoing
basis. Like any polisher, pieces can get grabbed and flung around
– but if you have a good polishing hood to catch them they won’t be
as damaged.

More critically – that polishing hood should be attached to some
sort of suction system to pull that polishing dust away from your
face!

The setup doesn’t have to be at all expensive – a sturdy cardboard
box with cutouts and properly secured to the stand for your grinder
can function as a polishing hood. Attach to it a shop vac, and
cover the intake for the shop vac with a bit of window screen. Duct
tape to hold it all together, and you have a functional polishing
hood to start off with for under $20 ($19 of which will be the shop
vac). As you get further along, you’ll want to look at a more
permanent setup, but I include this one as an innovative and
incredibly cheap way to start out (yes, it’s how I started with my
home one and it worked quite well until the box finally fell apart
and I got a sturdier setup).

Hope this helps!

Karen
@Karen_Goeller


#7
    Use gloves, finger cots or "alligator skin" to protect your
fingers, and holf the piece to be polished firmly. 

Do not use gloves it is way too easy to end up with a serious injury
like a broken wrist or severed fingers if the gloves get caught by
the wheel. Finger cots, alligator skin (but only on the tips of your
fingers never past the first joint! ), leather finger guards all
work but are still not totally safe. Bare fingers are safer but
still you must keep your wits about you when working with a
polishing motor.

If you look up the OSHA guidelines about polishing wheels they state
to never get your hands closer than 2" to the wheel. How anybody
polishes anything by not getting closer than 2 inches is beyond me
unless you make a lot of fixtures and even then I am not certain how
some things would be polished. But they will bite you if you are not
careful.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#8

Hi Candy,

Using a buffing wheel on a powerful motor to polish you art can be
very intimidating. Everyone will have the buffing wheel grab a
piece every now and then. The trick is to prevent it from happening
as few times as possible.

The following things can help:

  1. Most important. NEVER, NEVER let the buffing wheel run down on
    a leading edge of your work. Always polish from the center to the
    lower edge of you piece.

  2. Experience will teach you what actions are most likely to cause
    a piece to be grabbed by the wheel. Either avoid these actions or
    prepare to hold the piece tighter.

  3. Do not press hard against the buffing wheel. Let the polishing
    compound and wheel do the work.

  4. Keep moving the piece back and forth against the wheel. Do not
    allow the wheel to run on one spot continually.

  5. There are tools that one can buy that will hold some pieces
    while polishing.

  6. A pair of vice grips with rubber pads bonded on the jaws make a
    great tool for holding some pieces. The amount of pressure the
    jaws apply to the piece can be adjusted.

  7. Some flat pieces can be held against a piece of wood. The wood
    acts as a backing to the piece being polished.

  8. You can taper a piece of 1X1 inch wool and slit the end about 2
    inches deep. A ring can be slid up the taper until it fits
    tightly. This will hold the ring while you polish it.

Some people are dead set against wearing gloves while polishing. I
have work with gloves with finger guards bonded on the fingers of
the glove for many years. The buffing wheel will wear through the
stitching of gloves. The finger guards can be placed in such a
manner as to protect the stitching of the glove and guard. This
heavy build up of leather on the hands works for me because I
usually polish large items.

Good luck
Lee Epperson


#9

As an option for inexpensive polishing hoods I would suggest a
plastic trash container. Easy to make the cutouts for the
polisher/Grinder and an opening for the vent. This should prove to
be somewhat more durable than a cardboard box.

WMSchenk


#10

Candy,

I have used a bench grinder for a few months, I up-graded to a true
dust collector and buffing wheel set-up last week, so your problems
are fresh in my mind.

First thing, get a set of arbors and tapered spindles for your
grinder. This will allow you some clearance between the motor and
your buffs. You should be able to pick them up at most supply places
for under $20.00. You’ll find it much easier to work on your piece
once you can use all of the areas of the buff. Most of the bench
grinders have guards that are very difficult to remove and you have
a limited area of the buff to use.

I would highly recommend some sort of dust collecting apparatus,
depending upon how handy you are there are sources for all the parts
you need to build one except the actual box that houses them. If you
decide to make one, keep this in mind, build it to a size of a
standard A/C filter. That way your vac or other suction device
doesn’t ingest all the dust you create. A/C filters are cheap and
the sizes available will cover just about anything you can fabricate.
Check Home Depot or Lowes, decide on the filter size you want and
build your box to fit it. My day job is with HD and we will cut
plywood to size for a customer, so design your box, get HD to cut
it, and then just assemble it.

The best thing I have found for polishing a ring shank is a short
length of dowel that slips inside the ring, easy to hold and
manipulate the ring and it keeps your fingers out of the way and
cool and you can buff the whole ring at one time.

Bruce
Try this link as a source of the parts
www.thunderbirdsupply.com


#11
  Enclose your grinder/polisher in a box of some sort. I use a
cardboard box with one open side, facing front so I can reach the
buffs. Any flung items usually wind up hitting soft cardboard and
remain inside the box. 

Exactly! Figure out the path the piece will take if it goes, and put
something soft there and shock absorbent. I have used thin foam,
dishtowels, and cardboard when necessary. I did a big job polishing
250 little tiny hats and all I had was a big stand-up polisher.
After searching in the “jewelers position” for a while, I used a
large bowl with towels inside to catch any hats that went astray. I
placed it right under the buffing wheel with not too much clearance.
Saved me lots of swearing time!

Mary


#12

Hi Candy,

You can rig up a cardboard box lid at the back of your grinder to
catch wayward flying objects. The cardboard will also help cushion
the blow and help prevent most serious ding/dents. While I haven’t
had any experience polishing up silver, I have done a fair share of
polishing polymer clay on a muslin buffing wheel. I know the object
you’re polishing should be at the bottom half of the wheel and if the
wheel catches the item, it will safely throw it away from you. I was
always told to use the “butterfly kisses” technique when polishing
polymer, don’t know if the same applies for metals though.

Tracy
Tracy’s Treasures


#13
 When polishing a chain or a bracelet always use a piece of
leather (about 4" long should be good) from an old belt to hold the
chain against.  Also never clasp it closed or wrap your fingers
with it to hold it better.... Again,  IF IT GETS AWAY FROM YOU LET
IT GO!

Having seen plenty of people in the cutlery trade missing fingers
and worse as a result of polishing accidents I would like to
emphasise the above and say NEVER use cloth, string long belts or
whatever near a polishing wheel or a lathe and, if you have long
hair or a long beard, tie it up on top of your head so that it can’t
possibly fall or otherwise protect it so it can’t get near the
wheel. Any of these things can, and probably will at some time, get
caught by the wheel and will drag you into the wheel and injure you.
Where you absolutely need to use some form of protection such as for
heat from the part or if you are polishing something on a lathe, use
paper - preferably newsprint - as this will tear away and not drag
you in. Even then you are better to find alternative ways of doing
your job and should avoid anything loose and floppy. For instance,
rather than the bit of leather belt recommended above, I use a flat
wooden stick such as an old emery buff stick to hold the chain and I
either wrap the chain around it several times or, if I want to buff
along the length of the chain, I pin the free end securely to the
wood and stretch the rest of the chain tight along the stick. Its
not hard to imagine what will happen if the free end of chain gets
caught and wrapped round the buff spindle while you have the other
end looped around your hand! Better to spend another 5 minutes
preparing to work safely than 6 months recovering from an accident
and another couple of years learning to live with less fingers.
Think safety.

Best Wishes
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#14

I use a one gallon ice cream container as a hood on my bench
grinder/polisher. I was able to secure it directly onto the bench
grinder using the screw holes that the grinding wheel shroud was
attached to. I cut away about a third of the side of the container to
get access forpolishing. If I do drop a piece it usually bounces off
of the plastic container and then falls more gently to the floor.

Regards
Milt Fischbein
Calgary Alberta