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Buff rake

A few people have written me wondering about my mention of the buff
rake in a previous thread on polishing…

Basically what happens is that after constantly charging your wheel,
the compounds build up to the point at which they interfere with
your polishing. They leave streaks and lines of compound on your
work. You can also get lines drawn or worn into your metal,
especially flat sheet.

The rake breaks up this “overload” and exposes fresh material to
grab the new charge of compound.

Rakes can be purchased from suppliers or made up pretty simply.
While I lived in Mexico we used a row of bottle caps screwed onto a
piece of wood. In the USA these days you may have buy imported beer
to get the bottle caps .

You can sandwich a 4" section of coarse handsaw used for wood, or
coarse hacksaw blade used for cutting thick metal - between two
pieces of inch and a half - by seven inch - by half inch thick wood
molding. Then glue and screw the two pieces together, clamping the
blade between them. This is your “handle.” Just leave about a
quarter inch of the teeth exposed to perform the raking action.

WARNING: If you have not used a rake before you will find that it
can easily be snatched and thrown back at you. You must have a firm
hold on it with both hands. Move it sideways across the wheel and
STAY DOWN BELOW THE CENTER OF THE BUFF. Of course you ARE wearing
protection while doing this! You can get seriously hurt if you lose
control!

You will learn to see and feel when the compounds that have built up
are sufficiently removed. Don’t overdo it either, you’ll find the
"happy medium" with practice.

Periodically cut a row of threads as the buff gets worn. This will
release and expose fresh material to hold you compounds.

Another thing you can try - is to reverse the direction of the buff.
Sometimes when a buff is subjected to too much pressure, all of the
fibers tend to “set.” Reversing the direction and then raking will
remedy this.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA 95209 USA
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio
instructor@jewelryartschool.com
jewelryartschool@aol.com

hi people - in a pinch i have grabbed an old steak knife, wrapped
masking tape 3 or 4 times around the pointy end. attached a pair of
vice grip pliers on the taped section perpendicular to the point
(the tape gives purchase for the pliers), held the knife handle in
one hand & vice grips in the other & brought the matted buff into
the clean life. it looked odd but made a passable buff rake.

ive
who has learned that not all wild things need to be controlled and
sometimes controlled things need to be a little wild.

use 16 grit and lower, old or new sanding discs, 3 grit works
well, or pieces of used or new sanding belts.

BTW, excellent place to get new clothback alum oxide is any place
that buys rolls of cloth, and makes them into discs, belts, etc., for
the industry (thomas’ register), these places throw out, dumpsters
full of new cloth - cutoffs, every garbage day(once a week), from 3
grit all the way through to 600 or so, you go, you ask, they
give, you can get a lifetime’s worth in a few trips, and you can
buy some while your there, also autobody shops mostly use only the
outer circumference of their 7in. discs(16,32grit), when grinding
metal, the amount of discard is overwhelming, again, ask, get, this
way we make art from refuse,

dp

Brian,

I also use a few handmade rakes that may be easier to make and use.

I use an old heavy dinner fork and I also have an old metal
electrical wall socket cover that I placed small notches along one
edge with a file.

Both work great and are easy to hold.

Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry

Hi Gang,

A ‘home brew’ buff rake isn’t hard to make. All you need is a piece
of wood & a few brads.

Using a piece of wood that’s comfortable to hold, drive some 3/4- 1"
long brads into the board. Leave about 3/8 - 1/2" of the brad
protrude from the wood. Place them in a row about 1/2" apart. Make 3
or 4 more rows, offsetting each row so that the nails in it fall in
the center of the gap of the preceding row.

Since this is a ‘home brew’ operation, the dimensions aren’t that
critical, modify them to suit what’s available. Remember to keep
safety in mind, you don’t want a bunch of brads flying around your
shop. Their bite is worse than a mosquito’s.

Dave

The best tool I have seen for cleaning a buff and restoration is one
sold by Rolex, through the Rolex tool department. I believe this
buff rake is likely available elsewhere and is not a proprietary
Rolex item. The tool is Swiss made, hardwood with two screw-in
hardwood handles. The rake is a replaceable array of multiple bent
steel tongs mounted onto a flexible base. The base is held in the
handle piece by slipping the ends into slots in the “t” of the tool
(relative to the handles) and tightening a set screw. The cost as I
recall from Rolex was about $70 us…but I might be way off on the
price.

To cut it short, this tool NEEDS two handles!! Applied to a
spinning buff, the buff is totally and completely cleaned, new
surface exposed in a very quick procedure. You need two hands to
hold the tool to the buff and lower power motors might well be
stalled by the aggressive action of the rake.

Does anyone know about this Rolex offered rake besides me? I would
pay the price to obtain one. The buff comes out clean and like new
with a superbly fluffed surface for both aggressive compounds and
final rouges.

Do have the dust collector working well when the Rolex offered rake
is used. The too is so effective that great quantities of buff
wheel are shed in a hurry. The result is a buff which really does
the job it is supposed to do.

I often suspect insufficient buff restoration is a leading cause of
less than perfect showcase finishes. The buffs are consumable items
and should be treated as such. Do not hesitate to comb and restore
that buffing wheel. A good combed surface is a dream to work with
and truly does produce a superior finish. We keep all platinum
buffs and felts in individual bags, gold buffs in a separate zone
and comb regularly. We also ultrasonic between abrasive and final
compound buffing to prevent contamination of the buffs. This
practice is worth it if you want to see a truly perfect finish.

Any word on the buffs like offered by Rolex would be appreciated. I
am no longer associated with a Rolex dealership and do not have
access to their tools department.

God Bless.
Prayer for all in the tsunami disaster.
Thomas.

Continue from:
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Dear Brian et al.

May I offer another solution which has worked very fine for me.

Every now and then when my wife Betty is not around i would sneak a
bunch of buffs into her washing machine and simply wash them at 95
degrees C with normal washing powder.

When washed I take them out of the machine, let them drip over the
sink for a quarter of an hour or so and then simply spin them on the
buffing machine, holding a plastic bucket around it.

It is not as messy as using a rake and it also helps you rescue
those polishing buffs that some student have contaminated with
coarser buffing media. It does not do any harm to the washing
machine, but I know Betty would hate to see it :->

Niels Lovschal

Niels,

I have never heard of this being done. This would be an expensive
washing if you use your buffs for gold. All of that precious metal
that could be recovered is being washed down the drain.

Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry

    I have never heard of this being done. This would be an
expensive washing if you use your buffs for gold. All of that
precious metal that could be recovered is being washed down the
drain. 

Niels,

I had a friend who was a “professional polisher” in the jewelry
industry, he would take his family on vacation every year after
cleaning his gold and platinum buffs and sending his sweeps to the
refiners. There was a lot of money in those buffs.

Eileen

Dear Eileen, dear Greg

    I have never heard of this being done. This would be an
expensive washing if you use your buffs for gold. All of that
precious metal that could be recovered is being washed down the
drain. 
   I had a friend who was a "professional polisher" in the jewelry
industry, he would take his family on vacation every year after
cleaning his gold and platinum buffs and sending his sweeps to the
refiners. There was a lot of money in those buffs. 

Reluctantly and before half of Orchidland warns me about washing my
whole fortune (be it ever so small) down the drain, here it goes:
No, I would never dream of washing a gold (or platinum) buff, but my
students mainly work in sterling, and I think I can afford to ‘wash
down the drain’ a few grams of silver, especially as the washing
process also ‘decontaminates’ buffs heavily contaminated with coarser
buffing compounds. At least it works very nicely for me and I intend
to continue, until my beloved wife finds out and forbids it .

Niels Lovschal
Bornholm, Denmark