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Buffing Strategy


#1

Shortly after starting in this industry, I was mentored by an
established Russian jeweler. One of the tricks he showed me was to
use a couple of drops of Real or synthetic Wintergreen oil
occasionally on my buffing wheels to make the compound stick longer.
Well, these days it is getting harder to find bottles of wintergreen
oil in the drug stores, and when I do it is getting quite expensive.
Do any of you use a similar technique with a different substance? If
so, what?

Silverfoot-
Jewelry Designer and Craftsman
Main Site = www.firescale.com


#2
      Do any of you use a similar technique with a different
substance?  If so, what? 

Doesn’t have to be wintergreen. A little 3-in-one light machine oil
does the same thing. What it does, mostly, is to soften the
wax/grease binders in the polish compound, so it is stickier, and
softer. It can help if you find your rouge compound too harsh.
Sometimes red rouge, if it’s old, gets harder, and leaves fine
scratches on soft metals like silver, perhaps due to not breaking
down to it’s individual particles but staying as little clumps? I
don’t know. but a little oil on the buff (very little) helps that a
lot.

The downside is that now your buff is a bit oily, and leaves a
slightly oily residue on the work, even with the better polish, so
then you’ve got to clean that off. And, if your polishing shop
environment is really dusty (hey, we’ve never seen a dusty polishing
shop, have we?), then the oil will tend to attract the other grit and
dirt in the vicinity, so it becomes easier to contaminate a rouge
buff with other abrasive particles that then cause even more serious
scratches, partly since the oil just lets those particles stick to
the buff, but also because then those foreign particles, or other
excess compound, doesn’t just spin off the buff as easily when you
use it. So if you use oil on rouge buffs, you have to be more
careful about storing them cleanly, like hanging them on a peg or
something, instead of just setting them down.

Peter


#3

Hello Silverfoot: Ten years ago a master goldsmith named Phillip
Randolph showed me the benefits of this oil. Since then, I have been
using oil of wintergreen on my flexshaft bristle brush wheels. It
helps the compound hold to the brush and actually makes the brushes
last longer. I use a small watch part tin with 3 pieces of denim cut
to fit and secured inside and then I soak the denim with the oil. As
I am polishing I dab the spinning brush in the tin and then to the
compound and then the item. An added plus is that it smells nice and
clears my sinuses.

It has been my experience that cloth buffs usually don’t have much
trouble holding the compound so I don’t think I would waste it on
them. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA I just updated my
web page with 5 more pages of my custom work. Take a look
at www.geocities.com/waxcarver


#4
Well, these days it is getting harder to find bottles of
wintergreen oil in the drug stores, and when I do it is getting
quite expensive. 

I recently ordered synthetic oil of wintergreen at my (small) local
pharmacy. It wasn’t available on the shelves, but the warehouse had
it in stock, and I got a 2oz. bottle for about $4.25. The synthetic
name is methyl salicylate, and it’s sold as an external analgesic.
Ask the pharmacist if he can get it for you. (I believe there was
also a wintergreen oil sold as a flavoring ingredient , so be sure
to ask for methyl salicylate.) I have heard there may be some
health issues with using it directly, particularly when the fumes
are inhaled. I use it as a graver lubricant, and the tiny cap with
saturated cotton sits on my bench all of the time, so perhaps the
"fumes" are dissipated. You may wish to use more precautions when
adding it to your buffs.

Melissa Veres, Engraver
@M_Veres


#5

Silverfoot, I have bought oil of wintergreen at Save-On drugs. I use
it to lube chasing and cutting tools.

You can use odorless kerosine on your polishing wheel. It is messy, I
stand aside if I load a wheel and put a piece of cardboard in front
of the wheel as it throws a big mess before I use it. Cuts real
fast.

Bill in Vista


#6

Hello Michael and others: I’ve been following the thread on the use
of Oil of Wintergreen on buffing wheels. I don’t do this, but I have
an opinion on it, and I think Gerry (the cyrbersetter) would possibly
agree with me. Oil of Wintergreen, in it’s concentrated form as you
get it from the drugstore, is a pretty powerfull irritant. It’s the
basic component in linamint and in fact, you can make your own
linament with it. In it’s concentrated form, it can burn the skin,
so I don’t know if it’s something you want to breath or get thrown
onto your face even in the minute amounts that would come off a
whirling buff. I think you’d be better off with some other fine oil,
preferably organic. Just my opinion. Gerry said he doesn’t use it
for bright cutting, although I still do, but I’m pretty careful not
to get it directly on my skin, and boy, you get the tiniest bit of
that in your eyes and you’ll regret it as I have.

David L. Huffman


#7

Buffing Strategy Shortly after starting in this industry, I was
mentored by an established Russian jeweler. One of the tricks he
showed me was to use a couple of drops of Real or synthetic
Wintergreen oil occasionally on my buffing wheels to make the
compound stick longer. Well, these days it is getting harder to find
bottles of wintergreen oil in the drug stores, and when I do it is
getting quite expensive. Do any of you use a similar technique with
a different substance? If so, what?


#8

“Buffing Strategy” One of the things I like to use to "really cut"
silver is to use an end brush or a small brush wheel and add a
mixture of tripoly and valve grinding compound. (used in machine
shops to grind automobile valves.) It is available in oil based and
water based. Give it a try Doug Napier www.alpinecustomjewelry.com


#9

Odorless kerosine eh? Best be wearing eye protection for that one;
not to mention a respirator. I can’t imagine that breathing in
atomized kerosine can be good for you; but heck, half the chemicals
we use aren’t exactly safe.

To cut down on the mess, don’t load your wheel with the liquid,
instead, put a few drops of the liquid on the compound bar and rub
it around. Then use the bar against the wheel.


#10

I have heard that about valve grinding compound. But mostly I like
to use the wintergreen oil with Tripoli, then Zam for a nice
lustrous finish. Seems to work well with rouge too.

Since I ran out, I have been using my wheels with just the buffing
compound. What I noticed is that a lot more residue is left on the
metal during buffing. And harder buffing just moves it to a new spot. Annoying.


#11

Hello David and others: Although oil of wintergreen is marked "Toxic"
and should not be ingested or put on a wound or in your eyes it is
made to be used as a “External Analgesic” for the relief of minor
aches and pains of muscles and joints. Therefore, unless you have a
reaction to it, as some probably may, it is safe to apply directly to
the skin. I do not know if it comes in different strengths but the
stuff I buy at the pharmacy is safe and says so on the label.

I might also add that another source to get oil of wintergreen other
than a pharmacy is an aroma therapy store, so I’m thinking it’s safe
to breath to.

I would just say as my opinion that I believe it is safe to use as I
stated on bristle brushes and is a handy tool that should not be
feared. I will also re-mention that I don’t think it necessary to use
on a cloth buff wheel. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA


#12

Well, actually I just contacted a chemical supply company today and
bought a 500ml bottle of synthetic oil of wintergreen for about $30
with shipping. This should last me another 20 years.

From what I have been able to glean, though it is an irritant, it is
not as dangerous as using breathing kerosene. In fact, there are
some instances where oil of wintergreen has been taken internally
for medicinal purposes (if I remember right). But dang, not only
does it work, but it makes the shop smell real perty. But a "manly"
perty. (IMO)


#13
    Although oil of wintergreen is marked "Toxic" and should not be
ingested or put on a wound or in your eyes it is made  to be used
as a "External Analgesic" for the relief of minor aches and pains
of muscles and joints. 

Hi Michael;

Yes, it’s safe to use it externally, it makes a great liniment, but
it has to be diluted considerably in a lotion. In it’s concentrated
form it’s too strong to use directly on skin (and it’s miserable to
get even a tiny bit in your eyes). Most of the drugstore stuff has
instructions for making liniment, and if you read the dilution ratio,
you’ll get an idea of how powerful the stuff is.

David L. Huffman


#14

Hi, When I was a kid about 40 years ago in Britain, there were Old
English Spangles, hard candy assortment which included a delicious
green coloured one that contained oil of wintergreen…so it can be
used internally,and the only side effect appears to be that one
begins to lose ones hair about 20 years later…there was a nice
red one in there too…they stopped being made in the 70’s though,a
great loss to mankind… Steve Holden website www.platayflores.com


#15

Silverfoot, Most herbalists carry Wintergreen oil, it is a natural
source of salicylate, the foundation of aspirin. Adios & g’day Rick
Carew


#16

Alittle slow in picking up this thread…You can buy oil of
wintergrreen from the following:

http://www.buyaromatherapy.com/store/oilindex.html?google-latinnames

http://www.buyaromatherapy.com/store/oilindex.html?google-latinnames

Or…here’s a page with a lot of sites…

http://web.ask.com/web?q=oil%20of%20wintergreen&o=8002

All info says that it is toxic, even if it does smell great…and
manly

Lisa, Topanga, CA, (no Arnold jokes please…we get enough of that
around here…sigh) USA


#17

I think the main concern here is the lungs folks, so the #1 priority
is that your polishing station is dust collected and/or that you’re
wearing a decent mask and glasses/goggles. buff, compound, fume can
never be ok


#18

The real stuff may indeed be getting scarce, as it is made from the
oil in the Sweet, or Red Birch tree. They are getting scarce because
of Birch Borers. I grow them on my property in No. Virginia and
they’re lovely delicate trees, never massive. It was once known as
Indian Toothbrush tree, and I often snap a small twig to chew on as I
work in the garden. It tastes of wintergreen and is completely
non-toxic! Use and enjoy in good health, but for the sake of the
trees, go synthetic please.

Pat


#19

Hi Folks…

As a member of what is loosely known as the Aromatherapy crowd…

Most of the wintergreen essential oil on the market (Gautheria
procumbens) is suspected as being synthetic…(methyl
salicylate)… And even if you can find certified "true"
wintergreen…it’s up to 99% methyl sal anyway…it’s a byproduct
of decomposition of the botanical in warm water before
distillation…not part of the living plant… No reason to go to
your local health place for an “organic” or “natural” one if you can
find the synthetic for this (buffing) use…

And David is correct…responsible folks dealing with essential
oils always dilute them according to instructions when putting them
on their bodies… Too many chances for irritation or sensitization
reaction otherwise…Irritation goes away most times (experience
speaking here)…sensitization sets up in the system and stays with
ya for life…(and I know folks that have cursed themselves that way,
too)…

Quantities used in the buffing application s/b low enough not to
present a problem…

Gary W. Bourbonais


#20
        When I was a kid about 40 years ago in Britain, there were
Old English Spangles, hard candy assortment which included a
delicious green coloured one that contained oil of
wintergreen...so it can be used internally, 

Yes and what about all the wintergreen lifesavers and gum and such
we have now. Which brings up the question, Is Wintergreen a plant?
Do all of you know what happens when you chew a wintergreen
lifesaver in the dark? Sparks fly. Yes, it works. Go into a dark
closet with a mirror and chew a wintergreen lifesaver with your
mouth open and you will see sparks. I don’t know why but there is
probably a scientific explanation. Now I suppose this will go in
the “get a life” posts. Annette