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Buying a polishing machine


I’m new to Orchid and have been enjoying all the recent posts - what
a nice group and what a wealth of I’m a beginning
silversmith and am enjoying it immensely. I have been making beaded
jewelry for several years and turned to silversmithing because I
wanted to make my own findings - and I’m hooked with a passion.

I’ve been assembling a studio, a few tools at a time and am now in
need of a polishing motor. I haven’t a clue about what to buy - and
as I haven’t won the lottery price is a factor. I have catalogs
from Rio Grande, Otto Frei and Gesswein and the more I read them the
more questions I have. I hope some of you will indulge me with your

I like the 1/6 horsepower Foredom Bench Motor - the price is right
-and the variable speed and double spindles are appealing - because
I wouldn’t have to change wheels as often as with a single spindle.
But I wonder if the Compact Bench top dust collector models (Both
Rio and Otto Frei offer a similar model) would be a better choice as
it has a 1/2 hp and is about the same price. It’s a single spindle

  • but has replaceable filters which aren’t free! Although the
    Foredom doesn’t seem to have any dust collection at all - just

So what do you all advise in this price range? I make small pieces,
mostly pendants and earrings , rings - although I might be tempted
to try cuff bracelets at some point. I’m not a full-time jewelry
maker (yet) still keeping my day job for the present! Also I
noticed that there are differences in spindles - some are tapered
and some are straight. What’s the difference,
advantage/disadvantage? What kind should I get and why - or is it
that they are for different applications and the straight spindle
doesn’t apply for a polisher - I did warn you that I don’t have a

Advance thanks for any and all advice.


Louisa Jones
Summer Kitchen Studio


Whatever you do, get a dust collector. The single, tapered mandrel
is fine.(you get very fast at changing wheels) I would even
reccomend hooking a shop-vac to the back of the dust collector and
sucking the air and dust away in a stronger manner. Do not breathe
rouge. I have had the single one for 30 years. I now have it in my
home workshop and a baldor lathe plus a one horsepower dust
collector in my workshop at store.


Hi Michael,

Thanks very much for the advise. It’s welcome and I think it makes
sense - both for me and because my studio is in our house - and I’d
rather make jewelry than clean! And a shop vac sounds good too.
Thanks for writing

in New Hampshire where it’s snowing - again!


I do not recommend the Foredom Bench Motor. That little 1/6th hp
motor has no torque power at all. It runs fast but if you are
buffing any piece of any size at all, the motor just bogs down.

I definately recommend a 1/3 to 1/2 hp motor, preferably with
slow/high and off speeds. It should have a dust collector though you
should not depend on it completely. It will trap the larger particles
but the fine stuff will just be blown around. Therefore, a dust mask
is a good idea no matter what you buy. There is nothing wrong with
the single spindle machines…just a little bothersome thats all.
But you learn to live with it.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!

Hi Don,

Thanks very much for the recommendation not to buy the Foredom -
it’s helpful to know the downside of things, and it’s now been
crossed off my list of potentials and dust collection has definitely
been added as a result of the responses I’ve had from folks on
Orchid - which may be named for a flower, but is in fact a gold
mine! Thanks again.

in New Hampshire where we have sun!