Files, sandpaper, and ladies fingernail sanders

There was a recent discussion about files becoming clogged with gold
or silver and someone suggested using sand paper on different shaped
sticks. These work nicely and I use mine but I would also like to
throw out another idea that may be new to some. There are sanding
blocks that are used for sanding down the fingernails before the
polish is applied. (I have a daughter who does nails.) There are
three grits that I am aware of. The coarse grit seems too coarse so
I don’t use it. It leaves too many scratches which then have to be
worked out. These finer one are soft and will fit the curve or
contour of the area being sanded. They work great for ring shanks.
When it is worn out, send it in to reclaim the gold or silver.


Larry -

It is too funny that you mention the fingernail sanders in this
context. I have for a long time used a ‘buffing block’ - a
fingernail finishing foam block with an extremely fine surface -
almost a polyester fabric - to shine up my platinum wedding band when
I’m in a hurry. Put that together with your nail sanders and we have
full pre-polish going on.


I have had good service by making sanding sticks from old hack saw
blades. The blade is ground in to a tapered profile, smoothed and
with a 3M plastic backed abrasive adhered with contact adhesive. When
the adhesive is worn out, just replace it. This works well in very
small places, like galleries and prongs. One hack saw blade makes 2
sanding backs.

I’ve been using emery boards and foam blocks from the beauty supply
store for years. Inexpensive enough that they can be cut to shape
for hard to get pieces and a wide variety of grits available.
Although if you get the real cheap ones they don’t last and makes it
not worth bothering with.


A while back I got a set of Santaper sticks… It’s a plastic file
shaped holder, that takes a small belt… 120 grit through 600…

I think Rio has a similar product, but maybe under another name…
When the abrasive gunks up, you rotate the belt to get to a fresh
section… no need to use adhesive or anything…

The good thing is…if you’re one of those folks that keeps "pet"
pieces of sandpaper around, one that’s been worn in and cleaned a bit
for certain projects, you can do this with the belts…

I think Rio even has the belts to 1200, too… Tripp’s has them to
600… and the holders themselves are $2 something ea. from

So one of these days I have to put an order together and get back on
Rio’s mailing list ('I’ve been co-oping with a friend, and she got
the new book…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)