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Flex shaft uses?


I never got any instruction for and about my flex shaft. I used
it all the time, but sometimes I think I’m reinventing the
wheel. I’d sure appreciate some pointers about what little
thingummies can be used for what. Also I bought a selection
that had rouge, tripoli, green rouge, white rouge and I think
yellow rouge. I use the red and the tripoli all the time, but
what the heck are the others good for?

My jewelry is mostly silver with some gold, and I do small work
with copper and brass as well.

I’m so glad to have found this forum, and I appreciate any info
from anyone!

Susan Embler
Dallas, Texas

   ...Also I bought a selection that had rouge, tripoli, green
rouge, white rouge and I think yellow rouge.  I use the red and
the tripoli all the time, but what the heck are the others good

Red rouge, as you’ve by now found, brings a wonderful, very high
shine to silver and yellow golds. But it has very very little
"cutting" action, so on harder materials, it will have hard time
bringing up that shine without a lot of tedius buffing.

The green and white rouges are for harder metals, like steels,
titanium, white golds, platinum etc. yellow rouge is somewhere
in the middle.

There are other distinctions too. All rouges tend to imbed a
little bit of themselves INTO the surface of the metal, with not
quite all of it cleaning back out, even in an ultrasonic. This
give rise to part of what is called “coloring” the metal. Most
of it is simply the depth of polish being enough that all you see
is sharply reflected light, without sense of the surface itself.
That’s called a “black” or “hard” or polish, sometimes. Red
rouge enhances that because of it’s dark red color. Many shops
use the yellow rouge as an all around polish for most of their
work. Especially with silversmiths, it’s popular.

But sometimes, especially with castings, the result is that the
metal can cause a little staining of clothes for a while, or
perhaps on some metal, that “color” just isn’t quite what’s
desired. Yellow rouge is also often used on silver and gold, and
it’s light color means that traces left on the metal won’t be
apparent or cause stains so much. Plus, it has a little more cut
to it, so any remaining fine scratches can be worked out without
having to go back to tripoli. And, it leaves a slightly softer
polish, without quite that “black” hard refelctivity. The result
is sometimes a better effect for some work, and it won’t show
quite the damage from even slight handling that a red rouge
finish will.

Green rouge has the disadvantage of beeing green… That means
any residues are a mess. But it is a hard compound, and will
bring hard metals to a very high polish. Good on platinum
(though not quite as good as some of the polishes made especially
for platinum) or steel or white gold, especially.

White rouge is also a hard metals compound, but like yellow
rouge, it doesn’t bring up quite the same depth of polish. Has a
bit more cuttin action. Great for steels, not bad for white gold
or platinum. On softer metals, like silver of yellow golds, it
can be a bit scratchy.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe


Hi, Susan. There is a small paperback book by Harold O’Connor
called “The Flexible Shaft Machine: Jewelry Techniques” that has
helped me a lot. It contains good info on various type burrs and
how to use them and lots more. Runs about $12.95, I think. Good
luck! Gini in Fl. (where the temp has finally fallen into the
low 80’s)


Susan, You need a book called “The Flexible Shaft Machine Jewelry
Techniques” by Harold O’Connor. Copyright 1983. Sorry I don’t
have a source. You might want to try Lapidary Journal. The book
contains everything you might want to know about using a
flexicble shaft and all its accessories. Hope this helps.



When I got my flexshaft I was ONE happy camper! I’d been using a
Dremel before and I hate to say it but they are really poorly
made, I went through 3 of them in less than a year. I got my
flexshaft through Rio Grande and at the time sold one called the
Riomaster or something like that, a 1/4 horsepower motor made by
Mastercarver I think it is; it was made for wood carvers. The
cool thing about that motor is that its reversible, I haven’t
seen this in other motors. I got the #30 handpiece which I would
recommend to start with as it will hold alot of different size
burs and isn’t expensive. Flexshaft uses are almost unlimited ,
I’m always figuring out something new. I’m making a Robot pendant
as a prize for an online competition open to the public and
coouldn’t figure outhow to construct a 3 sectioned body with
curved transitions.So I decided to cast it and took an old bur
and embedded it in a block of wax after heating the bur. Clamped
the handpiece in a vise and and turned the thing into a wax
lathe. Used a chisel sharpened as the cutter and got exactly what
I was looking for. Had to make the wheels for it last nite and
again used the flexshaft as a lathe. I cut the wheels out of
silver, drilled a hole in the center of the disks and soldered
another layer ontop of that. During the process put the wheels
onto a screw tipped burr and then rounded the wheels against a
sharpening stone and then various sandpapers and a cloth embedded
with tripoli. got perfectly round disks all polished and perfect.
During this the motor came unplugged and I had a moment of panic
of wondering what the heck I’m gonna do without my flexshaft,
yikes!!! DAve

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