I have enjoyed and grown from the fantastic exchanges since I have
joined thie Orchid community. I have a tip which has made my life
much more pleasant, and felt I should share it with everyone. In
school I was taught to wear gloves while using the polishing machine
to protect my hands and to help with the heat generated from the
friction on the metal. I always felt any gloves I used still
impeded my sense of feel and ability to hold onto small pieces.
Being an avid gardener, I was aware of Foxglove Garden Gloves.
These are very soft, stretchy, gloves that gardeners use to protact
their hands under more sturdy outer gloves. I now use these
Foxgloves to do all of my work on the polishing wheel. They protect
my hands from heat and wear yet are great to hold very small pieces
with accuracy. I wonder if anyone else is using these gems. They
can be ordered from Foxglovegardengloves.com or other garden supply
stores. Enjoy, Diana
I have enjoyed and grown from the fantastic exchanges since I have
I have a tip which has made my life much more pleasant, and felt I should share it with everyone. In school I was taught to wear gloves while using the polishing machine to protect my hands and to help with the heat generated from the friction on the metal.
Yikes Diana. Gloves and polishing machines can be dangerous. If your
gloves are the heavy, very strong leather type, and you’re working
with very large buffing wheels on large items, then perhaps it can
work, but in general, you increase by quite a margin, the risk of the
glove itself becoming snagged on the buff, or between the buff and
your object. When that happens, you can loose control of things in
an instant. And the trouble is, if the buff pulls the glove into
and around itself or the spindle, then it will pull your hand right
with it. The worst accidents I’ve seen in the jewelry business
generally involved buffing motors, and the worst of those was in a
company that was using soft cotton (photo type) gloves when polishing
silver, so dirty fingers wouldn’t scratch the silver. A new employee
caught a bangle bracelet and his glove on a rouge buff, which pulled
the glove off his hand while wrapping the glove and bracelet onto
the spindle. His entire middle finger remained inside the glove when
this happened, and it was too mangled in the process of being ripped
from his hand, for surgeons to reattach.
If you wish some protection from the heat in polishing, cut the
fingers off the glove about halfway up, so they cover just the first
knuckle and maybe halfway to the second. That will give you finger
cots that protect your hands from heat, but they’re short enought
that if anything catches, they’ll just come of your fingers rather
than taking your fingers with them. You can buy these things already
made up from a number of jewelry suppliers or make your own.
Personally, I still prefer to use just small strips of heavy leather
when needed to hold items, rather than the finger cots. They are
safer still. And most of the time, I don’t use anything at all. I
DO have a couple specialized pliers, with highly polished jaws,
intended for holding small things while polishing, and as well, an
interesting pair of wooden pliers that can hold things without
scratching. The first pair of those I found came from Germany, but
I’ve found subsequent pairs on ebay. A fellow somewhere in the
Southwest makes em…
Hope that helps.
The website is at http://www.foxglovesgardengloves.com (the original
post had it misspelled).
I’m surprised to hear that a school is teaching people to wear
gloves while buffing. I would consider it dangerous. If your metal
is getting that hot, don’t press it against the buffing wheel so
hard or have several things to buff at one time so that you can lay
down the hot one and pick up a cooler one. Some people like to have
a dish of water by their buffing wheel. I think that it makes a
I agree with your view completely. I know of a couple of people who
wore gloves and had some bad experiences with the wheel!
Furthermore, if you are buffing a piece with a stone set in it, it is
important to feel the heat so you do not overheat the stone and
possibly crack it. Opal and it’s aversion to heat is just one of
many that can be so affected. If you cannot hold the piece due to
heat…the stone would probably be grateful if you put it aside for a
tic to let it cool.
Cheerts from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance is fine jewelry! @coralnut2
You can protect your fingers from heat while buffing by using pieces
of leather to hold the pieces. Crafts people who work in leather are
a good source. In winter I often use disposabe medical gloves to
avoid washing my hands too often. I think they would break away
easily if caught in a wheel. Jeweler’s supply catalogues sell finger
covers made of very soft fine leather. There are lots of options out
there. Jan Original
I have used rubber finger cots and leather finger cots and even
rubber finger cots glued into leather finger cots for buffing heavy
bracelets. The rubber finger cots work well for small work. Otherwise
I use a container of water to dip the pieces in and put up with the
mess. Sure beats the mess I would have if my hand were wound around a
spindle. I would never use gloves around machinery like a buffing
Hi Guys! I’ve been following the “to glove or not to glove” thread
for quite a while always trying to resist butting it. But I have to.
Can’t hold back any longer. It is really important for all jewelers
no matter what level of competence to respect that buffing machine.
I’ve experienced its power and know that it can throw a mighty kick
as well as potentially separate parts from the whole. I also know
that it can generate a lot of heat in the piece being buffed. But
I’ve got to tell you I found a really neat, simple, safe way of
dealing with this issue: I use a simple roll of surgical tape: called
Hospital Adhesive Tape, it’s made out of a kind of fabric with a
light adhesive back. I tear off a 6 inch piece and wrap it snugly
but not too tightly around my index finger (or whatever fingers do
the majority of the holding), around until the last inch and a half
of the finger is enswathed by a single or double layer of the tape.
Maybe a small piece to cover the tip giving you a 4 sided little
adherent glove. It works. It works. It works. It is highly flexible.
Won’t come off. Won’t fall off if you wash your hands frequently.
Gives enough protection against the heat of the buffing process. It
is not meant as fool-proof protection but if you are prone to
embedding gravers in your hand, sawing through tender fingertips and
other mishaps of the novice jeweler, it is truly a godsend for me.
Gloves and rotating machinery do not mix. Wearing gloves can lead
to loss of fingers and broken hands if the buff ever grabs the piece
and hooks the glove. Finger cots and leather finger guards are even
risky but still safer than gloves. If it gets to hot to hold stop
and let it cool or dip it in water and then dry it off.
James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160
Member of the Better Business Bureau
I have to agree about the medical tape. This is a technique that I
have been using for many years now. However I prefer to use
Guard-Tex from Frei and Borel. It adheres to itself, and confroms
perfectly to your fingers. I feel that this material far surpasses
any leather fingers that you can purchase. Even the guaze that you
can purchase for vertrinary type bandages is useful Every person on
my staff uses this product and all find it very useful, especially
when buffing large quanities of rings, etc.
I am going to add a couple more options to the mix of ideas. I have
used a finger tape that works wonders. I had a big lot of silver
pieces to finish and polish(about 1600 pieces). I could not have
done it without this tape! I know a lot of jewelry tool supply
houses sell it. Here is one that I have the info for in case anyone
is interested. www.sefindings.com in their tools section. It is
called Finger Pro Tape. I am telling you it is the best for polishing
I have found. I was also going to mention I have friends who wear
batting gloves. Yes, for baseball & softball, they fit really tight
on your hands almost like a second skin. You can also feel what you
are doing with these. These seem more for keeping your hands clean
than heat prevention though. Lou ASA Settings
Won’t come off.
If it won’t come off, you still have the same potential problem as a
whole glove. It could get caught, and take your "tender fingertip"
with it. Skin seems to be the only material that will rip instead of
taking body parts with it. Not pleasant, but easier to fix…
Seems to me that the bottom line is, dip it in water or set it aside
when it gets too hot to hold. For dirt concerns, there are lotions
(can’t think of names just now… second skin?) that will protect
your skin, even through a few washings. Gloves, even surgical,
finger cots, tape, all carry the same risk, and, however small, it’s
just too big a risk compared to the benefit, IMO.
I thought about it after and thought somebody would get it wrong.
The tape (as described by another post-er, there is actually a
product out there for jewelers, I’ve never seen it or heard of it
but that doesn’t mean much) is so adherent as to be as flexible as a
second skin. But very protective. However if someone wants to abuse
this and really overuse it to the extent that the tape becomes
tattered so that pieces get pulled into the polishing
machine…well…what can I say. I guess I could add the proviso:
please replace tape regularly with the first sign of tearing. For me
it works great but I don’t do nearly as much work as any of you do.
And I’ve seen the working hands and benches of some of you so I know
that things get really used. So for these buffing maniacs I say be
careful when anything is applied to the hands when using such