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.