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Hand sanding vs flexshaft

Bottom line is get a flex shaft if you can. It is not indespensible
until you get one. It will speed up the sanding in many instances and
it will compliment your graver, bow drill, and polishing machine.

The flex needs learning same as any other tool. It’s not always
better than hand methods but with practise it is faster, requires
carefull control, and mistakes can be more drastic!

A micro-motor is happier at high speed and lacks torque at low speed,
enough difference from a flex shaft to need it’s own learning.

I use all three. Flex shaft for heavy cutting, micro motor for high
speed finess, and hand power for ultimate control. Sanding sticks are
best for flat planes or surfaces.

Alastair

Sanding sticks are best for flat planes or surfaces. 

I guess I do not like the term “sanding sticks” It reminds me of
cheap sticks with sand paper glued on top, carried by most suppliers.
These are absolutely useless. I like to use term “emery buff”.

As far as flat surfaces, there are not many in jewellery, so emery
buffs would not be very useful if that is the case. The primary value
of emery buffs is to be able to finish transition areas and convex
surface with high degree of accuracy.

if we working on a sphere, we want it to look like a sphere, when we
done. We perceive a shape by the type of reflection and each
reflected ray from a sphere must originate from a point lying on a
line tangent to the sphere. Person might not know anything about
geometry of a sphere, but even if sphere has perfect shape, but
reflection is mangled by improper finish, it will never be perceived
like a sphere. We all have seen jewellery which look fine close up,
but looks unnatural at distance. That is the result of incorrect
finishing technique.

Sanding is not just the process of removing scratches and should not
be taken lightly.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

Sanding is not just the process of removing scratches and should
not be taken lightly. 

Well said, Leonid.

Peter

I guess I do not like the term "sanding sticks"... 

Important point Leonid, I’m sure it was you who derscribed a method
for wrapping emery paper around a triangular stick in an earlier
reply. A triangular stick appears to be far more versatile than the
rectangle stick I have used for so long, but I apply the same
careful method of wrapping. Now if a manufacturer produced
pre-wrapped sticks of well shaped wood, wrapped in a variety of
grades of the best quality emery or silicon carbide paper, scored on
the folds to make the paper lie flat and to tear off cleanly, at a
good price…I’m not waiting!

Sanding is not just the process of removing scratches and should
not be taken lightly. 

Indeed, sanding is a continuation of the shaping process until the
form and the finish are both completed together, not one before the
other.

Flat surfaces occur more frequently in jewelery as edges on a common
plane, eg the side edges of a ring and the top edge of a bezel.
Large flat sufaces need lapping to be really flat; depends on how
flat you want the final surface when it reaches the final polish.
Jewelery metals are not the best medium for large flat surfaces
bacause, unlike stone, the finish cannot be preserved for long in
everyday use.

Alastair