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Holding onto small pieces during buffing

I’m wondering what is the best thing to use to hang onto small items
such as silver charms while I’m doing post-casting cleanup and
polishing with the Foredom? I’ve tried fingers (they tend to dislike
being polished along with the charms, and fingers also don’t take
heat buildup too well), flat-nosed pliers (scratched the charms and
slipped around too much), and pliers covered with ‘alligator skin
tape’ (the tape slips off the plier jaws too easily). Suggestions
would be appreciated. Thanks!

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

    I'm wondering what is the best thing to use to hang onto small
items such as silver charms while I'm doing post-casting cleanup
and polishing with the Foredom? 

Hi Kathy, for charms or small pieces that are hard to hold onto
while polishing, you can get a spool of plastic coated binding wire
and cut lengths, and run it thru your jump rings and bend it back
like a paperclip. Then use a piece of strong leather (from an old
belt) maybe one and a half inches long to support the piece from the
bottom. You can hold both the binding wire and the leather together
in one hand and your foredom in the other. (You can get spools of
plastic coated binding wire from Home Depot or Garden Supply Shops)

Happy Metal Working, Tara from British Columbia, Canada

Kathy, I have sometimes used hemostats with the jaws covered with
shrink tubing. The grip tightness is adjustable and if you dont
really heat the piece up the tubing doesn’t melt. Many
fishing/sporting goods shops carry the hemostats and the shrink tube
is in most aotu supply or hardware stores. (Both are cheap)
Hank Paynter

Greetings: One of the best tools is the “French” hand-held vice. Rio
has them in their catalog. It’s like a little guillitine and has a
90 degree and a 45 degree “lid” and also round and v-channels for
holding wires and pins. Alan Revere turned me in to it. I use mine


kathy - since you say the items are charms may i assume they have
rings, or at least holes, somewhere? if so, string them onto a
length of wire slightly smaller than the holes, crimp the wire ends
& pull up each charm to polish one at a time; having several on the
same wire cuts time & facilitates polishing the backs. when the
charms are polished on both sides, unstring, & wearing a cotton
glove or using a piece of fabric to hold each charm, polish the
holes with a q-tip/whatever.

good luck -

Kathy, Wooden ring clamp works great for this. The leather will wear
from the heat produced by the charm, creating an indent in the
leather and can create slippage. Either replace the leather or get
another clamp. I have found this to be the best tool for holding
awkward pieces. I also use the rubber fingertips for holding small
items and protecting me from heat.


If an object has a hole in it paperclips prove admirable as
attachable handles. Charles

Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

I’m not recommending using pliers to hold onto small
pieces when buffing because I don’t know how small the pieces are
that you are talking about;howver, in regard to the alligator skin,
instead I use “mole skin” like what is used to cut and put on corns.
I buy small sheets (about 3x3 or 4x4 inches square). I cut a couple
of small pieces and place on the jaws of my small flat, blunt nose
pliers, then use a razor blade and trim. This works great for
holding silver pieces for various things without marring the silver.
Hope this helps. While on the subject of bench tips, have you ever
put a cab into a bezel cup to check the depth of it’s setting, only
to have difficulty getting it out? I use a strip of dental floss,
laid across the bezel cup, place the cab down into the bezel cup
across the floss, then use the floss to pull the cab back out. Best
wishes to all, John Barton,Images By JJ

Hello Kathy! When you polish jewelry, you should always hold it with
a piece of leather. It has a very good grip and it keeps your
fingers safe from burning… For silver charms, when leather straps
are too big, you can use leather fingers that you can buy at any
jewelry supplier.

Little advise: when heat builds up on your jewelry when polishing,
it’s because you press too hard on the buffing wheel. It can result
in polishing off some details. Sure, it goes a lot faster,
especially for removing fire skin, but try putting a little bit more
compound on the buffing wheel and, with your leather fingers, move
on the buff in different angles without pressing on it. Hope that

Benoit Hamel

We usually loop a bent paperclip through the ring on the charm , the
jump ring or other hole in the charm. Rick Hamilton

Rick Hamilton
Custom gold and platinum jewelry
CAD/CAM and conventional modelmaking

When I polish small charms I link them together in pairs with short
lengths of copper wire so I can hold it by one ned while I’m
polishing the other.

Janet Kofoed

Kathy, I’ve had good results with the wooden ring clamps (with
leather pads). The metal one (that I have) has rubber pads and it
doesn’t do well with the heat. Good luck, Regis

I'm wondering what is the best thing to use to hang onto small items

while I’m doing post-casting cleanup and polishing ?

G’day; try using a good rubber cement to glue tiny bits of chamois
leather to pliers or locking artery clamps. Rubber cement because
it is flexible, chamois because it is thin, very flexible and tough.
I have even used chamois on Vice-Grip jaws.

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

When I need to hold on to charms for polishing I use a nylon
tie-wrap (cable tie), just place through the jump ring and polish, I
find it easier to grip compared to wire or string.

Neil KilBane

All this talk about using a wire to hold you pieces while polishing
reminds me of a jeweler who came into my store for supplies. He was
missing most of one finger and had a badly deformed finger next to
it. After I came to know him better, I asked him about his fingers.
Turns out he was polishing a wire necklace and it snagged in the
wheel. It yanked the wire and pulled it around the two finger
pulling parts of them off. Not a very nice thought. You might want
to reconsider the use of wire around your buffers.


    I'm wondering what is the best thing to use to hang onto small
items such as silver charms while I'm doing post-casting cleanup
and polishing with the Foredom? 

I really like using one of those inexpensive wooden ring clamps that
tightens by driving a wedge into the opposite end. You could also
line the clamp with leather to ensure no marring of your piece.


I'm wondering what is the best thing to use to hang onto small items
such as silver charms while I'm doing post-casting cleanup and
polishing with the Foredom?

Another useful tip for clean up you could use (never used it for
polishing) is to heat the charm up and press it into the end of a
small wooden dowel to make an impression. You may have to do this a
couple of times even using a bur to help if it is a deep impression.


for holding onto pendants or charms while buffing try a large paper
clip through a loop hole. cheap and effective.

If the charm has a jump ring, open up a paper clip into an ‘s’ shape
and run one side of the paper clip thru the jump ring. Next, you
will need a piece of leather ( a piece of an old belt works the
best) Hold the charm against the leather while polishing. This works
especially well for lapping a flat surface. Happy polishing, Rob

people, recent orchid post:

        You might want to reconsider the use of wire around your

okay people, just staple the charms to your index
finger & your thumb. let’s get onto the next crucial question: have
you weighed the dust produced by your grinding & polishing against
the material removed from your stones, etc. & your buffs to
ascertain that you are indeed maintaining a balance? OR - is you
unaccounted for dust somewhere out there cavorting with your missing
stones, findings, & odd socks?

people - think.