Thought I’d pass on some fabulous new
It was my pleasure to attend Rio’s Catalog in Motion in Tucson - what
a great event, put on by a company that has a clear understanding of
where the industry is going. It was nice to see all of the happy
faces trying out some wonderful tools prior to purchasing. I believe
the industry truly needs more events like this, geared towards the
producers of “art jewelry”, or whatever you’d like to call it.jewelry
that will continue to be made in this country dispute the flood of
offshore low cost jewelry.
But by far, I was most impressed with a new abrasive product, the MX
For those that may or may not know him (and if you don’t, you
should), Rich Bohr is and has been the driving force behind getting
3M’s fabulous products introduced and scaled to the metalsmithing
market. If you use a 3M abrasive, it is because Rich cares deeply
about the “Art Market”, and has helped condense the larger format of
these abrasives into a useful shape and size.
Sadly, not all technology that works well for artists works well for
3M. Such is the case with the FX wheels, which, as was written about
recently, have been discontinued.
Well, at CIM, Rich had a super new product that he helped personally
develop called the MX wheels (not by 3M). These wheels were fabulous,
and here’s why:
Much less water is needed to keep them running well and the piece
you are working on cool - very little heat build-up was evident.
They are not quite as soft, but are much longer lasting.
Work well over a larger range of speeds.
Effective on everything - after some local testing (materials to
polish at CIM were limited), we have achieved super results on
everything from silver to gold to steel.
Same price as FX wheels.
And the biggie - 3 grades.yup, I said three - 240, 1500, 3000 -
just these three steps produced super results, but personally I have
been using a fourth, quick, blue rouge step. Do note, these grades
are not equal to silicon carbide, for example - I finished at the
bench to 400 prior to going the 240 wheel, but also tested "as cast"
shapes and achieved good results going right to the MX 240 wheel
Obvious added benefits of less harmful polishing dust in the air,
and - THEY WILL be available in shapes on mandrels for use with the
flex-shaft, something never pulled off with the FX products (beyond
Sadly (for artists everywhere), Rich plans to retire this year (but
congratulations to Rich!!), and it seems as if his position will not
be filled. This is a big loss, whether realized or not. Thanks,
Rich, for all the great product introductions to the art market, and
thanks for the new MX wheels. I hope 3M does come to their senses and
continue to release products in shapes usable for artists, but
without Rich’s advocacy. But, if you are at a show, take a minute to
say hi to Rich, and thank him!
For those that ask - I think they will be available in March as
wheels, with mandrel mounted abrasives to follow a month or two
Chris Ploof Studio