New polishing machine safety question

Hi Guys,
I just got a new polishing machine but im questioning its safety.
Every other machine i have owned has had a feature where the spindle would be slowed down when too much pressure is applied to the mop. This one keeps going no matter what.
Yes, it has a big red shiny stop button but its a bit late once your finger is missing!
This machine was a lot more expensive and more powerful than my previous ones so maybe im just a little intimidated by it but one slight mistake and its over.
Do your machines stop or keep going?
Is this a fault or design flaw or is that what they are like high end?

I have always had Baldor motors, love them. I like the two speed units, slow and fast. I’d have to apply a lot of pressure to slow it down. I don’t ever push that hard. In and emergency I could probably grab the spindle and stop it at high speed but I imagine it would burn my skin a bit.

What kind is it?
Post a photo?

Its aDurston Double Motor Polishing Machine 230v with extraction unit.
It cost a pretty penny but not overly happy with it. The access to the mops is limited by the big black box the stop start are attached to and there is no way to screw it to a bench (and no rubber pads to stop it moving around) but my main concern is the motor not stopping.
In the reviews it sounded good, options for motors with extraction units seem fairly limited here in the U.K.

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Hi Jon,
We now supply these with extended spindles so that there is plenty of room for your hands. Please email me your address and I will send you new spindles.
Good point about feet or a need for finding a way to screw it to bench. I will speak to design team tomorrow. I will let you know what happens and see if we can modify your machine.


Thanks for your reply, Mathew.
Very kind offer.
I will message you now.

Sounds like your old machines were just slowed down by the pressure that you applied while polishing. This is because they didn’t have enough power to do what you were asking them to do. I can stop my 1/2 HP Baldor if I press hard enough with what I am polishing, but this is not a good thing to do to the motor, the circuit it is on and especially your hands. You probably now have the right size motor for the work that you are doing. You can buy a foot operated switch that, if wired correctly, will require that you be stepping on the switch for the motor to run. As soon as you move your foot, the motor will idle down. Building one of these switches is on my list of things to do early this year while getting over the Christmas rush and letting my hands heal. Good luck and enjoy your new motor…Rob

Cheers Rob, your probably right about the low powered motors.
Foot pedal sounds good.
Thanks for your reply

Ive looked up this product, and the motor is just 1/2hp.
It says up to 8in =dia mop, in my view its not powerful enough to drive an 8in by 1in stitched sisal mop with a cutting compo bar like Canning lustre on a continous industrial basis.
It would be fine just about with a 6in swansdown finishing mop and hyfin.
Polishing machines come in silly small ebay sizes to proper pedestal 3 to 5hp machines.
It depends on what your polishing.
If its a single band wedding ring held on a tapered bit of broom handle your Durston set up will be fine. If its polishing say an 18in dia bronze or titanium bowl then it needs a 2hp minimum motor.
As for stopping it from moving, get yourself 3 pieces of 2 by 1 batten som 6 off 2.5in wood screws
a wood saw and cut a piece to go across the back of this machine. Then one for each side . Screw into your bench. Keep the wood tight to the machine sides. That will help. if that not enough then its a matter of bending up some say 2in by 2in by 1/16th in ally angle brackets, 6 off, self tap into the machine back and sides then screw down into your bench.
Ted in Dorset

You should not be able to stop a good polishing machine by pressing on it. If it is moving around you should screw it down. Most things don’t get caught in a polishing buff they just get thrown around, watch out for them bouncing towards your face. Chains are the thing to be careful of, they get caught and spin around hitting your fingers and can cut you if it is big chain. When it happens there is no way to get out of the way. At 3000 rpms it will hit you in the fingers 3 times before you can even move. Most of us wrap chains around a wooden stick to prevent them from being grabbed.

Excellent customer service!

I’ve been happy with this set up. The cleaview hoods (Quatro) really keep the dust in the shop down. The four port dust collector uses a large cartridge filter surrounded by a hepa type mesh filter, works great. I drilled four indents into the counter for the motor feet, that keeps it in place really well.

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Jon- Ours is an old 1/2 HP Baldor. It’s a great old workhorse and suits us
fine. I’ve never used a polishing lathe that had an auto brake. As I
sometimes do large-ish pieces our dust collecting hood is shaped so that I
can maneuver holloware. Also my motor is not bolted down do that I can move
it around to accommodate larger pieces as well.
I have always just been careful and have never had an accident in 47
years at the bench. That said I once had to help rescue a young woman with
long hair back in the late 60s in school at the U of O. Despite a huge
horsetail hanging next to a large sign that said “Tie Your Hair Back” she
still didn’t. It was horrifying.
In the old days jewelers wore long sleeve buttoned up lab coats to avoid
any loose clothing or ties. Yup. They wore ties. We were expected to dress
like professionals even under the lab coats in some stores. I have very
strict rules about polishing things like chains and I keep my hair very
I have no fears about using the machines and chemicals that it takes to
make jewelry, but do have a deep abiding respect for them. Kinda like
swimming in the ocean or camping in the desert.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
-Jo Haemer


For holloware, I wouldn’t buy anything under 1.5hp. Though expensive, you can’t go wrong with a fully enclosed Baldor. Virtually every silver company uses them. This is my polishing set-up: Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation: Silversmithing Shop View #4.

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Hi John,

I think you finally just got a motor that was actually strong enough that you couldn’t bog it down. So far as I know, nobody’s making (or has ever made) a motor (for buffing) that has any sort of auto-slowdown function. Never even heard of such a thing, and I’ve been tweaking jewelry equipment for…a while.

That said, I definitely second Jo’s warning about long hair. We had a 220V 3Ph standing buffer in my undergrad shop. Spinning 18" wheels. Woman with long hair went in there right before a crit, “just to touch something up”…
(Famous last words. Almost literally in this case.) Yeah. Didn’t kill her, but did create an unholy mess, that ended up with me on a stepstool trying to get blood off the ceiling. Do NOT take those things for granted. That’s when they bite.

Also, don’t ever buff loose chain. Wrap it around a baseball bat, or some other large diameter hunk of hardwood. MUCH safer.


Jim those are big motors. Just ise caution. If you’re old one would slow
from you buffing it wasn’t a atrong motor. 3650 rpm and they will rip off a
chunk of your scalp or break your arm. The most dangerous thing we use. You
need to not have long hair or loose clothing near it. Shouldn’t wear gloves
with it. But they are fine and an everyday thing. Just don’t be stupid with
it. That out with respect. Only polish below halfway on the wheel. Biggest
mistake with buffers is bending over to pick up something dropped and
getting something tangled with the motor. If you drop something. Step back
and look first. Turn off the buffer.
I just recently started buffing lots of things right at my bench with
mini hard felt and then muslin buffs. I got a serious dust collector though
right there.

Thanks for the advice guys. You wouldn’t believe I’ve been in the trade 20 years but have been using lower powered machines.
I was actually told all those years ago to only use polishing motors WITH this stopping feature as machines without it aren’t suitable for jewellery. Talk about misinformation!!
Well I’ve adjusted my bench height to compensate for the extractor, stabilised the machine so it cant move and when these extend spindles arrive it will be perfect.
After a few days of use and with all your feedback i’m more comfortable with the machine. Polishing steel watch straps in less than half the time it used to take and looking forward to reclaiming more gold from the dust than my previous setup.
Thanks all for putting my mind to rest!

You already wrote what I was going to say. You previous machines have not been very powerful and could be stopped by pressing down hard on the work. As has already been pointed out, this isn’t good for your work or the machine. I think you have a much better polishing machine now, and you’ll have to learn to use it . Wish mine was a nice as your :slight_smile:

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There is mention in this thread of a “dead man” foot switch for a polishing
motor. This is something I looked for because I wanted it on a motor used
by students. I couldn’t find such a thing. Does anyone actually know of a


I just ordered one thru Amazon. There are several. Following is a link to what I ordered. I hope it works…Rob

The hard part is finding the momentary switch style:

If you need one with more than a 15A capacity, you probably need to
check sites like woodworking tool vendors, like Lee Valley Tools.