On the subject of polisher safety, one aspect to note is that the
bigger the motor, the greater the danger. That is, a half horse power
motor is going to have a greater potential for damage if something
goes wrong, than will a 1/4 hp motor. Keep that in mind when you go to
buy the tool, if you haven’t done so already.
The size and kind of buff that is spinning is also a factor in the
potential for mishap. An eight inch, loose flannel buff, spinning at
3500 rpm with a 3/4 horse motor coming into contact with say a tennis
bracelet is something that I shudder to contemplate.
The machine I use, and would recommend for general work, is the Baldor
2 speed, 1/4 horse polishing lathe with tapered spindles. Having two
speeds is a useful option.
If you are doing primarily small scale work, you might look into
something like the Foredom polishing lathe shown in the Rio catalog on
page 366. This is 1/6 hp motor with speeds that are variable from
1800 to 7000 rpm. Gesswein shows a box on page 272 that you can buy
from them for $200 or make yourself for $20 that will keep dust and
flying parts contained using this kind of motor.
If Daniel Grandi or another toolie would care to comment, it should be
possible to make a variable speed buffer from one of the DC motors
that C&H has at low cost.
Having said all of the above, what I would really recommend is that
you try polishing papers, scrapers, and burnishers and eliminate the
need for the motor altogether. Then you are really safe and the
attendant risks from inhaling nasties is also practically eliminated.
Besides, the look is superior IMHO.
Ricco Gallery of Contemporary Art Jewelry
125 W German St /PO Box 883
Shepherdstown, WV 25443-0883