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Polishing pendant edges


#1

I’ve been reading all the posts about how to safely use a polishing
wheel with interest, since I don’t use one and have always been
curious about them. I know that they require careful use. I’m
wondering if such a machine would be useful to me (or whether
different use of my flexshaft would help).

Here is what I would use it for (at this point). I make mixed metal
pendants, and I always start with a back of either copper or brass
and mainly rivet (but also solder) components onto it. Two years ago
I designed three basic shapes and had them cut out of 18 g. copper
and brass by a local water jet place - it was not cheap but I have
never regretted it because it gave me many, many more pieces than I
could have gotten sawing them out - there was virtually no waste -
and I can make small but meaningful changes to these versatile and
basic shapes using files and saw. The time saved not having to cut
out every pendant back is huge, and it gives me a perfect,
symmetrically shaped piece to start with.

I use my flexshaft tool to finish the edges. All I use is sandpaper
in successively higher grit, starting with 220, then 400, then 600.
It gives a nice enough finish to the edge - it looks okay - but I
wonder if there is a way to get a more professional look, maybe even
using the flexshaft. Someone’s comment about the split lap producing
a “heavier” look to a ring edge piqued my interest and inspired me
to post this question.

By the way, many thanks for all the jump ring soldering suggestions.
I have read them all and have some good tips to try. But the most
important thing I got from all your posts is that my big problem
does not lie in what flux or solder or soldering surface or
soldering set-up I use, really. I realized in reading all your posts
that I am simply being lazy and sloppy because I don’t like
soldering jump rings (just call me Rachel "I’d-rather-be-riveting"
Rose). I’m probably using too much flux, and too much solder and not
being precise with either, nor with my torch. All things I can
remedy and with the many tips given in your posts, I should be able
to improve my technique. So thanks all.

Rachel


#2

If you want a smooth edge that wears nicely with no rough or sharp
spots, I suggest getting a full range of the 3M sanding sponges from
Rio and working from the bottom up, sanding both across and with the
edge. This gives you a very smooth rounded edge.

It doesn’t give a hard sharp edge however, unlike what was being
discussed about the split lap idea.

(Hard smooth planes will give a ring more visual weight, as opposed
to softer planes. This in my experience doesn’t work for things cut
from sheet. And you’ll go batty trying to put on and polish a bevel
around the edge of sheet, unless it’s REALLY thick.)

Lindsay Legler
Dreaming Dragon Designs


#3

Rachel- If you don’t want to use a polishing lathe, you might try
burnishing the edge. It will leave a nice crisp polished edge. No
need to go through to 600 grit. You could quit at 220 or 400 and then
burnish.That said, I feel that a good polishing set up is crucial to
a metals shop. Oh, and a tip to help clean up lumpy jump ring
solders. If I have too much solder on a jump ring, I’ll knock the
worst of the lump off and then re heat the seam and it will re flow
and leave a smooth seam. I’ve found that trying to remove all of the
solder lump leaves an uneven jump ring. Have fun and make lot’s of
jewlery.

Jo
www.timothywgreen.com


#4
I use my flexshaft tool to finish the edges. All I use is
sandpaper in successively higher grit, starting with 220, then 400,
then 600. It gives a nice enough finish to the edge - it looks
okay - but I wonder if there is a way to get a more professional
look,... 

Rachel, you might consider an easier way of polishing edges, if you
have tumble polishers. I tumble pendant blanks in my vibratory
tumbler, using an abrasive medium. It smoothes off the edges nicely
and is much easier and cleaner than using a wheel or sandpaper. When
the jewelry piece is finished, I polish it in a ceramic medium, in my
rotary tumbler. (The choice of tumbler is partly dependent on where
the piece will fit, if you’re making large items.) If it still needs
touching up, I use the White Diamond buff on my bench grinder or some
little Dremel polishing wheel.

All the best,
Judy Bjorkman


#5

For what you describe I see no reason the flexshaft cannot give you
acceptable results. There are numerous kinds of wheels/burs/buffs to
fit, just pick which is good for your application.

There’s a nice two speed polishing lathe about 6 feet from my bench,
but honestly I do a lot of finishing with the flex. While its true
that there’s no substitute for a good tool remember that a tool is
what you make of it. What makes the tool good is if it does the job.

The flexshaft is not so good at larger smooth areas, the overlapping
shows, if you do have to do such an area finish off with a white soft
bristle brush to blend things. But for edges and details it works
pretty good. I don’t think anyone could tell (short of louping it at
10X) whether I’ve used a lathe or the flex on most pieces.

That being said when the time comes get a lathe, production will
speed up.


#6

Okay if nobody has said it yet if you don’t have a regular polish
motor thinking about a split lap is kinda like skipping getting your
drivers license and diving straight for racing the Indy 500. A split
lap has to be one of the more terrifying pieces of machinery I’ve
ever worked with; extremely good at what it does, but most definitely
NOT for the person just figuring these things out on their own. You
can get solid hard felt laps for a regular buffing motor set-ups that
are almost as good and not quite so prone to breaking fingers.

Also in a pedantic fit they aren’t polishing lathes! AAARRGH! Lathes
spin the work while you hold the tool (occasionally via cute
mechanical vices on worm drives but the tool is most certainly not
the spinning bit) and you’d feel a right ninny trying to hold a soft
muslin buff to a spinning 6 claw ring. I realize that this will not
change any of your decades long habits, especially as we are mostly
all type A personalities who spend WAY too much time working by
ourselves. But I feel better for saying it and why. Please carry on,
nothing more to see here. :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Norah Kerr
www.besmithian.com


#7
they aren't polishing lathes 

http://tinyurl.com/5uby6n

I guess this is another industry specific term. Well, at least we’re
not talking about synthetic polishing machines


#8

A minor point, but baldor 3/4 hp motors, the ones that whisper when
running, are often referred to as polishing lathes.

If I may why do you find split laps terrifying.

Most of the equipment we used should not be used without
instruction. As has been said “Don’t try this at home”.

KPK


#9

Thanks, Kevin. I have only worked with a flexshaft tool. I don’t own
any kind of buffing wheel/split lap (I think I used the word lathe
incorrectly). I’m not sure I need one for what I am doing - hence my
post - but I do know that one has to be very careful when using these
machines. Yes, one has to be careful with a lot of things in the
shop. Just a matter I suppose of, as you say, learning how to do
things correctly and being mindful. You can hurt yourself with a file
if you don’t pay attention!

Rachel


#10
A minor point, but baldor 3/4 hp motors, the ones that whisper
when running, are often referred to as polishing lathes. If I may
why do you find split laps terrifying. Most of the equipment we
used should not be used without instruction. As has been said
"Don't try this at home". 

Sorry for the late reply.

Well to me that just means someone in the company made the same
error in language. shrugs we’re all human after all, just because
they make the things and they are good tools doesn’t mean the makers
are totally infallible. I just think it is an important distinction
to keep, especially if you are coming here from a background in
woodworking or Tool and Dye, where polishing on a lathe proper is
perfectly doable (and even recomened in some cases) provided the
piece has adequate symmetry to be spun smoothly.

Split laps are absolutely terrifying because my fingers are small
enough to get jammed into the split. It never happened but it was so
easy to see how a slipped hand could result in a broken finger rather
then just a dirty one. And everything my polishing instructor said
confirmed that, as did the number of pieces that got wrenched from my
hands, try to do a single surface area slightly smaller then the
split and BANG it went against the shield wall.

And yes, absolutely most should have a good deal of instruction, it
just bears repeating.

Cheers,
Norah Kerr
www.besmithian.com


#11
A minor point, but baldor 3/4 hp motors, the ones that whisper when
running, are often referred to as polishing lathes. 

Polishing lathe is the correct (if old fashioned) terminology for
what has come to be called a polishing motor. It goes back to the
time of overhead belt driven tools and is not the invention of Baldor
or the other polishing lathe manufacturers

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#12
Polishing lathe is the correct (if old fashioned) terminology for
what has come to be called a polishing motor. It goes back to the
time of overhead belt driven tools and is not the invention of
Baldor or the other polishing lathe manufacturers 

So, Jim, since you linked your statement to a quote from me Why the
linkage? Is my statement incorrect. I made no claim that Baldor
invented the term.

As to " if old fashioned" Baldor still produces under the heading
"Grinders/ Polishers a section of products referred to as “Polishing
lathes” Is Baldor ‘old fashioned’?

Finally, I just don’t understand why the linkage to my statement.

KPK