Polishing skills

My hand polishing skills are getter better (being patient
helps!) but I want to acheive now a nice sand blasted finish
on my pieces - how do I do that? What equipment do I need.
buying a tumbler always seemed so confusing to me. it
seems like a lot of trial and error to get the perfect
finish. any advice?


Hi Dede, If it is not a lot of texturing you can use a Paasche
air brush with Al2O3 sand.



Skip Meister
N.R.A. Endowment &
Certified Instructor
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor

I want to acheive now a nice sand blasted finish
on my pieces - how do I do that? What equipment do I need.

You need exactly that - a sand blaster. A variety of medias
(the stuff you put inside it) will give you anything from:

–a smooth glowing satin finish (Glass Beads),

–to a slightly coarse texture with a matte finish (Quartz
Abrasive) which contrasts beautifully next to highly polished

–to a slightly coarser but sparkly finish (Crushed Ruby). I’m
proud to say that Gesswein in fact invented the crushed ruby
finish. :slight_smile:

There are a variety of sandblasters to choose from. But think
about what finishes you want and don’t assume all sandblasters
can do them. For example the little inexpensive pen-type
blasters have tubing and tips that are too narrow to accept the
coarser medias (quartz and ruby) and will only take glass beads.
These little blasters also have a tendency to clog easily
because the glass beads pick up moisture from the compressed air
that’s used to run them. It’s important to put a filter/dryer in
the air line as close to the sandblaster unit as possible in
order to dry the air before it gets to the sand.

Also available are great little tabletop sandblasters (yes, they
too require an air compressor). These almost never clog (because
an internal lite keeps the sand warm and dry) and they
automatically recirculate the sand too so you can reuse and reuse
it. They are worth the expense if you plan to do a lot of

The good news is that the major trade shows are coming up - MJSA
NY and MJSA Providence. Gesswein almost always has these
tabletop blasters on $how $pecial. Even if you can’t get to the
show, call us around March 29th when the show is going on and
check the price over the phone. It will be the best deal you can
get on these units all year long.

Hope that helps and I tried to keep it succinct this time too.
:slight_smile: But if you need more help or have any questions, please give
me a call or email me here.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
Orders: 1-800-243-4466
Tech Services: 1-800-544-2043, ext 287 for me
Fax: 203-335-0300

Hi DeDe-- Most of the major jewelers tool co. sell small sand
blasting units, though they call them beadblasters. Its a small
chamber cabinet with a nozel affair and you hold your piece with
the built in gloves. Of course you also need a compressor or
some sort of propellent and the blasting media, in most jewelry
systems that’s Alum. Oxide not sand. There is also on the
market an airbrushlike affair that you can pick-up at some of the
bigger art supply stores and depending on the depth of cut you
can also buy canned air propellent, the same stuff airbrush
artist use on the fly. Oh’ I just checked out Rio Grande’s tool
catalog P.232 they sell one of the small units and it’s
relatively cheap. I’ve been sandblasting in glass for a number
of years and just like jewelers tools the variety of goodies is
mind boogling. If your just going to do an occasional piece try
using a flame style diamond bur, you can with a little practice
make it look like it was sandblasted. This works well on pieces
where you just want to add a little contrast like on the raised
shoulder of a shank. You can get another neat look with the small
broom style hard wire brushes. Get it spinning and touch the
flat face squarely on your piece, it gives you a sort of
circular, pebble dropped in the water kind of look. This works
well for pieces with broad flat areas, like madallions and such.
By way of a little safety if you do get into sand blasting. Be
sure to wear a respirator, if you dont buy a cabinet to contain
the dust and do it outside. Blasting is very dirty and the media
shatters into microscopic fragments which are inhaled very
easily. Using alum. oxide, glass beads or garnet powder as media
is somewhat safer than blasting sand. You can develope
Sciliacosis (forgive my spelling, but you get the jist) if you
inhale the fragment silica particles of sand. A disease similar
in nature to when you inhale asbestos and I’m sure youv’e been
reading all the posts about that topic lately. Better safe then
sorry. Good luck. Leslie ( Fantastic sunshine and a
balmy 10 degrees here in the boonies of NE Pa.,

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a sandblasting cabinet for your jewelry projects? We recommend:

The little table top sandblasting units that Elaine from
Gesswein co is talking about are wonderful.Be careful not to
contaminate your blasting media as you will get dull grey
finishes on your silver. Dan Grandi

One of the most important considerations when purchasing any
airbrush/sandblaster is the type of nozzle. I don’t know all
the variations as it’s been some time since I’ve shopped for
any. But there are steel, ceramic, ruby, etc. Since the media is
abrasive, a cheap nozzle may quickly (VERY) become enlarged and
the venturi action of the air/nozzle is diminished, resulting in
slower and slower blasting. And the amount of media used

John g

Dear Dan: That grey color on silver, I believe, is a staining
that takes place after you habdle sand blasted pieces. Two ways
to avoid this: use glass beads instead of sand, or use a wet/dry
sand blast combo unit.RG