Sandblasted finishes

Can anyone recommend a good piece of equipment (along with
approx. cost and source) that can be used to put that
sandblasted looking finish on a piece of jewelry? I had to size
a plat ring today with this type of finish, and I would liked to
have able to refinish the worked area of the shank to better
match the rest of the piece. Also, can stones be ‘masked’ with
something to avoid possible damage during this type of
finishing? Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to
Jim, MT.

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

Um. You probably need a sanblaster. Harbor freight sells some
table top blasting cabinets that work fine. There are small
shoebox sized dental units out there that also work well enough
for occasional use, as well as several types that look more like
an airbursh for small detail use. Prices seem to start around 75
bucks and up, depending on the type and size. Used ones crop up
now and then. You also need, of course, some source of
compressed air. Some of the small blasters don’t need much,
though. I know one guy with a little home built one that he’d
run off a somewhat overinflated spare truck tire… Didn’t give
him much, but for the once in a blue moon need, it was just

Peter Rowe

Hello Jim! The blaster I’m using costs around $250. Any supplier
you choose should have it. It’s basically a 10 inch square box
with a glass front for viewing. You’ll need a compressor as
well. Watch Sears for a 30 gallon 5 hp. You can get them on sale
for around $259. The smaller mushroom units are cheaper, but
don’t hold much air and tend to run more than they’re off.Good

Hi! we do sandblasting on lots of our line and really the only
way is to get some sort of way to redo the finish, ie,
sandblasting. There are several ways to get it done with out
buying a whole unit, talk to your equipment supplier or email me
and I’ll get you some info. I use a wax pen and "mask ", off the
parts I dont want blasted, stones, with wax, or tape if your
going for different textures on the metal. Let me know, Matt the
Catt @ C.I. A.

Hell Jim! A sandblaster would have been nice to have for that
project. What I’ve been doing for masking is fingernail polish.
There are masking products that seem to work similar to nail
polish. Occasionally I’ll cut scotch tape to fit stones or areas
to be protected. It holds up better than the polish. I hope
this thread produces more effective methods. I have always
assumed there were better products and methods for masking. Lets
hope for an easier way.


i have been using a air eraser for a sand blaster for several
years. Glass beads as the blasting medium. I just recently bought
a large air compressor, but before that I used a portable air
tank filled at the gas station or a co2 bottle. About 40lb of
pressure seems to bring the best result. I used a cardboard box
with a vacuum cleaner for a blasting booth untill i got a plastic
one. Wasted a bit of blasting media, but got results.The air
earaser is about $80 to $100 and the air tanks can be bought at
surplus stores for about $25 to $40. Glass beads are available at
Gesswein etc. I use fingernail polish as a block out or else use
a plastic mastic or even scotch tape. all seem to work it is just
the control of the mask that varies. God luck Frank

I picked up a bead blasting cabinet from Enco for about $150. I
then went to Home depot and picked up a compressor for $300-350.
One needs 60-80 lbs of air to sand blast. The media that I use
is composed of glass beads. I might point out that glasss beads
tend to self destruct at these pressures and one should be sure
to use a good respirator. The beads are not as destructive as
quartz sand or a few other medias. They are available from most
jewelers supply housesThe glass beads also seem to provide a
softer finish that is seen on more jewelry. Coarser media also
provides an interesting finish but can open up pits in cxastings
a lot quicker and when masking stonres with wax or tape can do
real damage if it does get past the mask. I usually use bee’s
wax or a synthetic equivalent for masking.

Bruce D. Holmgrain Maryland’s first JA certified Master Bench

Hello Jim, There are some small benchtop pencil-stylu
sandblasting cabinets available listed in the Rio Grande and the Enco tool . I’m using one from Enco Model 803-0001
it costs $150. It apears to be the same as Rio’s 336-248 for

I would not use anything smaller than this. This machine needs a
compressed air supply and a vacume to keep the dust down so that
you can see what you are doing.

This machine has its drawbacks.

  1. I found the internal air filter to be inadiquate. I
    replaced it with an automotive air filter to increase the air
    flow and increase visibility inside the cabinet.

  2. After wearing out the ceramic tip, I replaced it with a
    tungsten carbide tip. ceramic tip wore out in about a week of
    heavy use.

I would advise purchasing a better machine. However if you would
like to know how I modified mine, contact me off list.

good luck

Timothy A. Hansen

Web site:

Hello Jim, Most tool houses sell small sandblasters and
compressors to drive them. When you need to protect a stone or a
polished surface you don’t want blasted, just drip a bit of hot
wax on to the surface. The sand won’t knock it off, but you can
just snap it off when you are through. Have fun. Tom Arnold

Might be fruitful to call Northern Tool and ask for a catalog.
They sell sandblasting cabinets, used to s.b. small tools and
metal parts, plus various types of grit, glass spherules, et
cetera. May be what you’re looking for cheaper than buying from a
jewelry tool seller? (I’ve bought
tools from them before including a really nifty tabletop sheet
metal brake perfect for creasing 30 ga. ss.)

Jim, I have a small sandblaster from Gesswein. It has a light
inside, glove on the left side, pressure gauge, a little window
and that’s about it, I guess that’s all you really need other
than an air compressor. The unit ran about $300.00 and has been
very effective. I cover stones and areas that I don’t want to
sandblast with tape, I use a surgical knife to trim where
necessary and that works pretty well. You have a range of
choices in what you use for media, I primarily use a more coarse
quartz material because it gives a deeper more sparkly finish
that seems to last a little longer. That is available from any
larger supplier, as is the sandblaster I would imagine.

Mark P

Hi Jim

For non-production sand blasting I use a Sears compressor and
their sand blasting gun. Looks like a spray gun with a trigger
and tube nozzle. I then took a see-through plastic container that
you can get from any department store and cut a hole in the end
for the nozzle and a large hole in the side for my arm to hold
the piece I’m sand blasting. Use the container upside dow n with
the lid on. When you through you can reclaim the sand. Jewelry
supply houses sell sand in various sizes. I use masking tape to
protect those areas that I don’t want sand blasted. If I’m not
mistaken you need a compressor that delivers about 40Lb.
pressure. Make sure you use eye protection and a respirator. If
anyone wants to see a picture of this whole mess let me know and
I will put one one the web.

George Hebner

If you are going to use an air eraser for blasting and an air
tank for air pressure, try finding an empty freon tank the size
of a 20 lb propane tank. There is a conversion kit with the
fittings, an air pressure gage and the hose for $10 available
here from NH, which sells various motors and industrial
supplies. Unfortuntely, the kit doesn’t work with the propane
tank and the freon tanks are a bit harder to find, but you will
run across them.

Roy (Jess)

This is what I use when I sand blast to protect stones. I either
use a very heavy masking tape or Plasticform - it is a shellac
substitute that does not omit the same horrible fumes shellac



I responding to Tim’s letter to Jim about Sandblasting units. I
too recently bought an air compressor from Sears (can beat them-
craftsmen stuff is priced just right).

I bought the 4.5 HP 20 gallon (motha of a) compressor. I just
sound proofed the compressor. I thought I would pass along the
info if the noise a compressor makes is a problem for other
folks. I bought these really great vibration and sound proofing
rubber mats from MSC. Everyone on this list should get their
catalog. 1-800-645-7270. MSC is a Industrial Supply Co., they
have EVERYTHING. Whitney at Metal Kitchen passed along their name
to me. Now I look throught the 5000 page catalog every morning
with my tea instead of reading the trades.

I also encased my compressor in a lucite box I made. When the
compressor is running the box helps to deaden the noise
(another suggestion from Whitney). I have a group of graphic
designers below my studio and the noise I make while working
makes them crazy. They noticed a huge difference now when I run
the compressor.

Anyway, I hope y’all find the info useful.


Try a university or museum with a good paleontology exhibit.
There is a kind of sandblasting box with very precise control
used in the preparation of fossils. Unfortunately I can’t
remember the name of it right now. Wait - I remembered! It’s
AirBrasive. Can use calcite sand as well as silica, for more
sensitive surfaces.


Lone Star Technical Services,
Click on the "Dusty Series of grit/glass bead blast cabinets. We
make them for the dental trade and you might find them useful.
Paasche “Air Erasers” are also available, as well as glass bead
media and MilSpec aluminum oxide powder 50 to 250 micron size
also available in small quantities.

Mike Fritz
Lone Star Technical Services

Yes please George, I certainly would like to see a picture of
your sand blasting setup. It just sounds to be exactly what I’m
looking for.

Kind regards
Niels L=F8vschal, Jyllinge, Denmark
phone (+45) 46 78 89 94

Hello there- Diamonds can be blasted over, but any other stone
must be protected, as well as areas you want to remain shiny, for
contrast. Nail polish blasts right off, but epoxy seems to be
able to withstand the bead blasting, and even sand blasting if
you are carefull.

Sarah Graham


You can see the Sand Blaster at It’s crude but it does