(1) Can I polish the face of all jewelry that already has stones
set without damaging the stones and settings? For example, won't it
remove the coating on onyx or damage other soft stones? Could it
break off faceted settings?
No, not all! It may damage softer stones. Tread softly around stones
that are soft and/or heat sensitive. Buffing is a mildly abrasive
process, and the friction generates heat (at times, much of it). That
being said, I'll also recant by saying that I do go over inlaid
turquoise, red coral, lapis, etc, with rouge or ZAM as a polish for
the stones. With prong settings, be especially careful not to let the
buffer snag a prong. Always keep the buff running down the length of
the prong, toward the tip.
(2) The same person who suggested the conversion of a grinder to
a polisher suggested which wheels to buy, but there was the choice
between shellac and leather for each type. The Rio Grande
order-taker didn't know which I should choose and there were no
techs available at their end to talk to, so I got leather. Is that
I think you're talking about what the hub of the buff is made from,
not the buffing material itself. That being the case, I don't think
there's much difference. I even have some with wooden hubs. I always
try to put my buffs on the same way, so they thread on in the same
grooves. I think the leather might be more "adaptable" to being put
on differently, as in a shop with multiple people using the buffer.
(3) What can you touch a deburring wheel to? Stones or just
metal? I have found so little info in the books I have read, and I
have a work schedule that conflicts with the chance to take
Deburring wheels are generally used on metal, but there may be some
situation where one might use it on stone... just can't think of
one. If you were inclined to use one on stone, there's probably a
good argument for a better solution. There are a lot of options out
there for deburring wheels. I've used the traditional Cratex wheels
for years, but at the coaxing of fellow Orchid members, have started
using the Advantage silicone polishers from Rio. By the way, I'm
thinking generally of flex-shaft use here, not a big buffing machine.
I do have a big Cratex wheel I use on my bench grinder to, for
example, sand/grind a point on my sterling olive skewers, made of
square wire stock.
Last word of advice - be careful around your new buffer. They are
very powerful, so be respectful. Make sure you've got a firm but
gentle grip on your piece. If the buffer wants to snatch it out of
your hands, let it go. Better to have to rework a piece than wait for
a gouge in your finger, or a broken finger to heal. If you haven't
already, you should look into a hood and dust collection system.
These things create a wicked amount of dust and debris... especially
when you're breaking in new buffs.
All the best,
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans' Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)