Tool Time Tuesday – Polishing your piece with a flexshaft

Okay, I know it is Wednesday, but that is just how things are rolling at my house right now. My girls start back to school on the 19th of August. While that is really early, I am kind of excited. I am ready to get back into a routine and have my house stay clean for longer than 5 minutes. Even if it is only clean while they are at school. In addition, I am really looking forward to finishing up the book that I have been working on. If any of you have been working with the hydraulic press and would like to submit your photos for possible inclusion in the book, I would love to see it. Just shoot me an email at: Melissa@kcjewelbox.com.

I am also getting really excited for the Metal Retreat I am hosting with my friend Francesca Watson in Washington. I cannot wait to get back up to the Columbia River Gorge area. I have really missed that place.  We are going to be working on so many fun things. There is etching, metal clay, hydraulic press, roll printing, enameling, glass fusing, resin, forging, fold forming and so much more. We still have two openings if anyone is interested. The cost is only $200 plus everyone chips in for food. If you would like to know more, please visit our retreat website: www.metalretreat.com 

The past week has been an exciting one for me as I have gained a few sponsors for my Tool Time Tuesday posts. So watch in the next few weeks as I do a few different tool and materials reviews. And just wait until you see what Kevin Potter has in store. I can’t wait for that post. Of course I have to wait for his goodies to arrive. Darn it.

Well, today’s Tool Time Tuesday/Wednesday is no exception. Just before I moved from Washington, Lucy Brooks of Eternal Tools contacted me and asked if I would do a tool review for some of the tools she sells. She has been waiting patiently as we moved, then had to build a studio, then summer hit, and well, now it is 4 months later and I am finally getting this post done.

One of the questions I get asked most often is how to get a good finish and polish on a piece of jewelry. I wish I had the answer. I know that people spend a LOT of time at the polishing machine. But what if you don’t have one? There is another method, but it doesn’t take any less time, at least it doesn’t for me.

I wanted to create a piece that had lots of little spaces, you know, so I could show you how to get in there and polish them. Now, I certainly had second thoughts about that when I finally had to polish all those little spots. LOL. But I digress. So I created a sort of “filigree” piece that would allow me show you how to get into the nooks and crannies to shine them up.

 

MelissaMuirFiligree

 

Two different “tools” were used to polish the pieces. The first are silicone polishing wheels. I love these little wheels. They actually come in Wheels, Knife edge, and cylinders. All can be reshaped as needed with a file. I work through a progression of 4 “grits” if you will (coarse, medium, fine/high shine and very fine/ultra-high shine.) Because I am able to cover more area with these, it is my first tool of choice to go to. I am unable, however, to get inside the details of the pendant.

SIL POL WHEEL 3-7/8 X 9/16 XFINE(PINK)

So the second tool used are called Polishing Pins. The pins used in this video were supplied by Eternal Tools. These come in a cylinder shape but can easily be “sharpened” with a file, as you will see in the video. There are six pins and again, they range in their coarseness to give you a nice fine mirror finish on your piece. I know the picture above isn’t fantastic (it was taken with my phone) but you can see how smooth things are. I didn’t get a before shot, but it was lumpy, bumpy and just plain over soldered, which was intentional for the purpose of the video.

I have a very small stash of the silicone polishing wheels for sale on my website (or at least they will be shortly.) And the polishing pins are available through Eternal Tools. I also just noticed that Eternal tools sells the silicone polishing wheels as well. So you have a few places where you can purchase them. Both tools will need a mandrel, so be sure you get that while you are at it.

So, are you ready to see how they work? Well, wait no longer.

 

16 thoughts on “Tool Time Tuesday – Polishing your piece with a flexshaft

  1. Santiago

    Hello Melissa, this tool time tuesday could not have come at a better time for me. I am finishing up this “masterpiece” I’m working on and I’m right before the polishing phase.
    My question is how can I maintain or protect the polish on the metal so that it keeps it’s shine. I’m using copper and brass. I’m a beginner. Thanks so much.

    Reply
  2. Danielle

    Great video! I got some of those fine point tips but haven’t used them much because I wasn’t exactly sure how! So THANK YOU for this timely video!

    Reply
  3. Sally

    Wow! I joined your mailing list yesterday and this morning your video on polishing wheels & pins arrived … perfect timing! I was wondering how to polish some small pieces I’m working on … now I know. Excellent info. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  4. Melissa Muir

    I am glad that it was helpful to you. In my experience, the polish that is there will last. Now, tarnish is another thing all together. But at least you will have the smooth surface. If it is going to be a piece of art, I would highly suggest taking it down once in a while and just go over it with a polishing cloth. That should help you to be able to keep the beautiful shine. I have to do that even with jewelry and such. But that is always why people have to take out their silver set from time to time and just buff it back up. 

    Hope that helps.
    Melissa
    Reply
  5. Melissa Muir

    Danielle, 

    You are going to love them. I bought some years ago and never used them because I didn’t really know how to use them either. But I do love them now.
    Melissa
    Reply
  6. Melissa Muir

    Thanks Becky. I hope to keep on top of it for a while. Now that we are done moving, I am really hoping to get into a routine and keep things moving.

    Melissa
    Reply
  7. Melissa Muir

    Welcome to the Blog Sally! I am glad your first experience was a good one. I would love it if you spread the word. Let me know if you ever have questions, I am always looking for videos and new topics to cover. 

    Melissa
    Reply
  8. Lola

    Hi Melissa! I followed one of your links on one of the FB forums and happened to find this vid. Great information as I see a new Fordom flexshaft in my near future. I’ve seen the pins in particular on different sites, and have one question. Are the pins flexible at all? Or do you need to file them to the points you need? I’m hoping there is some give there, so as to conform to tight inside curves. I also would have like it if you would have addressed doing initial sanding with sanding disks, using the flexshaft. It’s a method I’ve seen used on You Tube videos, but have questions about the grits of the disks. There are so many different types and materials out there, sometimes I avoid it because I don’t know where to start. I think sanding with the flexshaft would save a huge amount of time, so hopefully worth the cost of the disks. I seem to have gotten a bit wordy…but thanks for your time.

    Reply
  9. Melissa Muir

    Hi Lola,

    There is a little bit of give on them but not a lot. But you would also need to file the points a bit to get into some of the tighter spots. They also come in 2mm diameters, so that might be something to look at. I can get those as well if you are interested.

    In the time that I have worked with my flexshaft and the various tools, I haven’t found the sanding discs to be the same as what i can do by hand sanding. I will do a bit more research on that for you and let you know what I find out.

    Melissa

    Reply
  10. Carrie

    How do you recommend polishing a piece that involves flat sheet using the flex shaft? For example something that has a flat silver disc involved, etc. I have some material that I got from a supplier that is quite scratched up, but the pieces are too small to hold and polish using a larger wheel. Will those silicone wheels suffice or show waves because they aren’t wide? Thanks for the advice!

    Reply
  11. Melissa Muir

    Carrie, the polishing wheels might be able to do it. Do you have to get into any nooks or cranies? If not, they would probably do quite well. But if there are any tight spots, you will have  hard time fitting into it. There is a chance that they would show waves. You can get the little polishing buffs for your flexshaft. They look JUST like the ones for the big polishing machine, just little. I would think that would be your best bet over the polishing wheels.

    Melissa
    Reply
  12. Carrie

    Thank you Melissa! There are no tight areas, just some surface scratches and in a few cases deeper scratches. One more question, with the polishing buffs, do you use any compound (tripoli, rouge, etc.) on them like you would on a big wheel? Sorry, I have very little experience with polishing and pretty much none using the flex shaft. I don’t want to mess things up! I see so many different kinds available too… cotton, chamois, leather. The machine I used at the shop I previously worked at had all the materials there, and I obviously didn’t ask enough questions. I have no idea what types of buffs I was using.

    Reply
  13. Melissa Muir

    Carrie,

    I think it just depends on what you are used to. I will try to find out a little more info and let you know. But I also know that some people have preferences for which buff they use and with which compound. I also have only a little experience when it comes to polishing with a large polisher. Sorry.
    Melissa
    Reply

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