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Wheels and Brushes

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Author Topic: Wheels and Brushes  (Read 796 times)
Taogem
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« on: February 14, 2009, 03:55:57 am »

Wheels and Brushes

Just as there are numerous polish and buffing compounds, there are also numerous buffing wheels to go with them. There are cotton wheels, chamois wheels, bristle brush wheels and more. Cotton buffing wheels are the most common, felt wheels are also popular as are the brushes. Chamois wheels are great for final buffing, but they are also fairly expensive.

Most buffs come in size from 2 to 6 in. diameter, and also in a variety of special shapes such as those used to polish the inside of rings, cups and bowls, crevices, etc.

Cotton muslin and cotton flannel are the most used buff. The cotton muslin buff also comes in a treated version that some people like when they apply Tripoli, bobbing compound or Grey Star type products. The treatment, usually yellow, aids in keeping the compound on the wheel. The cotton flannel buff is made from a canton flannel or a domet flannel. Canton flannel is a plain-weave or twill-weave cotton fabric with a long, fleecy nap usually on one side only. Domet flannel, which is the softer flannel, is a cotton warp and wool weft, flannel.

Buffing wheels are also stitched in different patterns. Concentric circle and radial stitching are the most common patterns. A buff stitched with just one row of stitching near the center is called a loosely stitched buff. The more rows and the closer the rows, the stiffer the buff will be. Loosely stitched buffs are generally used for final buffing with rouge, and will flare out to give a wide-angle ultra smooth polishing surface. The stitched stiffer buffs are generally used with a cutting compound like Tripoli. There are also many special purpose cotton buffs like the cotton yarn buff used in shoe polishing machines. The faces of these wheels are pre-raked to accept compound immediately.

Sisal wheels, generally not used in jewelry making are made of layers of woven tampico and cloth, and are aggressive extra firm buffs and are used mostly on stainless steel. Sisal is a slender, hard, cellular strand of fiber that has demonstrated its great strength and tough resiliency in the form of binder twine, cord & rope for many years. These qualities, along with its natural abrading and grease absorbing characteristics, provide an ideal buffing wheel fabric.

Pleated or vented cotton or sisal wheels are another type of non-jewelry wheel. These buffs run cooler and carry more compound and are very aggressive.

Hard felt wheels are used with a variety of compounds. Felt buffs are made of tightly compressed wool fibers and are used where flat surfaces, designs, sharp edges and flatness must be maintained. Craftsmen who make knives are big users of hard felt buffs because they maintain the smooth, sharp lines of a highly polished blade.

These hard felt buffs are very useful but care must be taken as they can produce a line or ring on a piece of jewelry

Chamois buffs are used with buffing compounds only. They tend to last longer than the muslin buffs and generate less lint. They are also less prone to snagging small parts while polishing. Chamois buffs are used to get a very high luster on gold and other soft metals.

Brushes are intended to reach into tight recesses and are used with a variety of compounds. However, they will not produce the same degree of luster as can be obtained with buffs.

One handy buff of synthetic fibers uses no compound at all, as the fibers are coated with special abrasive materials to impart a very attractive brushed surface texture to metals and soft plastics. These special buffs come in medium and coarse grades.

One of the most important things to think about in polishing of precious metals is handling, or at least the avoidance of it. Sweat is very acidic. Every time a metal is handled, unless some kind of preventative steps are taken, such as gloves or cloth, acid is transferred from the hand to the item, preserving waxes are removed and protective ions are disrupted allowing the acids to begin the action we call oxidation.

When we polish something, the surface of the metal is smoothed directionally, making the ions on the surface line up like soldiers. This not only makes the piece look good but it also helps by placing a barrier that the acids and salts have to penetrate and disrupt for the oxidation to occur. We can avoid this enormously by not handling anymore than is necessary. LOOK and ADMIRE, but don't touch. Remember this when you are finished with your handiwork restoring the piece to its former glory.



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thewrightthings
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2009, 01:44:18 pm »

George, thanks so much for that great tutorial.  It's one I'll keep out in my shop.
           Paula
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Bentiron
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 05:53:27 pm »

Goeorge, If you haven't tried the 3M rdial brushes for your jewelry finishing you should they are great for so many jobs.
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Taogem
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 08:57:26 pm »

Bentiron..

I do use the small 3M's with my dremel.  They do work great.  I keep wanting to order some stainless steel shot for my tumbler though.
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Bluesssman
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 09:21:00 pm »

Don't wait to get the stainless steel shot, you will really like how it works!


Gary
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 01:07:25 am »

I know Gary !

It really should be at the top of my wish list... Just a money thing..  Every month just never enough ! I need one of those money trees  dancer5

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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 11:29:44 am »


George, I cut and pasted the tutorial.  Thanks as I to will post it in my shop.

How do you use the ss shot in your tumbler?

TOG
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-Gary

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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 02:19:07 pm »




How do you use the ss shot in your tumbler?



Once I get it.. Will fill the barrel 2/3 full and add water.
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MrsWTownsend
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2010, 03:57:38 pm »




How do you use the ss shot in your tumbler?



Once I get it.. Will fill the barrel 2/3 full and add water.

And a drop or two of dawn dishwashing liquid...
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2010, 05:31:46 pm »

On another forum some have had trouble with Dawn, I haven't though, I also use the cheapest laundry detergent that Walmart sells, no perfume, no bleach, just soap . Stainless steel shot is good stuff in the tumbler. I'm pretty bad about changing water and such, it seems to last forever though. I never rinse and dry it, just keep on tumbling stuff, never mix metals like silver, copper and brass, as I have had not to good of results doing that. Whenever I have a bunch of copper I change water and rinse shot, add clean water and add new soap to tumbler, about once a month.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2010, 07:53:16 pm »


George, I cut and pasted the tutorial.  Thanks as I to will post it in my shop.

How do you use the ss shot in your tumbler?

TOG

So this ss shot takes the place of the abrasive medium? 

Slightly dense TOG
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-Gary

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Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2010, 05:51:20 am »

The results are as if you took a burnishing tool to the piece. The silver will end up with a super bright polish.
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MrsWTownsend
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 04:55:50 pm »

I've never had a problem with the dawn either.  It is possible to leave the stuff in the shot for too long, in which case it turns it black and you have to change the water and tumble it some more until it is clean again.  You could always just use burnishing compound but most people use the soap to cut cost.  The key is to check it every couple of hours and keep the water clean as far as my "experience" goes.

I have learned that every once in a while it is good to take the shot out, rinse it and sieve away the accumulated particulate/ contaminants that settle in to the bottom of the mix.  I keep it dry in between use but I live in AZ and moisture + heat = nastiness in many situations.

Something that I have which I have learned to love is my electromagnetic tumbler, which is basically a rotating motor with neodymium magnets on it in a housing.  The motor spins the magnets which in turn spin the metal tumbling media, etc etc.  It uses tiny bits of fine, music wire (cut in approx 1/8" lengths) and it is really good for finely detailed and small pieces.  It can be a pain in the butt picking out the tumbling media from holes, nooks and crannies (obviously depending on the design of the piece) and it takes a little longer but it can also save details that would otherwise be worn down or broken off in the bulk of the stainless steel shot and get in to clean the little crevices that larger media can not get into.

Brass wire brush and dish soap is another alternative for cleaning in many applications.  I have only recently started using pickle (but have been soldering silver for years); you can imagine how much easier my life is now...  lol  Sometimes it's the simple things...
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Taogem
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 08:41:47 pm »

I had to look up electromagnetic tumblers.

Very interesting !

Might just be something for me to think about in regards to the tiny bits of fine music wire. Can't see any reason why a person could not just add some in with the stainless steel shot.

You have all the cool toys Gina !
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