Tips for Choosing the Right Buffing or Polishing Wheel
Finding the ideal polishing/buffing wheel can be challenging. There are many options and variables to consider, such as what material you’re polishing. While some jewelry pieces will require a courser buffing wheel and compound, others will need something as soft as cotton flannel. Before you purchase the tools for your polishing needs, understand several essential tips for choosing the right buffing or polishing wheel.
Types of Buffing Wheels
The first step is the most important because the polishing wheel you choose is based on the material you’re buffing. Some wheels are coarse and stitched while others are soft. Moreover, some are stiffer than others—the less stiff the wheel, the less heat and pressure produced. The most commonly used buffing wheels are a sisal buffing wheel and conventional buffing wheels. The more pressure you can apply, the more you can get the jewelry polish to work.
Sisal Buffing Wheels
A sisal buffing wheel is quite abrasive because of its strong fibers. It cuts and buffs metal, most often stainless steel, iron, gold, and platinum. Due to its roughness, this type of wheel often comes in handy when polishing hard metals since it could scratch softer material or stones in the setting.
Conventional Buffing Wheels
Unlike a sisal buffing wheel, a conventional buffing wheel is not abrasive and comes in various forms, including spiral sewn muslin and loose cotton muslin. These are going to be the most highly used within the jewelry industry. Many gemstone cutters will also use the buffing wheels to polish gemstones like turquoise, Verasite, and Shattuckite. The buffing wheels will need to be charged with something like rouge or Tripoli in order to polish jewelry. Cutting Edge Supply suggests using Zam on gemstones.
Sewn buffing wheels will provide more tension and loose cotton buffing wheels will provide a softer, and higher finish.
Muslin Buffing Wheel
Since a muslin buffing wheel is soft, it’s used when working with fragile pieces and it is highly utilized in the jewelry industry to polish jewelry with stones in them. Each spiral on it will have a set amount of space between each spiral, and as the stitches get tighter, you may apply more pressure.
Loose Cotton Muslin Buffing Wheel
These buffing wheels have a no spiral sowing and come in handy when you’re ready to put the final touches on a piece. Rather than have spirals stitched on like a muslin buffing wheel, it’s only sewn around the arbor hole and has a softer feel. For this reason, it’s perfect for light work that requires a gentle touch.
Felt Polishing Discs
Felt polishing discs come in handy when you have flat surfaces, large surfaces, or have a lot of scratches to work out. Felt polishing discs tend to be hard which allow you to use them in a variety of different ways. These will also work very well on stone, glass, ceramics, and acrylics. Felt holds polishing compound very well. You can even charge them with Cerium Oxide for large glass sculptures.
As you select a buffing wheel and polishing disk to apply the final touches to your work, remember the tips for choosing the right buffing or polishing wheel to ensure you select the right gemstone polishing wheel for the job! Explore the many options offered by Cutting Edge Supply when you begin shopping for the essentials for your buffing and polishing needs.