JEWELRY POLISHING TOOLS TO TREAT YOURSELF TO THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

With the holidays upon us I wanted to take the opportunity to recap some of the awesome sanding and polishing products discussed during #tooltalktuesday on Instagram available from Rio Grande to add to your wishlist! You can drop the hint to a loved one in need of some stocking stuffers or treat yourself with some of that hard-earned holiday income!

SUNSHINE CLOTH BUFFS

Sunshine Cloth Buffs will help you achieve a mirror finish using your flexshaft! These inexpensive buffs (based off of the popular cloths) are impregnated with polishing compound so you use them as is! They give off very little residue and the residue they do leave can easily be cleaned in an ultrasonic, or if you don’t have one you can use some mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush. These are different than other buffs I’ve used on my flexshaft, you only want to apply a very light pressure and apply ¾ speed on your flexshaft pedal. 

These babies are the final step of polishing, so I recommend going through as many grits of sandpaper as you can first (I went from 240, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1200).  Sanding sticks are a great way to be able to sand flat surfaces and the outside curves of a ring. For the inside of a ring you can use the same sandpapers on a split mandrel. Once you’ve removed all scratches and achieved a nice sanded finish with 1200 grit (or more) you lightly use these Sunshine Buffs both on the inside and outside surfaces. They work awesome. You are going to want to purchase screw mandrels to mount them on (Item #: 333105 on Rio’s website) and if you were only to experiment with one size I recommend purchasing the ⅛” H x 1” (Item #: 330180) diameter as they will fit nicely inside a ring. 


MOUNTED SANPAPER CARTDRIDGE ROLLS

These mandrels are a huge time saver; they come in grits 240-1000 and they are color coded for easy identification! You can use them to quickly sand excess solder, remove file marks and create a unified surface on the exterior or interior of your pieces. They break down to about $1.69 per mandrel so they are cost effective as well! 

INSIDE RING SANDING BUFFS 4-GRIT ASSORTMENT KITS

These are an awesome new product from Rio Grande, available in two different 4-Grit Assortment Kits. The center of these buffs is made of Scotch-Brite™ and they have vertical flaps of sandpaper spaced evenly around the circumference. This design allows the entire ring to be sanded at the same time, meaning it’s harder to accidentally give your ring an uneven sanding. They work quickly, saving you time! These mandrels work out to about $2.50 each and the kits include three each of 80, 180, 220, and 320-grit (Item #: 330099) OR 600, 800, 1,200 and 1,500-grit (Item #: 330100) - giving you some variety to experiment with. The 1,200 grit will produce a nice satin finish if you're into that. 

SQUARE + ROUND HOLDERS FOR SANDING PAPER OR POLISHING CLOTH

These are essential tools that any jeweler could use, you simply can’t go wrong gifting these! The Square Holder for Sanding Paper or Polishing Cloth (Item #: 337461) has a hinge that you open to quickly insert sandpaper into and it becomes the perfect sanding stick! The Round Holder for Sanding Paper or Polishing Cloth (Item #: 337460) does the exact same thing but is round so it’s perfect if you want to sand the inside of a ring or a bangle on the solder seam. The Square and Round Holder are a great investment because they are inexpensive ($15.75 each), and are versatile with their capacity to hold any grit sandpaper! I’d recommend these especially for jewelers who haven’t been able to invest in a ton of files. 

LUXOR® BY MERARD POLISHING KIT

If you have a polishing machine I highly recommend this kit (Item #: 331152)! It includes four silica free, easy-to-clean-off polishing compounds and two cotton buffs (4”) because Merard specially designed their polishing compounds to correspond with specific buffs to give you the quickest, most efficient polish with as little compound usage as possible! 

Here’s what each of the compounds can do:

  • The pink Luxor (6.5 micron) it is incredible at removing scratches and firescale. 
  • The white Luxor (0.3 micron) is less aggressive, but another pre-polish step. 
  • The other compounds are for your final polish - the yellow Luxor is specially formulated to bring a mirror finish onto yellow metals (gold/brass/copper) and the orange Luxor is formulated to bring a mirror finish onto white metals (stainless steel/titanium/platinum/white gold/silver).

These are also useful if you are using a flexshaft. The compounds are available individually and can be used with a Balloon Cloth Buffing Wheel (Item #: 330711) on a screw mandrel (Item #: 333105). 

3M 3/4"-DIAMETER RADIAL BRISTLE DISC KIT

Whenever someone asks me what they should use to polish their work (if they don’t have a polishing machine) I always recommend 3M Radial Discs. You can use them for heavy cleaning, removing firescale and light oxide, pre-polishing, semi-finishing, blending, texturing and polishing. The discs are imbedded with abrasive so they don’t create a mess and they are very long lasting, so worth the investment (Item #: 332597).

If you are looking for an extra something…

FOREDOM® A-RB RETRACTABLE BENCH BRUSH

This item admittedly had nothing to do with polishing and sanding but at $4.79 it’s the perfect add-on item for your next order or a small gift for a friend! This little brush has two sides you can make fluffy or tight. You can use for quick cleanup while sawing, piercing, and drilling holes. You can use it to brush off files, your bench pin or your GRS Benchmate! I find it particularly useful while I’m flush setting to brush away the little slivers of silver produced by my setting bur (Item #: 117059).

Huge thank you to @riogrande for sponsoring this blogpost! Be sure to follow them on Instagram. 

Follow @metalsmithsociety for daily jewelry making tips and techniques and be sure to check out #tooltalktuesday every week, where we discuss jewelry tools. 

2 comments


  • Hey Corkie,

    I had a question regarding when we are using the the different grits of sand paper. I had read online when I was trying to get a mirror finish that like you said start with lowest number and go one way. Rinse piece then go the opposite way with the next grit and continue this pattern til finished. Is this the case? It said if you mess up and go same way on accident with the next grit you have to start over. It so time consuming I do it by hand. And doesn’t always come out as mirror finish as I’d like. Thanks for your help!

    Laura Holman on

  • Very informative..unfortunately I cannot procure any of the above but will try to improvise or wait till my next trip..

    Faryda on

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