Professional Jeweler Archive: Jewelry Prefinishing and Finishing Update

June 2003

Professional Bench/Tool Tips


Jewelry Prefinishing & Finishing Update

We review the Foredom® BL-1A Bench Lathe Kit and Foredom® and 3M® Wheels and Accessories


Prefinishing: The use of abrasives to remove a layer of metal, coarse tool marks and other imperfections.

Finishing/Buffing: The use of coarse compounds in combination with wheels to cut down a surface.

Finishing/Polishing: The use of fine compounds in combination with wheels to add color and luster in the final stage of finishing.

Understanding and using updated materials will help you accomplish your prefinishing and finishing requirements professionally and efficiently. Here’s a brief overview of some new and established products:

The Foredom® Bench Lathe Kit includes two tapered spindles (attached to the 5/16-in. motor shaft on both sides), a wheel mandrel (B) and a collet holder with two collets (A). The motor is a workhorse and performs well for prefinishing and finishing. It features a dial-controlled variable speed from 1,800 to 7,000 RPM. The high torque 1/6 horsepower motor is well-suited for use with brushes, buffs and a variety of abrasive wheels ranging from 17/8 to 4 inches in diameter.

The tapered spindles can be removed easily, and the wheel mandrel is available for use with abrasive wheels, wire brushes and miscellaneous accessories that have 1/4 -in. holes. The permanently lubricated sealed-ball-bearing and dust-proof motor housing provides maintenance-free operation. The base is made of heavy-duty cast iron with four mounting holes.

The unit is less than 6 inches high and 13 inches wide with the tapered mandrels installed. Its compact size makes it well-suited for mounting on your workbench or at a side bench within your workstation.


Featured from Foredom’s extensive selection of accessories is an assortment of cotton, muslin, felt, chamois and treated buffs. Foredom also supplies tripoli and red rouge. A new addition to the line: blue and white platinum polishing compounds. Also available: a wide selection of deburring, grinding and finishing wheels.


3M abrasive products for jewelers include:

  • Mounted on the left of the motor and clustered below are 3-in. Radial Bristle Discs ideal for cleaning, removing fire-scale, semifinishing, blending, texturing and surface reduction. They eliminate the need for wheels that require messy compounds.
  • Flex Diamond Bands, shown in several grits on expandable rubber-head mandrels, are good for inside ring cleanup, shaping and prefinishing. The 3/32-in. mandrel mounts in Foredom’s Collet Holder and can be installed on the motor shaft.
  • Trizact Bands feature a pyramid-shaped aluminum oxide abrasive surface that cuts metal smoothly, reducing buffing and finishing time.
  • Featured in the right corner of the photograph are Diamond Discs similar to the Flex Diamond Bands. They’re used for precision prefinishing of flat-edged surfaces.
  • Shown mounted on the right of the motor is a 3-in. XK Metalworking Wheel. These wheels are harder and cut faster for general surface flat reduction, sprue and mold line removal.

Foredom and 3M prefinishing and finishing products suit most jewelry making applications. These products used in tandem with the Foredom Bench Lathe make performing pre-finishing and finishing tasks for the bench jeweler easier and quicker while improving quality and reducing waste.


Among the optional equipment Foredom provides for the Bench Lathe Kit are small dust collection hoods with standard-size dust collection hose connectors on the rear. These compact units are heavy-duty and have rubber pads on the bottom. They can be placed at any location at the jeweler’s work or wax bench. The Handler Super 62 II compact dual dust collector system attaches to the back of the Foredom hoods.


This bench jeweler has several rounded wide 14k yellow gold bands to prefinish. Here he uses a 3M® Radial Bristle Disc. Before this step, he used the 3M® XK Wheel to remove the sprue. The Foredom Lathe is mounted on a small board so it can be moved from one bench to other shop locations for various needs.


This installment of Tool Tips was sponsored by Foredom, Bethel, CT, and 3M. For information on Foredom tools, equipment and accessories or a list of distributors, contact Michael Zagielski at (203) 792-8622 or sales@foredom.com. For information on 3M or a list of distributors, contact Rich Bohr at (800) 922-6137 or rabohr@mmm.com.

By Mark B. Mann

Photographs by Mark B. Mann
©2003 Visual Communications

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications