Workshop: Extraction for Jewellery Polishers

posted in: Workshop 4

For many years I have got by in my workshop without a proper, large scale polisher. Oh, sure, I have a little barrel one (which is just brilliant) but not the full on, rotary kind. If things have needed a good, glossy polish I have either made do with a tiny polishing mop, mounted onto my pendant motor, or borrowed a friends larger polishing machine.

Well, no more! Back in the spring I found a local, third-hand polishing motor on eBay for a song and have finally had it re-wired, got it installed and ready to go. Of course, you don’t have to do much polishing to realise the value of extraction, while opening the windows is a fine start it is by no means enough when you’re using something that kicks out as much dust as a large polishing motor. Getting covered in polishing rouge is annoying but the real danger is combustible dust hanging around the workshop and getting stuck in your lungs.

Now, I’ll admit that I know very little about woodwork/carpentry and while I’ve seen some fine home-made extraction systems constructed entirely from cardboard boxes and gaffer tape, I really did want to get something a little more official – that I didn’t have to build. Most jewellery supply companies only stock ridiculously expensive, all in one extraction solutions which I’m sure are brilliant – but which would be like a sledgehammer to a walnut in my little workshop.

Moleroda Jewellery Polishing

Thankfully, there’s eBay. I found a nice, friendly little outfit in Salisbury, called Moleroda who have an eBay store here and a comprehensive website here. They specialise in polishing stuff and do a nifty little fold-up plastic polishing hood that can be cut to fit your machine, and a vacuum to use as an extractor, all in one listing. Having looked about a fair bit it’s easily the most cost-effective solution that I’ve come across and it solved all of my problems in one go.

So I bought one of these.

The dust hood does a surprisingly credible Transformer impression:

Plastic Jewellery Polishing Hood

in it’s flat pack state but it folds up very quickly (and simply) and is held together by yellow electrical tape, which is included in the parcel:

Plastic Jewellery Polishing Hood, folding

Plastic Jewellery Polishing Hood, fitting

I did have to cut the triangular, side ‘wing’ sections off (mainly to avoid them extending over the edge of my very skinny polishing table) but the sturdy, corrugated plastic didn’t seem to mind this and holds together very well without them. I’ve secured the whole thing down with a few tiny panel pins and it is, so far, very stable.

The dust hood has a pre-cut hole in the centre of the back, for inserting the hose of a vacuum but, as you can see, I don’t really have an abundance of space to work with behind my polisher – so I’ve opted to fit the extractor on the side – cutting a new hole in the plastic (again, not too tricky a maneuver):

Plastic Jewellery Polishing Hood - side fitting

and have used the angled head (that comes with the vacuum) to get the whole thing positioned correctly. That seems to have worked a treat and, now that the hoses are all connected up, I have a fully functional dust catching and extracting system to keep my lungs safe and my workshop tidy.

Plastic Jewellery Polishing Hood with extractor fitted

Plastic Jewellery Polishing Hood and extractor, fitted

Caddy Spoon

I make some long handled tea spoons that have been part of my stand for a while now and, at a recent show, I took a commission for a caddy spoon version.

A Caddy Spoon is not an item that I’ve made before but is somehing that I’ve wanted to try for a while. I had a little drawing of the customer’s tea caddy and a fair idea of what would suit – knowing that they already liked my tea spoons. So I set about cutting the bowl of the spoon and raising it up then trimming it to back to a shape that I liked.

I had a few issues with the size of the handle – my long handled tea spoons have 4mm round handles but that just looked way too light weight once it was cut to the right length for this short handled caddy spoon. So I took the dimensions up to around 5mm round and think that it balances much better now. It certainly feels nicer in your hand and I’m a lot happier with the design knowing that I changed the weight of the handle.

Here’s a few images of the work in progress …

and the finished spoon, ready to go for hallmarking:

Lockets and hinges [oh, my]

Master of Hinges – work by Bronwen Tyler Jones

When I was at art college, doing my foundation degree, I had a thing for hinges.

This odd little crush is reasserting itself somewhat now that there’s no one else around in the studio to tell me to get over it and make some proper jewellery. And so, after recieving a book on the subject for Christmas (an out of print book I might add – somehow scavenged from the ‘net in mysterious circumstances by Mr W) I  have set out to learn to make them properly.

It’s complex, but I’m enjoying the challenge of actually crafting a lot of small elements and fitting them into a whole …

Et Voila – hinge!

… there’s an extra set of knuckles in here that I didn’t remember to photograph. Bacially, the outer tube holds the rotating hinge sections in and prevents them opening full. It’s fiddly, but very neat once it’s all done.