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Author Topic: Old time wood spool polishing machine  (Read 899 times)

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Old time wood spool polishing machine
« on: June 02, 2015, 08:36:32 AM »

Old time wood spool polishing machine

Postby mauibuck » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:08 pm
Here is a classics old wood opal polisher. Good for a museum. Notice the decreasing radius on the spools? That's for doing different sizes of cabochons. Some of these were used in the outback of Australia I believe. (But I can't find where I read that.) Need a stone wheel to get the stone roughed out before going to this machine as I understand. This one is for sale on eBay March 2008 and this is the ONLY photo of a wood spool polisher on the internet.
This must have been used relatively recently because that looks like diamond paste in the syringes. In olden days, say 100 years ago, they would have been using all kids of fine sand, silica and other types of abrasive material. They probably started with course on one end and worked to final polish on the other. The photo is of the back of the machine. The operator would be on the other side.

Here is the offer on eBay as of March 2008 ... 0217049145

Anybody else have more or better info on this or other old time polishing devices?

Re: Old time wood spool polishing machine

Postby mike4bears » Sat Mar 22, 2008 3:02 am
mauibuck they still make them. any hard wood will work. they are suppose to be real good for opals. and they are easy to make. ... read=21936

Re: Old time wood spool polishing machine

Postby mauibuck » Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:14 am
Yep, you're right Mike, still some homemade wood polishers around. Here are some links

One site says pine or redwood for spools and the other says a variety of woods per an article in the July 2004 Lapidary Journal.

Looks like the wood tradition continues on.


Re: Old time wood spool polishing machine

Postby opalfireinfo » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:25 am
I use toothpicks, matchsticks and pieces of bamboo chopstick in my foredom for polishing small tricky spots in opal carvings, the soft wood charges up really well. But larger spindles like those in the pic, I've seen in maple and other hardwoods.
ps, I see Lopacki's link there, anyone ever deal with him?

Re: Old time wood spool polishing machine

Postby Iceopals » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:57 am
I have a buddy that has worked quite a bit with Lopacki, even learning some techniques from him. I've learned quite a bit second hand this way. And I understand that Daniel is especially helpful and more than willing to help others in any way he can. His website is helpful as well.
I've never had a great deal of luck charging soft (or hard) woods for polishing. I've soaked pieces, tried them dry, tried them while standing on my head.......

Re: Old time wood spool polishing machine

Postby idahoopaljimab » Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:49 am
Anyone want to buy one,just like the one in the pix,with 2 sets of syringes (one opened and used a very small amount of a few pastes) of diamond paste,5 different grits I think,up to 50,000? and charger(I believe the syringes cost me $35ish per set) . I have had it forever,never used it but it dose work and it is in great shape.The spool looks real clean to me,no idea what kind of wood it is. I will sell it for the correct price,rareness will be a factor just like anything and everything. Everything will be included not interested in selling the machine only.Contact me if interested, nice small unit,no water required...... I only do money orders,no online pay things or credit cards and ship only UPS to the USA if that matters to anyone. Anyone outside the USA is 100% responsible for shipping arrangements,including pick-up from my location in Idaho.Thanx!! idahopaljimab


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