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How to Use Flex Shaft Jewelry-Making Tools

Learn how to use flex shaft jewelry tools from jewelry designer Courtney Gray in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Courtney Gray: Welcome to Creative Side Jewelry Academy of Austin, online at creativeside.org. I'm Courtney Gray. I started my school here, Creative Side Jewelry Academy, four years ago. I'm here in Austin, and I'm going to tell you about jewelry making today.

I'm going to show you guys how to use your flex shaft tools today. Once you get into jewelry making, it's a very important tool. We find it really really essential for finishing out jewelry, drilling holes, all sorts of things that you can use this tool for. It is a foot-operated piece of equipment. You have a motor, you have a hand piece and then you have a foot pedal that actually controls that motor. A lot of flex shafts will go in a forward or reverse depending in what you are trying to do. A lot of stone setters or gem setters find that very helpful.

What I am going to show you is how to load your burs and bits into the flex shaft. It comes with a toggle just like you would use with a drill. It has a toggle key to open up that chuck inside. And you want to place your bit in there accordingly. So depending on the thickness of the mandrill of your tool, you'll need to open that up.

I'm going to show you how to use a cut-off wheel. This is a really powerful tool, so I'm going to put on my safety glasses. So what I'm going to show you is if you have some rough spots on a piece of jewelry, whether it is cast or fabricated, this is an excellent tool to use to rough down some of these things. Flue them out, removing heavy scratches. Always start with your heaviest tool and then work your way to your finer tools. You can work down to sandpaper at this point or whatever you choose. So you can work your way down, depending on whether you have scratches on the top, you can do the top. As you see here, I always have my pointer finger propped on my bench pad while I'm holding the flex shaft tool.

So there's a ton of tools. If you start looking in catalogues or online. There are silicon wheels, this is an excellent tool, a very professional tool. There are pink ones here. If you are polishing around a gemstone, you don't want to mar that gemstone. I have a little scroll on this piece of jewelry, and I'm going to take a tiny little ball bur and very slowly, see how that bur wants to jump out of there. You have to really show it to stay where you need it.

So tons of different shapes out there. There is a inverted cone burs, there's burs for cutting wax, there's a particular bur you want to get for cutting different types of wax.

Steel brush, I'll show you how to use that. There's kind of an antique look on your metal. This is a very nice tool. Look what it does. I'm not really finished out on this piece. But you see the effect it has on the metal.

A lot of jewelers find after time and after you getting a little more involved with jewelry making that you want to have a nice flex shaft that you can control, the speed of. It becomes really important to have that high polish professional look on your jewelry.

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