5 Ways to Use a JoolTool in the Jewelry Studio
JoolTool is my go-to for so many tasks. From burnishing fired metal clay to polishing glass, this baby really can handle it all. It’s all about the motor, the design, the different abrasives, and the unique design of the backpad. It doesn’t hurt the cute little red guy is compact and easy to haul around from worktable to worktable. Since my studio is not quite all in one place this feature helps, a lot!
ABOVE: Top: polishing abrasives; JoolTool in use like a traditional buffing wheel; polishing abrasives. Bottom: Metal clay rings polished using a JoolTool
From the Beginning
Anie Jolie is the inventor of this ingenious, motorized tool. Raised in her father’s jewelry studio and brought up alongside some of the most talented jewelers, Anie is a maker and talented jeweler herself! JoolTool (affiliate link) came about when Anie saw, from many vantage points, the benefit of having one tool that could do many things. She also understood that to make that one tool do so much, it just needed the right accessories. She partnered with 3M to create those “just right accessories” and the JoolTool dynasty was born!
In the first videos I saw of Anie, she was polishing metal tools – chisels, knives, etc. It was clear she was passionate about the JoolTool and she knew what she was talking about when it came to polishing and resharpening blades. At the time, I thought jewelry was a secondary market for her and JoolTool. Ha! What little I knew then and what fun I’ve had spending time with Anie and working with the JoolTool, since.
JoolTool in the Jewelry Studio
The JoolTool really can polish and grind so many different materials. The different abrasives and compounds take a piece from drab to fab with very little effort and time. The genius starts with the backpad – a wheel designed so you can see through it when it spins. It also has fins which helps air flow between the openings, keeping the piece cool while you work on it. The backpad is paired with a cushion—either bumpon, soft flex, or tough flex. The cushions help reduce chatter when working and give you greater control as you work.
Cushions and abrasives are stuck to the backpad with a very strong adhesive. When needed, you can remove a well-worn abrasive and replace with a new one, without removing the cushion from the backpad.
All wheels and backpads spin onto the spindle of the JoolTool easily and securely—and they stay put until you spin them off in the opposite direction. You can add a vacuum system to evacuate dust and debris—this is highly recommended! I don’t have a system in place just yet but I do use a fan that vents to an outside window.
When polishing a piece, the goal is to work from the coarsest grit to the finest so you end with a smooth, polished surface, no matter the material. JoolTool abrasives come in a variety of materials that are designed to work together, from honing abrasives to ceramic to diamond, there is an abrasive for all your needs.
Time to Get to Work!
When I set up the JoolTool to work on a piece, I always find myself going back through my notes to remember exactly which discs I need for the task at hand. I wanted to share my notes here so we all have the reference.
Metal Clay Polishing
I use the cluster brush for burnishing the surface of metal clay, post firing. I then follow up with the radial polishing brush, felt disc, and a buffing wheel.
For polishing metal surfaces to a high shine:
- Purple ceramic abrasive – for grinding metal, paired with the cushion pad or newer, tough-flex cushion pad
- ScotchBrite EXL – the scratch eraser
- Radial polishing brush (1 micron, green) –
- Felt disc
- Buffing wheel
For grinding and polishing hard and soft stones; use with water:
- Cushion pads
- Flex diamond abrasive, coarse (does not require a cushion pad)
- Microfinishing diamond abrasive:
– 74 micron grade, coarse
– 45 micron grade, medium
– 30 micron grade, fine
– 20 micron grade, very fine
- Premium diamond abrasive
– polishing step 1, 3000 grit
– polishing step 2, 8000 grit
– polishing step 3, 50000 grit
- Cerium oxide abrasive, .25 micron grade, final polishing step
Glass, Enamel, Some Soft Stones & Ceramic
Remove rough edges and polish to a shine; use with water:
- Cushion pads
- Flex Diamond abrasive, 74 micron grade, coarse – to cut through the rough stuff you want to remove (does not require a cushion pad)
- Diamond abrasive, 45 micron grade, medium – to begin to smooth the surface
- Diamond abrasive, 20 micron grade, very fine – to refine the surface further
- Felt disc with polishing compound
- Cerium oxide abrasive, 100,000 grit
Polymer & Resin
I used to spend hours sanding and polishing polymer pieces. Though I never looked forward to the strain this work placed on my hands, I wanted that high polish finish. I was so glad that Anie heard the cry of the many and figured out which wheels did the work for us.
- Cushion pads*
- Trizact wheel, 5 micron
- Microfinishing film abrasive 9 micron
- Felt wheel (no polishing compound)
- Finishing buff
*Use soft-flex cushion pads when polishing polymer and resin with a round surface
There are more abrasives and more ways you can use the JoolTool. Stay tuned for more on this little guy, including how to attach a flex shaft, vacuum system, tool rest, and more!
Group Editorial Director, Jewelry & Beading, and Editor, Beadwork magazine