by Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

I'm in love with the new tool in my studio--and yes--my other tools are jealous.

Jooltool came into my life a short time ago and it was not love at first sight. Hard to believe, but it's true. It took me some time to warm up to the little fella. He is adorable, red, compact and reminiscent of my favorite Star Wars character, but he is also complex and capable of so much. I was reluctant to believe we could have enough in common to sustain a relationship, so admittedly I hesitated. As we started down the path of getting to know each other, it soon became clear that we do have a lot in common and there is much that we can do together.

If you happened to attend one of my demos at the Bead and Button® Show, you surely saw the love I have for this tool as well as had a first-hand look at some of what he can do. As a synopsis for those not at Bead and Button or for those who were busy scooping up beads, for our demonstration, Jooltool and I took a piece of metal clay, fresh from the kiln, to a high polish, all in a matter of minutes.

The metal clay design was first buffed with the cluster brush, which works great for getting into crevices and creating a nice satin sheen on the metal.

Felt disc and Rubber backing
To increase the shine, I followed the cluster brush with a series of Trizact wheels, each mounted to their own backpad. I continued polishing, working through the diamond series of polishing wheels which were each placed on a rubber backing which was then mounted to a back pad. The rubber backing removes chatter as well as provides a nice surface to work against.

Following the diamond polishing wheels, the metal was brought to a high polish using the felt disc wheel charged with polishing compound.

It was glorious and near effortless. And the only thing that makes this process take any time at all is the changing of the wheels. Each wheel easily spins onto the mandrel of the Jooltool and easily spins off, but, I'm not Samantha from Bewitched so you do need to actually do this work to progress along the levels of polishing.

And not to be overlooked--all of the wheels are made with Ninja See-Thru™ technology. The wheels are placed onto the shaft of the Jooltool, facedown. You hold the piece you're polishing underneath the wheel, and while the wheel spins and does its thing--you can witness the progress. No more having to pull the piece out from a buffing wheel to check progress every few seconds; now all you have to do is look for the finish the wheel should reach. To help with this, you could rub marker over the surface of the item being sharpened, sanded, buffed or polished then work until the marker is completely gone. This will ensure you have removed enough and are ready to move on. Turn the Jooltool motor off, unscrew the wheel, add on the next level of abrasive and turn the motor back on.
Ninja See-Thru technology

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the need for wearing safety glasses, tying back long hair, rolling up long sleeves as well as connecting a vacuum to the Jooltool vent. The Jooltool hood and wheels are designed to work together in evacuating particles and debris that are created while you polish, but it is best to attach a collection system so you are not just throwing dust all over the place. Wearing a mask is also a great idea, as it will help protect your lungs. Vetrap™ Bandaging tape will help protect the ends of your fingers (or your manicure).

Flexade and handpiece
In addition to all the new love-of-my-life can do, a flexade and handpiece can be connected to the Jooltool shaft, expanding this tool's abilities even further. The flexade takes full advantage of the variable speed motor and provides yet another option for drilling, sanding and polishing on a smaller scale; the handpiece gives you the freedom of holding a pen-like tool versus a larger hand drill. Connect the flexshaft following manufacturer's instructions, connect the handpiece to the flexshaft, insert the appropriate mandrel for the job at hand (drilling, sanding or polishing) and away you go.

While hosting the demo, it was nice to meet like-minded people who have also hesitated in forming a bond with their nifty studio mate. I'd like to believe that since seeing me and my partner in action, you went home, embraced your Jooltool and are now happily creating beautiful art together. For those still on the fence, or if you want to see more of what this tool can do, be sure to check out all of the videos available in the Jooltool Resources--they cover polishing stone, glass and metal jewelry as well as how to mount polishing discs. The chart of polishing discs helps to know which wheels work for which materials--this one is hung in my studio! The video that comes with the tool is also extremely helpful and opens up even more ways this tool can help save you time and money.

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