Keep your hands from getting sore with these re-fillable and ergonomic jewelry sanding sticks:
There are better options than just the traditional jewelry sanding sticks with emery paper glued onto a board.
Read on to learn why I like sanding belt sticks and re-fillable flat polishing sticks instead …
Belt Sanding Sticks – Gesswein
Flat Polishing Stick – Gesswein
Sanding jewelry components manually can be hard on your hands …
It’s not so bad for one quick piece, but if you have arthritic hands or you’re making lots of jewelry components, you know exactly what I mean.
The most common hand tool to help ease the stress on your hands while sanding is an emery sanding stick. In most cases, these are lengths of wood with various grits of emery paper glued onto the surface. They’re similar to an emery board that you would use to file your fingernails – once you use up the grit, you throw it away. These traditional sanding sticks can be rather clunky, and the wood is generally a soft pine which can easily become misshapen causing inconsistent sanding. The initial cost for these hand tools is low, especially if you make them yourself, but over time, you must keep replacing them.
Instead of using a disposable sanding stick, you can save money long term by using these re-fillable options:
1) The first is called a flat polishing stick or finishing stick. Essentially this is a hand tool that allows you to clamp a strip of emery paper (or whatever other type of abrasive material you wish) in place. You can use the tool for sanding just like the traditional sanding sticks. You can save precious production time and buy multiple tools to hold various grits or save the funds and change out the strip as you need various grits.
The flat 5” x 1” surface is great for sanding edges, flat surfaces and convex curves. And the solvent-resistant plastic is nice and durable, so you don’t have to worry about imparting ruts in your flat surfaces.
2) Belt sanding sticks are fabulous for detailed sanding. There are often small spaces where you want to apply targeted pressure with the emery paper and these contoured tools are very helpful. They come in varied widths, so you can use the ¼” width for small spaces or wider versions to cover larger areas.
The angled surface really allows you to apply the pressure you need in targeted areas and saves you from painful blisters on your fingertips from the friction of the emery paper rubbing if you sand by hand. They are also very helpful for sanding small components, allowing more room for you to hold the piece.
The only downside for these belt sanding sticks is that you can’t use just any strip of emery paper. You must use the belts that are made specifically for these tools. However, you can rotate the belt around the tool so you can effectively utilize all the grit before needing to replace the belt.
Traditional Sanding Sticks (glued onto wood)
- Inexpensive to buy or make
- Easy on your hands
- Clunky and easily misshapen
- Limited to one grit per tool
- Glue dries and the emery peels away
Polishing Stick – Flat (refillable)
- Easy on your hands
- Great for de-burring edges and sanding flat or convex areas
- Quickly mount your own strip of emery paper (or other abrasive materials)
- Made of durable solvent-resistant plastic
- 5” x 1” sanding surface on both sides
- Tapers to 1/16” for reaching in narrow crevices.
costs more up front (but saves $ in the long run)
No angled surfaces
Belt Sanding Sticks (refillable)
- contoured shape offers better access for small or hard to reach areas
- Great for sanding wire components
- Color coded by grit for easy recognition on your bench
- Comes in various widths
- Ergonomic shape is easy on your hands
- Belt can be rotated on the tool to efficiently use all of the abrasive
- requires corresponding replacement belts (not standard emery paper)
- Slightly more expensive
Where to purchase…
Belt Sanding Sticks and Flat Polishing Sticks can both be found at Gesswein, though you may find comparable tools at other suppliers.