polishing discs silicone scare

Questions about tools and jigs you want to buy/build/modify.
Post Reply
User avatar
Ryan Mazzocco
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:01 pm
Location: Joplin, MO
Contact:

polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

I was working at one of our other stores a little while ago and their guitar tech was using these little discs to polish the frets. Looked similar to stewmacs fret polishing discs, but he got these from the guys that to all the brass/woodwind repairs. His frets looked really nice after using them so he gave me a handful of them to try out. I've used them on a few fret jobs and I am very pleased with the results. They do a really nice job and I never feel like I'm in danger of taking any material off the fret like other can do. I started running low and started to look into getting some for myself. I found them, but that's when I found out they are silicone carbide discs. I started to freak out a little bit because the words "silicone" is very scary for a guitar shop setting. I just need some clarification here...
I did search to see if these were safe and I did find this in an old thread:
Barry Daniels wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:13 pm
Just let it be known that the silicone carbide in the sandpaper is not the same chemical as silicone oil and it should not be the cause of fish eyes.
Now, this was a discussion about sandpaper, but I wanted to verify that this is true. Is the silicone carbide safe to use around guitars or do I need to abandon these immediately!

Thanks

Chris Reed
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:26 pm

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Chris Reed »

The abrasive will be silicon carbide (no e on the end).

Silicon is a mineral element, the main constituent of sand.

Silicone (with an e) is some compound of silicon with very different properties. More like rubber than sand.

Always check spelling, but as lots of us can't spell, a pretty good test is "hard or soft?". Abrasive = hard, bathroom sealant = soft.

User avatar
Dick Hutchings
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:39 am

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Dick Hutchings »

Chris is absolutely spot on. Silicone and silicon easily confused.
Dick Hutchings

Paul Breen
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:39 am

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Paul Breen »

Ryan, would you mind sharing the exact type of disc(s) you got and your source?

I have been polishing my frets for quite a while this way but do not like the current Stewmac offerings. When I first got on board with fret polishing this way, Stewmac sold a Dark Grey or Black wheel, which was used first and followed by a Pink wheel for the final polish. At some point they changed the offering to Black and Green wheels. They where more dense/ harder than the the original offerings. The softer wheels where easier to maintain a groove in that would help keep them from wandering off of the fret and risking a mark in the finger board. I can't source the Pink wheels anymore and am running low in my stash. I'm mostly interested in finding a substitute for the Pink or final polishing wheel. I tried some from a jewelry supply house that I didn't like either and hate throwing money at experimentation and items that end up, unused.

Marshall Dixon
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue May 21, 2019 8:58 pm
Location: SW Oregon

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Marshall Dixon »

What I've been doing after smoothing with a 300 grit rounded diamond file is going through the series of 2800-12000 micromesh, then finally polishing with tripoli on a little Dremmel wheel.

At what point do you start with the wheels? I'd love to save some time and effort.

As far as silocon sandpaper goes, it's the one most commonly treated with a stearate to keep the paper from clogging. Apparently they're fatty molecules that lead to fish-eye if present. It's the stearates that you want to avoid.

Paul Breen
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:39 am

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Paul Breen »

After leveling, I crown with a 300 grit diamond coated, concave crowning file. I follow that with a sanding stick, the spring loaded plastic variety, that has concave grooves filed into both sides. I use a 600 belt with it. Next I switch to the flex shaft Dremmel with a the first wheel. Not sure of what grit it is but it's not any more course than #600. This helps with rounding off the edge of the bevel filed into the fret ends. Last comes the polishing wheel. I do each step twice, once with the instrument neck to my right or left and then flipped the other way to dress the frets from both directions.

The wheels need to have grooves filed into them to follow and stay on the fret. I prep the finger board by taping off all exposed surfaces. Even then if you are not careful and the wheel slips off of the fret, it is possible to abrade a mark into the finger board. I make 3 passes to each fret with the flex shaft at full speed and pull the spinning wheel across the fret fairly quickly. You don't want to make the fret get too hot and there is more chance to slip off if you dawdle too much. Again the instrument has the neck one way, 3 passes and then flipped the other way, 3 passes. Once the wheels are employed, the job goes pretty fast.

User avatar
Peter Wilcox
Posts: 1240
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Peter Wilcox »

I sand with 1500, then polish with metal polish on an old cotton sock. The fret board has been masked since the frets were installed. I only make 3 or 4 necks a year and don't do refrets, so my slow method works for me. Nice to know there is a faster, less labor intensive option.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

User avatar
Ryan Mazzocco
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:01 pm
Location: Joplin, MO
Contact:

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Chris Reed wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2021 6:24 pm
The abrasive will be silicon carbide (no e on the end).

Silicon is a mineral element, the main constituent of sand.

Silicone (with an e) is some compound of silicon with very different properties. More like rubber than sand.

Always check spelling, but as lots of us can't spell, a pretty good test is "hard or soft?". Abrasive = hard, bathroom sealant = soft.
It's funny because on closer look, the page header bar said "silicone" but everything in the description about the product says "silicon." So it's not just me :lol: But I do feel a lot better now.
I did find a place on line to order them and I'd love to share it, but I don't want to violate any forum policies putting links to commercial websites. So, if it's okay I'll do it, but I'll wait for approval first.

User avatar
Barry Daniels
Posts: 2831
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:58 am
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Barry Daniels »

You can definitely post links to commercial websites that are related to this discussion. The rules have always allowed it.
MIMF Staff

Paul Breen
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:39 am

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Paul Breen »

Sourcing these wheels is not the problem, jewelry supply houses have them. Finding silicon impregnated silicone wheels that work well for fret work on the other hand... I am interested to find out which specific wheels have worked well for others that use this method of fret polishing.

User avatar
Ryan Mazzocco
Posts: 601
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:01 pm
Location: Joplin, MO
Contact:

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Here's what I found for these. Theses have have a knife edge which i hit on some sandpaper real quick to put a more square edge. but they also have discs that come with a sqare edge already which you could groove to match your fret crown.

https://www.esslinger.com/silicon-carbi ... age-of-10/

Paul Breen
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:39 am

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Paul Breen »

Thanks Ryan

Paul Breen
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:39 am

Re: polishing discs silicone scare

Post by Paul Breen »

I ended up ordering some Silicon impregnated Silicone discs from riogrande.com. I got impatient and didn't wait for your source. I bought both a pack of Pink and a pack of Black ones. Rio Grande does not indicate the grit, they use the terms; course, medium, fine, extra fine, ect. I think the Pink ones may be the same as what Stewmac used to offer, the ones I like that work well. I'll find out when they arrive.
Pink - extra fine
https://www.riogrande.com/product/eve-s ... e/33266110
Black - Medium
https://www.riogrande.com/product/eve-s ... m/33262110

Post Reply