BENCH TIP FROM ALAN REVERE
Here is the greatest deal for bench jewelers. Go out and get a sapphire nail file off the rack in the cosmetics section of your neighborhood supermarket. For around a dollar, these incredibly handy little files can really save the day—and shorten long nights at the bench.
With a Mohs hardness of 9, these ultra-thin and flat files cut all materials (except the hardest gems), and they can be easily modified. by grinding to a desired shape. Do you need a small, thin file to get into a tight slot, or to clean up a casting, or to true up a gallery? Just start with a sapphire nail file and, if it is too big, trim it down to meet your needs. You can easily reshape it on a regular grinding wheel, so long as you keep it wet and cool.
Or maybe you just cut a ring to size it down, but now the ends don’t meet flush. No problem; just slip a nail file into the seam. After a few
pulls and pushes, the two faces are flat and ready to be soldered.
Sapphire files also leave a very interesting, yet delicate, texture: Just rub the flat side of the file against a surface in circular patterns. When you think about it, that dollar may be one of the best investments you ever made—and, on top of everything, you can even use the file on your nails!