Thank you John for this post, you have peaked my curiosity on these Arbors.
There’s a good chance that deteriorating Tycro arbors have been the source of more conflict in PO labs than any other tool. (Except maybe Surforms…) I’ve witnessed ill-spirited accusations and subterfuge surrounding this ubiquitous tool, including people secretly hiding or marking cones to determine who is using them incorrectly. At the Academy meeting in March I stopped by the Fillauer booth and checked out their Coneiak Polishing Arbors. I was very skeptical about their effectiveness, because….well, they’re not Tycro. And I’ve always used a combination of Tycro buffing and flame polishing as the final step on any thermoformed device. Could it be possible that there was something else…perhaps even something better?
Because I have fascination with anything new, as well as great difficulty passing up an opportunity to buy more tools, I purchased the tapered red arbor. It sat unused above my router for six months. I just could not accept that the soft gel cone could polish an edge without completely deteriorating. A few weeks ago I finally decided to try the arbor, and found that it performed phenomenally. I finished polypropylene, co-poly, and polyethylene edges, as well as foam (STARband helmet lining) and laminated, thermo-set plastic. On the thermoformed plastics the arbor left a completely smooth, shiny surface. Better than my traditional Tycro/flame combo, and without the burn marks and melted edge common with flame finished edges. The arbor did not perform as well on foam (Starband helmet lining). It performed as well on the laminated material as the Tycro did, but on these types of edges I generally use 400 grit wet/dry sand paper for the final smoothing.
There was no observable marring or grooving in the material after the relatively short time I spent buffing. The Fillauer rep at the booth assured me that these arbors have extremely long life, and after my experience using them I’m inclined to believe him. These products are not inexpensive, but they are well worth the cost, in my opinion.