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[Beginners' Corner] Lost wax for a silver


Greetings- Anyone who read my first post might remember the
complete newbie who was doing a lost wax silver ring for her
significant other. Well, that turned into three tings and a
bracelet. I raided my local libraries for books, and actually
found quite a few, and dove in. Now I have two rings and a
bracelet that are in dire need of polishing. The big project
that started this whole thing doesn’t get casted for a couple of
days- finishing touches on the carving. The big problem seems to
be that everyone has a different idea of how to polish the
rings, even the books. Could someone please break down the
processes for someone just learning the words? I don’t expect
total agreement, or even any agreement, but a general direction
would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I’m being given
directions using street names, but no signs on the actual
streets. I have wonderful people who are willing to help in
terms of supplies and tools, unfortunately, they’re the ones who
end up arguing amongst themselves over methods. Any help would
be greatly appreciated.
My thanks- Ricci


Hello Ricci Here is what we do when we need to Hand polish Items
for Our customers. Some of the steps are not neccessary if you
are only doing a few pieces and have the time and the elbow
grease necc. to work a little harder. We polish about 300 pieces
per day in sterling and gold . 1) inspect the castings to
determine what processes are needed. 2) we use very fine
sandpaper mounted on a steel ( custom made by us) dowel that
fits our polishing motor… to remove any roughness or parting
lines from the interior of rings.Check the ring for roundness on
a ring arbor before the sanding operation. Then sand the inside
of the ring and put the the ring on the arbor and with a leather
hammer, adjust the size by tapping it up ( only if it is close
to the size). It is important to do it in this order since,
occasionaly, a parting line or a defect may be deeper than you
think and will require extra sanding before adjusting the size.
3) If there is a partying line on the outside of the item ,
or wide flat surface that needs to be perfectly smooth, we take
a 3M or a Norton Fiberwheel (available from a number of
suppliers) mounted on our polishing machine and remove the
parting lines and any associated roughness due to powder,casting
or defective molds. Many times we receive molds from our
customers that were not done as good as they should have been
done and often they sold the model that was used to create the
molds… sometimes the model they used had defects also. The
reason we use this particular wheel is that it gives such a
smooth finish that it is not necc to use files or any kind of
sandpaper and you can go directly to polishing if you are
pressed for time or don’t have the next 2 steps available. 3) We
now run our items in a vibratory machine with mild cutting round
cones for 12 hours ( usualy 300+ pieces in the machine) … 4)
then we put the items in a magnetic pin polisher… primarily to
brighten and polish the inside areas of pieces where a polishing
machine cannot reach. 5) we are now ready to " cut down" the
inside of the rings… by putting the appropriate cutting
compound on a Hard wood felt covered mandrel. this is used to
cut down the inside of the ring. 6) We then have a wheel on the
other side of the motor that has a 6" dia polishing wheel with
cutting compound on it and this is used to cut- down the outside
of the items. 7) all the items are now cleaned in an ultrasonic
cleaner to remove the cutting compound and dried in a heater
box ( a hair drier will work also). This allows you to see if
there are any scratches or blemishes that may need to be
retouched before the final finish. 8) We then go to a different
motor that is set up with a mandrel with rouge compound on one
side and a rouge wheel on the other side to do the final gloss
finish. 9) the items are now ready to be ultrasonically cleaned
and /or steam cleaned then dried using the drying box or a
hair drier. 10) At this point the items are hand wiped with a
clean polishing cloth while wearring white polishing gloves ( so
the items are not finger printed in any way) and put into Small
ziplock bags that can then be shipped to the customer. If any of
you should need this service as well as lost wax casting in
gold, silver bronze as well as pewter, please email us . Also
visit our website for all kinds of tips in our “workshop” area
on our frontpage.Hope this was helpful. Daniel Grandi


Hello Ricci, Work each surface smooth with medium emery paper.
You can wrap it around a stick for flat surfaces and wrap it
around something round for curved areas. This is after you file
everything as smooth as possible. The next step is to to use a
polishing compound called either bobbing compound or tripoli.
This will give you a semi- polished surface. It is best to do
this with a polishing machine that will draw the air away from
you. Use brushes first and then a buff. The buff is also called a
mop. Clean the piece very carefully and then do a final polish
with red rouge using a brush and then a buff. It is important
that these rouge tools not become contaminated with tripoli. It
is not really difficult and you will finish up
with something you can be proud of. Have fun. Tom Arnold