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Best way to acheive a satin finish


#1

Hi Everyone,

I have tried, unsuccesfully, to acheive a satin finish on my pieces.
I work mostly in sterling silver and usually create a a high polish
by either buffing with tripoli then red rouge or using steel shot in
my rotary tumbler. I am interested in creating some of my pieces
with a satin finish and have tried different types of buffs on both
my flexshaft and polishing cabinet to try and create that look…the
result is always uneven… I would greatly appreciate any tips you
can offer. Thanks so much!

Terri Lindelow
www.terrilindelow.com


#2

I use the plastic media in my rotary tumbler–you can find it at
many jewelry suppliers. It’s pyramid shaped, usually a teal/blue
color. Throw that in there, with some soap and water, wait a few
hours and you have a nice satin finish. It’s a bit of a brighter
satin finish, but it’s even.

Other than that, I use my flex shaft with mini satin finish
wheels–basically scotch brite on a mandrel for your flex shaft.
They come in red, brown, and grey…maybe a few other colors.

Good luck!
http://www.catherinechandler.com


#3

I would recommend the 3M finishing papers that you can find in the
Rio Grande catalog. Specifically they are called “3M Micron-Graded
Abrasive Finishing Sheets”.

The pricing is very reasonable, and it allows you to go grade by
grade to a smoother satiny finish. By the time you get to the
extremely fine papers, the metal gets a soft glow which I find very
appealing.

The secret to getting a nice satin finish with these papers is to
rub in a different direction for each grade of paper. That way it is
a lot easier to tell if you’ve missed any spots.

To finish the piece, you might try going the wax route --I would
recommend Butcher’s wax, or you could try polishing with fabulustre/
white diamond. The best thing is to try lots of things and see what
works best for you.

I don’t have any association with the companies, I’m just a
satisfied customer.

Jessi


#4

The long square sanding sponges that are made for fingernails are
great. Use the fine grit and just buff it. It makes a beautiful satin
finish.


#5

A satin finish can be made with 320 emery paper or a fiberglass
polishing brush rather than the buffing pad. If it’s uneven, then,
keep at it.

Kim


#6
I am interested in creating some of my pieces with a satin finish
and have tried different types of buffs on both my flexshaft and
polishing cabinet to try and create that look...the result is always
uneven... 

I will take a guess that you trying to substitute satin finish for
polish. This is a mistake. Polish the work as always ( or better! ),
and than apply satin finish.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7
I have tried, unsuccesfully, to acheive a satin finish on my
pieces. 

Not sure just how “satin” looking you want it, but I have generally
treated pieces I didn’t want with a “high” shine, by scrubbing them
with a paste of dish soap, pumice powder, and water. I just use my
fingers to scrub the piece with, but if there are lots of
"hidden"places, I will scrub it with a soft toothbrush and the
pumice,dish-soap,water combination. I just dip my brush into water,
dribble a bit of dishwashing liquid soap (I use Dawn) on it, press
the brush into the pumice powder, and scrub away.

Try it first on some scrap metal to see if you like this look - but
I find also that it rarely tarnishes - I’ve pieces I treated this way
years ago and they still look fine.

Kay


#8

Not the simplest but one of my favourites. At least a tripoli
finish, sand blast with glass beads and a 1/2 hour in the steel
tumbler.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#9

Hi Terri,

I’m not exactly sure why you might not be getting an even finish,
but I’m assuming it’s just going to take some experimentation on your
part. I like to put my pieces in the tumbler first, with the initial
cut-down media. I leave them in there for a good while, until I get
that even, almost galvanized look. Then I clean up anything that
might be off – a little edge scratch or something that I didn’t
catch before – with a Cratex or something similar. It then goes into
the second stage media. I let it tumble for a few hours (I use a
vibratory tumbler), then take it out, wash it off really well, and
get to work. I use the satin mini-wheels for the flexshaft that SFJS
sells. I work in even strokes across the piece, applying slight
pressure. I think the pre-finishing is the key, though. Having an
incredibly even surface to work with really helps minimize
differences in texture.

I hope this helps a little! Maybe someone else has other ideas?

Jennie


#10

Terri,

The 3M radial bristle disks give a great satin finish. I use the 3/4"
size for jewelry. It comes in five grits and sizes large enough to
take the paint off an airplane.

Mary A.
www.jewelryforthejourney.com


#11

I found the best way was to bead blast it - it’s very quick and
effective. I made myself a small sand-blasting cabinet and purchased
some fine glass-bead media - it’s a little like gritty flour. Like
polishing, it’s important to have a good surface before you
bead-blast 'cos it tends to exaggerate any surface defects.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#12

Thank you - yes, I have been trying to acheive a satin look without
polishing it. thanks for the tip. Also, some folks have mentioned
sandblasting - the only sandblasting I’ve done was during a glass
casting class and the sandblasting machine was huge. Is it the same
equipment for metals…I can only assume there is a better way with
much smaller equipment. Any info on sandblasting would be great.

Thanks!


#13

I was not going to respond to this, because 3M has discontinued
them, but my absolute favorite is F-X wheels. I put an absolutely
gorgeous satin finish on a silver piece last night, quick, even and
easy, with 320-1500-3000 F-X wheels. I LOVE these things!

By the way, I was putting the finishing touches on a “champagne
flute” for Gallery I/O’s L’Art Pour L’Art champagne flute exhibit
in…uh, oh… New Orleans. It won’t hold water (lets hope NO does)
because the “cup” is riveted titanium, but I’m very pleased with it.

Noel


#14
I will take a guess that you trying to substitute satin finish
for polish. This is a mistake. Polish the work as always ( or
better!), and than apply satin finish. 

Now, Leonid, why would you assume that? It seems reasonable to
mention that it may help to polish first, just in case someone out
there doesn’t realize this, but I object to the suggestion being in
the form of an accusation.

Noel


#15

Firstly I must agree with Leonid’s statement that you can only
achieve fine satin finishing after the item has been finished
correctly andbright polished, satin finishing or frosting will not
hide bad metal surfaces or save the effort of polishing, it is meant
to enhance the look of a surface not hide a bad surface. One of my
best workshopmachines is a Scratch Brush Unit, I tried searching for
a modern equivalent online and could only find one advert for a unit
by Walsh Tools here in the UK. The scratch brush unit is ideal for
adding a satin finish to metals, or even a frosted effectthat gives
a finishlike bright sand blasting. I tried a google search to see if
I could find a photo of this unit available worldwide and was
unsuccessful. I will attempt to explain thescratch brush assemblyand
how it works. The unit consists of a standard polishing motor mounted
behind a plastic box assembly with the polishing spindle point
facing the operator, the plastic box arrangement has water reservoir
on the top and a collection reservoir at the base, a small tap is
positioned above the spindle point, a brass scratch brush is screwed
onto the spindlepoint and the water tap is adjusted to allow a slow
flow of water onto the tips of the rotating brass brush. This process
explains why the brush is mounted with it’s flat edge facing the
operator, if it was as a usual polishing motor the operator would get
soaked when the brush rotated. When I was younger these machines
were regularly used by our silver polishers when polishing high
detail chasing work where normal polishing removes metal and detail,
a scratch brush shines without removing muchmetal, you could say it
is a mild burnishing effect. To achieve a frosted finish you would
use a long bristle brass mop and by holding a stick on the bristles,
breaking their flow,above that which you are frosting, this proces
causes the brass bristles to snap back and the tips of each
bristlewill frost the polished surface. A process much easier to show
than explain. I would hope that these unitsare available somewhere in
the USA and worldwidealso. When I was an apprentice, the scratch
brush units in our polishing workshop were all homemade units,
madewith wooden frames and plastic bowls, I could sketch a design if
anyone is interested. I have scanned a photo of a scratch brushing
unit, takenfrom an old Walsh Toolscatalogue, perhaps Hanuman would
be kind enough to make it available for anyone to view.

Peace and good health to all.
James Miller FIPG


#16

Hi Terri,

Have you tried any of these:

A. plain old sandpaper
B. a green scotch-brite pad
C. steel wire wheels

Alexis Romeo
www.alexisromeo.com


#17
I can only assume there is a better way with much smaller
equipment. Any info on sandblasting would be great. 

www.micro-mark.com item # 60287 a SMALL sanbasting unit with aluminum
oxide. They use it to distress model railroad stuff.

Justine


#18
Now, Leonid, why would you assume that? 

applying satin finish.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#19
I found the best way was to bead blast it - it's very quick and
effective. 

Without a doubt. But wouldn’t you describe this surface at matt
rather than satin? Satin is a low sheen… I have always gotten
absolutely no sheen at all with the blaster.

Noel


#20
glass casting class and the sandblasting machine was huge. Is it
the same equipment for metals.. 

You can buy quite small blasting cabinets. My husband has one in our
garage. It’s probably a couple of feet wide by one and a half deep
and one and a half tall and has glove holes and heavy duty rubber
gloves. I’ve not used it yet but am looking at having a go with it
soon.

Helen
UK