Bright polish in small areas

What is the best way to get a bright even polish in a recessed, flat
small area. Rubber silicone carbide bullets will not work and small
flat end diamond burs leave the surface uneven. I can use a magnetic
tumbler if I can get the surface smooth and semi-polished. Any

Pineforest Jewelry Inc./PFJ Inc.
Gary L. Mills


I use a cotton swab. I cut the two fat wab ends off and then chuck
up the stem in my flex shaft and use Tripoli and Zam. It works well
for me. You might have to go through a few, but the cotton works

Just my $0.02 worth.

Good luck,
Ken Moore

Can you get a thrumming cord in there? BTW you can shape the rubber
bullets to suit if needed, I use a diamond file and “turn” them to
the required profile with the flex shaft. You might also look at
burnishing for fine corners, this does require the best of access

BTW There is “new” thing out there called “aircraft tape” that is
quite stiff and very thin and very flat that does an excellent job on
small flat cut outs in galleries and such. I was given a small ~2’
sample (1.8" wide and ~.02" thick) last week and I have to say it is
nice stuff to use.

Now if I could just find a local supplier… Ok a bit of Googling
lead me to this place, PTFE (Teflon) Lacing Tape, (Flat braid) | CS Hyde Company | 800-461-4161 and although what I
have is different colour this stuff seems to have the same physical
dimensions and intended use, I also think the stuff I got is also
Teflon coated, but the coating might also be wax, I’ll have to see
what I can find out from the chap who gave it to me…

Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.

I have used wooden toothpicks, shaped to fit, and polishing
compounds, when thrumming or shaped rubber tips won’t work. Even
broken drill bits or old bur shafts can be made into tiny burnishers
to reach a really hard to address area sometimes.


I use a tooth pic or a small piece of wood (with different diamond
grid compound) mounted on a hammer hand piece. I know what you’re
thinking, and you’re right: it is time consuming, but very effective
in unreachable spot… Hope it will help you,


Another thought that just came to me for when I’ve had to polish some
of those difficult to reach areas is using one of the "lollipop"
sticks that Stuller includes with their finding orders. The hard
paper sticks are quite dense and shapes well with a file to quickly
make a disposable polishing point and will hold compounds well.
better than the hard wood of toothpicks, but you can’t trim the paper
sticks as small as you can the toothpick. Both these polishers
require using an adjustable hand piece like a Jacobs to hold the odd

Gary, have you tried using a very small burnisher? You can make one
from the shaft of a very small broken off burr.

Just an idea,

Another suggestion: try bamboo skewers to carry the polishing
medium. They’re tougher than toothpicks and commonly found in
supermarkets used to skewer BB items.



You can chuck up a toothpick (a round one) and then leave it pointed
or flatten out the tip. Then use some tripoli, zam, or whatever is
needed on the tip. Instead of a toothpick, the wooden cooking
skewers also work well and are a little beefier. If you like the
previously mentioned q-tip idea, but want something pointed, get
pointed cotton tipped sticks in the manicure area of beauty stores.

Good luck,

bamboo kebab skewers work well. they come in more than one thickness
and can be shaped to your need. i have read (probably on orchid) that
bamboo is a natural abrasive.

jean adkins

Just a reminder from the archives.

Bamboo skewers can be trimmed and shaped, then chucked in your flex
shaft and used with your choice of compound to polish.

Bamboo (like many grasses) contains silica, which is commonly found
in polishing compound, so you may find additional compound

Experiment a little.

Judy in Kansas, where the next few days are supposed to be in the
60s - just like Tucson - so I’m not entirely missing out on the
lovely weather!

1 Like

Hi Gary,

What is the best way to get a bright even polish in a recessed,
flat small area? 

One way is to use a laser welder, if you have access to one. You can
use a fairly wide beam at a setting that just barely liquefies the
surface of the recessed area you’re trying to polish. If you’re
careful you can get it both shiney and smooth. Then let it spin in
the magnetic tumbler and it will be acceptably shiney. It will have
slight finish from the steel needles but they will help make the
finish uniform.

A high polished flat graver will work as well if you can get it in
to the tight space.


Bamboo is naturally abrasive. It’s got silica particles in the wood.
Like horsetails.


I just don’t make designs which require a high polish in a small
recessed area. It just always is too much work and looks 1/2
finished. Bead or sand blasting works well as a design element.

Sticks and string do work but why bother when you can avoid.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing