Does polishing remove material?

Pretty simple question here. Does the finishing compound, rouge, fabuluster, etc happen to remove any material? I read that rouge has a burnishing effect but that fabuluster removes material. I am asking because I am interested in a way to maintain the polish of a piece without having to remove material. What about a brass scratch brush? Does this remove any metal?

I actually think that polishing is one of the trickiest parts of fine jewelry. Some people think you can just have a high school kid do that work minimal training but over polishing can easily ruin a nice piece of jewelry. Look at all the over polished micropave out there where the prongs are non existent. Its controlled erosion. SD

It certainly does as evident from all the overpolished micro pave rings out there. You can prove this to yourself by holding a corner of something on a buffing wheel for a while and see what happens. SD

Yes! I have witnessed this on pierced pendants I have made, the corners turn ever so slightly rounded.

Get an accurate scale and measure the weight of a piece before and after grinding, sanding and polishing. All of these steps remove material. That is why you collect your dust, dirt, duff and other nasty stuff and send it off to the refiner. …Rob

Every form of polishing removes material. Burnishing does not remove material , so perhaps technically it isn’T considered a form of polishing.

Yes, that makes sense. Could you really polish with a Burnisher though?

Yes, you can. Oppi Untratch goes into the types of burnishers and their techniques in his two books “Metal Techniques for the Craftsman” and “Jewelry Concepts and Technology”. Burnishing will work on soft metals, such as silver, gold and delicate piecing and wire work. It will also work on annealed (heat softened) steel, but will not work on tempered steel or stainless steel. There are a wide variety of burnishers used to give the finish: special highly polished steel burnishers and burnishers of agate and bloodstone for finish work. There are also burnishing attachments for flex shafts. I’ve never used one, and can’t comment on them.

In engraving burnishing has the advantage that if you make a slight slip, and leave an unwanted shallow line, you can often push the metal back into place and fill the line.

Another advantage of getting some familiarity with burnishers is you learn your way around the surface of the metal and how you can stretch it. This knowledge comes in handy when trying to remove bumps and dents.

1 Like

Does burnishing also serve to work harden? That would be lovely, as I tend to prefer to work in higher karat gold (18+ karat)

Watchmakers use burnishing on softer types of steel to both polish and harden it. I’m not sure given that 18 Karat gold is 75% gold that burnishing was harden it much. It’s intrinsically a soft material and you can only work harden it within limits.

I put your question on Google Search and came up with 43,100,000 results. All of your specific questions are covered amongst the answers. The search can be further refined by putting in additional search words e.g., ‘fabuluster’, ‘brass scratch brush’, etc.

Burnishing will harden only the surface and even then only a negligible amount–probably not noticeably.

1 Like

This is a now dated page that I posted a few years ago when I was learning to cast and polish. I was frustrated with the metal loss and was looking for a way to minimize gold lost from cast to finish. Someone else had posted a similar question so I put the page up for others. The shark tooth with the protrusion hanging off the side was from old investment which a lot of people have been getting stuck with as of late and is a hot topic on the show circuit of jewelers.

Brass Brushing does not remove any material.