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[Enamel Bits] Enameling-finishing cloisonne


Hi there! Orchid Members, I was wondering if any enamelers out
there have any suggestions on what to use for grinding down to
my wires that have some enamel on top. The books I’ve read all
recommend carborundum stoning or scotch sone. Is there a good
source to find these cheaply? Does Swest or Rio Grande sell
these? how much $$ ? Could I use finer and finer wet/dry
sandpaper? How about flex shaft sanding disks or Rio quick
finish on a buffing wheel?

I am using some old leaded enamels on fine silver with fine
silver cloisonne’ if that makes any diffrence.


Jeff Cleveland aka JevFro
301 N. Lincoln
Ellensburg, Washington 98926


Thompson Enamel sells the scotch stone - it’s about $16.00, but
it lasts. The quicker method that yeilds consistant results is
to use a lapidary grinding machine. Expensive, but best.




The stones I like best for grinding the enamel off cloisonne
wires are alundum stones sold by Thompson Enamels. There are two
stones available, one finer than the other. I use the rougher
one first, then fininsh up with the finer and refire after glass
brushing the surface with dish washing detergent to remove the
grit. I don’t have my catalog here at the computer, but I think
the stones cost around $9 each.

Donna in WY


You can use carborundum stone, yes. But if what you are doing is
grinding down the 1 mm or so of wire sticking up- what about a
diamond file? You would have to be careful not to mar the
surface, but the work would go much quicker- I’ve only done this
twice, with carborundum, and it took forever. You could use some
of the itty bitty sander drums for a foredom, these also come in
diamond. Just go slowly and be careful not to put flat spots or
digs in the enamel itself.

The main thing, if you are using leaded enamels ,especially, is
to work wet so you don’t sprinkle lead filled particles all ove
your house or work area. There isn’t a single piece of jewelry
worth endangering your health over! Anne


Carborundum stones, wet/dry sandpaper, Cratex wheels, diamond
bits, most abrasives that can be lubricated and washed off with
water are great for grinding down enamels. The key things to
consider are the grit of the abrasive and the size of enamel
areas you want to stone down, making sure that the piece is wet
while you are grinding so that the piece doesn’t heat up and the
debris you’re making is constantly being washed off.I like
Norton’s large white stones that come in 150 and 220 grits,
benchstones used for sharpening_knives and steel tools (water
stones, not oil stones!!!) and I can’t live without my 3M
Tri-M-Ite sandpaper.You should try to use wet/dry sandpaper fist
since it is available almost everywhere and to get a feel for
what pieces look and feel like while they’re being ground down.
I’m sure Rio sells the abrasives I’ve listed above, but also
check out your local hardware store! Cerium oxide, used as a
polish on stones works well for a final polish with a waxy sheen
and Boshuko powder from Enamelworks in Seattle is great for a
velvety look. I suggest you consult the Orchid backfiles to
obtain the addresses of Enamel suppliers for books and
as well as the phone #'s of enamel suppliers. Coral
at Enamelworks is extremely helpful and I suggest you call her
first. Have fun and make sure you’ve got plenty of elbow grease!
Juliet Gamarci @julietg1


I use sandpaper here at home. At school I used the stone, but
I’ve never gotten around to looking for one. I would think that
Thompson has them. They can’t be very much. I don’t know about
the sanding disks, that would scare me.

Susan E.

PS, I’ll ask my other enameling friend what she uses.


I have a pixie diamond grinder for grinding down silver wires.
It’s great and fast and if you mill your own thicker wires its a
godsend! otherwise you can start with wet/dry sandpaper, 325or
350 and attach to a dopping stick and grind under water or the
facet work up to 1500 grit for a nice finish or fire for a shiny


I’m no expert but I tried diamond hones made by 3-M … You will
never use other abrasives other than diamond again . Rio Grande
has them So does Micromat small tools and of course Enamelworks
supply in Seattle. They cost about $5 to $7 each. Jesse


This is how I finish my cloisonne pieces. I stone with a 150
grit stone – I use Alliundum(sp?) from either Thompson Enamels
or Allcraft. After the surface is level, I move to a 220 stone.
When the enamels are level with the wires and the wires have been
stoned a bit, I move through different grades of silicon carbide
paper --320, 400, 600, 800, 1000 --wet sanding all the while.
Depending on the finish I want, I then either flash fire the
piece for a glossy finish, or I continue to sand using the micron
papers in grits 1200 - 4000 which give a nice satin finish.
Definitely a labor intensive process!


I am behind reading messages, but haven’t seen anyone referring
to the diamond handpad sponges from Wale Apparatus, Ph#
610-838-7047, fax # 610-838-7440. They are expensive, but so
well worth it. They offer:

red = 200 grit
yellow = 400 grit
white = 500 grit
blue = 1000 grit

I have seen the diamond cloths others offer, and I have seen
these handpad sponges, but I haven’t wanted to go to the trouble
of gluing the cloth to the sponge because I don’t know of a glue
that will stand up to constant water running over the sponge.
Wale’s holds up. I teach enameling and these sponges have had
many hours of abuse. My students use the red to clean oxidation
from the sides of copper and to take down uneven surfaces. I use
the white and blue to finish off the top, then just wax ( or
not!) if you like a really fine matte finish.

For contact on Enamel Emporium in Houston, the
address is 1221 Campbell Road, Houston, Texas 77055, tel
#(713)984-0552, fax (713) 434-8348. Owner is Yoko Hutchins. She
carries most Japanese enamels and all of Thompson’s, as well as
all other supplies. She is Japenese and sometimes hard to
understand over the phone, but when you are talking enameling,
you usually understand those terms. Nice lady. If you need any
help, don’t hesitate to contact me. Dottie Wood @dwood