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Fine silver good polishing strategy


#1

I have been having lots of problems polishing silver. Either I dont
get good polish, or I actually get scratches. I mostly ahve been
trying mushlin buffs with brown tripoly and then red rouge on small
buffing wheels (2-4 inch wheels) or flexshaft. It seems the only
time I have gotten good results is with soft felt mini buffs on my
flexshaft. I have been pretty good about avoiding cross cntaimnation,
sanding out scratches first, and the like. I have noticed that the
muslin wheels have little bits of thread protruding, and I wonder if
those are causing the scratches. I tried cutting them all off, but it
takes forever and more appear when I use the wheel again. Do I need
to precondiditon the buffs in some way? It also occured to me that
most of my problems seem to be on the bezels, which are fine silver.
Fine silver is soft (I’m not doing any tumbling to work harden). Does
anybody have a suggestion for this? Do I need to tumble each piece to
work harden it? Different polishing strategy?


#2
mushlin buffs with brown tripoly and then red rouge 

Red rouge is not good for silver. Polish too long and you develop
’pits’. Try flannel with blue platinum rouge, pretty slick. For
jewelry sized silver items.

I don’t even have any tripoli anymore. I refused and I refused to try
anything else because, ‘its what they taught me’. Then I broke down
and got some Zam, because it became a business decision (“hmmm, can I
really $ave time”?). Zam is good but on silver I wanted a little bit
more zip. It was “hey let’s try this blue stuff over here”.


#3

Todd, I’ll have a go at this. Please excuse me if I state the
obvious as I don’t know your experience level.

Use as large a mop as you can on your machine. It may be only 4" or
6 (or larger) but a large mop will give a more even coverage. Also
note that you can get either stitched or loose mops - I would use the
stitched for small items like charms and the loose for larger items
like sheet.

The muslin mops may be a little coarse for the rouge polish, I’ve
used swansdown. As for preconditioning - you didn’t mention whether
you do anything but this is how I have always done it - put the new
mop on the spindle and turn on the motor. Using a piece of wood with
a few nails driven through it or a metal bar gently - repeat "gently"
introduce this tool to your rotating mop (stand back a little because
you will soon get “snowed” upon by all the loose threads from the
mop). When the snowing diminishes turn off the motor, take the mop
off and with a lighter carefully burn any protruding threads - stamp
out any smouldering threads before moving on. If you don’t remove
these threads they will cause ruts in your when you try and polish.

Good luck,
Roger


#4
Red rouge is not good for silver. Polish too long and you develop
'pits'. 

That’s interesting to know. I didn’t realise and obviously neither
did the sales chap at the jewellery supply company who sold me my
block of rouge, knowing I was going to use it on silver. I’ve had
the same problems as the poster of this thread, but I’ve been using
rouge as the last step and it has got rid of the bristle brush
scratches for me - but I’ll try platinum blue and take a closer look
at the finish of both - thanks Neil.

Helen
UK


#5

Motor speed plays a big role in controlling the ultra-fine mop tracks
that can give otherwise well polished silver a hazy or foggy look. I
now use a variable speed (belt drive) polishing unit I have at very
low speeds with very good results. I will also find that at lower
speeds the “sticking” or build up of compounds on the surface will
pretty much disappear. I happen to use yellow rouge but I think the
motor speed will improve the finish of any compound.

L F Brown Goldwork, Inc
www.goldwork.com


#6

Neil: so you are using the Blue rouge in stead of tripoly??


#7

I quit trying to high polish silver decades ago. High polish on any
silver does not last. Now I green rouge polish and then soap brass
brush.The finish does last.

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


#8
Neil: so you are using the Blue rouge in stead of tripoly?? 

Since Neil mentioned it, I’ll reinforce it, though we rarely work
silver. I have no doubt his blue rouge is great, because he said so.
If you’re not interested in something exotic, then Zam is the ideal
polish for silver, IMO and others. Great stuff… Red rouge might be
the very worst choice…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#9
so you are using the Blue rouge in stead of tripoly?? 

Zam first, then blue. Covers most normal situations. The blue only
requires a light touch with a soft wheel, get ham fisted and its
counterproductive. Blue is not a cutting compound.


#10
If you're not interested in something exotic, then Zam is the
ideal polish for silver, IMO and others. Great stuff.... 

John, We use a looot of ZAM in our studio primarily because it is a
teaching studio and my students can mostly only afford silver. We
love ZAM. It not only does a super job on silver but it will also
polish turquoise, malachite, bone, rhodocrosite, black/red coral,
and other natural materials. In fact, when cutting, if I have a stone
that just doesn’t seem to want to polish on the oxides, I always try
ZAM. Most of the time it works wonders.

Cheers from Don in SOFL


#11

I have some Zam already. I do have some Fabuluster, that’s supposed
to be good for silver (I forgot I even had it!). Anyone know if the
Fabuluster is as good as the blue rouge?


#12
I do have some Fabuluster, that's supposed to be good for silver (I
forgot I even had it!). Anyone know if the Fabuluster is as good as
the blue rouge? 

I have Fabuluster and was using it as my final polish on sterling
silver, but I wasn’t particularly happy with the finish so I’ve been
following up with rouge with much better results.

However, I do also have platinum blue but I’ve not yet tried Neil’s
suggestion of using it on silver. I could have a try with it and
report back, comparing platinum blue with Fabuluster. Perhaps a blog
entry with photographs would be good too. It might be useful if
anyone else has the two polishes, if they can test and report back
also?

Helen
UK


#13
Zam first, then blue. Covers most normal situations. The blue only
requires a light touch with a soft wheel, get ham fisted and its
counterproductive. Blue is not a cutting compound. 

This thread is really interesting. I was taught to polish with
Tripoli first and then Rouge and often had problems with “orange
peel” effects despite persisting for years with this method,
especially on flat surfaces. Since opening my little shop and wanting
to keep down the dust, I am at the moment finishing my work using the
green “polishing paper” (after sanding of course). I bought a set of
polishing papers from Rio Grande out of curiosity and rather like
them. I finish off with white rouge rubbed onto a bit of suede. Am
rather liking the result and enjoying the hand polishing experience.

Still… wouldn’t mind a nice buffing machine with dust collector…
if I win that raffle it will be first on my list. I think I’d still
keep using the white rouge if I want a bright finish. I think the
polishing papers will be useful to cut back the bright finish if a
more satin effect is preferable.

Cheers, Renate


#14

I use graystar (stainless polish) first instead of tripoli or bobbing
compounds then I go straight to blue rouge.

Jennifer
www.jenniferfriedmanstudio.com


#15
I use graystar (stainless polish) first instead of tripoli or
bobbing compounds then I go straight to blue rouge. 

Part of my original question in this thread was whether any
different strategies would be used for fine silver versus ss, the
fine silver being softer. Any thoughts on that?


#16
Part of my original question in this thread was whether any
different strategies would be used for fine silver versus ss, the
fine silver being softer. Any thoughts on that? 

I thought you meant fine silver - but really the same advice applies
when polishing fine as for stg. If you get scratches after a final
polish then you’re simply not taking the previous steps well enough.
Those scratches ought to have been dealt with on one of the earlier
pre-polish stages. If you could identify what put the scratches in
then you’re most of the way there. If you go through the usual
stages - files coarse to fine, emery coarse to fine, tripoli buffing
mop, rouge mop - then during each stage try to eliminate all the
effects of the previous stage before moving on.