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Finishing Enamels


Okay you enamelists out there–I am now taking advanced
enameling at Md.Institute of Art and I have some questions about
finishing–cloisonne in particular. Our instructor has always
had us stone everything and go through a zillion grits of
sandpaper until the pieces are smooth. This takes forever. We
just completed rings which have cloisonne inside and outside. We
were able to use the lapidary wheels to finish the outside which
saved alot of time. The inside is the problem, however. I have
been using a diamond file which is taking too much time, then I
will have to sand everything. I can’t believe enamels are
finished this way in production. Are there any shortcuts? What
about diamond burs and/or cratex wheels on the flex shaft? I
feel like I’ll be sanding these things for eternity! Thanks!


Dear Vicki Unfortunately most production enamels are not the high
temp type. They are useally a form of epoxy resin that can be
worked much easier. The ways to finish your enamels is just as
your instructor has suggested. There is to date no shortcut, or
someone would have found it. A suggestion for roughing the form
down can be to use a mounted ruby dressing stone in a flexshaft
with plenty of coolant and lubricant at a very high speed to
avoide chatter. I would suggest you try it on a test piece first.