Finishing or avoiding refinishing in tight spaces

Hello fellow orchid members,

I know finishing is a common problem and I’m hoping for some
advice–either on finishing or avoiding having to re-finish. I have
been making multi layer sterling pendants where there is a space
between the layers to create depth (see attached). My problem is
trying to finish between the layers, since there is really no way to
get flex-shaft accessories in there.

I’ve tried polishing the insides before soldering them together, but
they always seem to need lots of clean up. I’ve tried using Rio’s
StopOxII and tried making my own surface protectant. I made mine
using anhydrous ethyl alcohol and boric acid (is this an acceptable
type of alcohol for the recipe?) but the boric acid falls out of
solution quickly I worry there isn’t enough there to protect the

Upon reviewing some of the archives, someone said Prips works better
to prevent fire stain than boric acid/alcohol. Is this true? Should I
try depletion gilding the inside before soldering the pieces
together? I’d ideally like to keep the option of a polished surface.

Would a tumbler get in there without damaging the pierce work on the

I’m at a loss. Any thoughts or suggestions.



That’s a beautiful piece!

When I have to get into tight spots, I use small pieces of sand
paper wrapped around anything from popsicle sticks to toothpicks. It
can be slow work to get some stuff cleaned out, but it works for me.
For tight spots I can go 600 grit or 4/0 abrasive papers.


A pin tumbler should take care of that.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Hi Mark,

  1. there are fluxes that you can use that are better than borax and
    pripps, Argotect from Johnson Matthey is one,

  2. However, the issue isnt about solving the clean up but its at the
    design stage.

  3. for example if I was making your pendant Id proceed as follows,
    Id make the frame, solder in the background piece, finish to the
    level I desire, then make up the next no of layers as individual

  4. then use a shouldered seperator that riveted to both parts.

  5. Then cut a shoulder on the inside edge of the pendant frame so
    the next layers fit into the recess. then rivet it all together
    making the rivet heads as part of the foreground under the trees as
    say sculptured stones.

Principle? if you cant hide a fixing solution, make a feature of it.


Boracic powder and meth’s 50/50 gives good protection on gold, less
effective on silver. I mix powder flux called Easy-Flo and the green
colour auflux for gold into a paste and paint that on.

Hi Mark,

I would of answered yesterday, but I wanted to see if what i do was
mentioned by the more experienced people.

You have an nice design, and for me i like it!

I saw a few problems. One you have firescale on the bail. That means
your flux and stuff you used to protect the metal from said fireplace
and flowing problems wasn’t working. It also showed the spot on the
lower left of the design elements where the solder had flowed onto
the piece. OK, a good flux that has been mentioned by others will fix
the firescale. The flow problem can be cleaned. Here is my favorite
way, but it takes some time.

Go to a woodworking center/business, and get powdered grit. You can
get it in about quart size containers as the smallest amounts. It is
relatively cheap through the woodworking businesses. Also get
yourself some good thick wooden toothpicks not those skinny kind.
Become a redneck for a bit of time, and chew on the end of said
toothpick. This flays out the fibers.

let it sit and dry for about 30 min. It doesn’t need to be totally
dry, just not sopping wet. Place a bit of the grit in a bottle cap.
Now you can dip your toothpick into the grit. You use the tooth pick
in tight places that most other things can’t reach. it also gives you
more control than using a flex shaft. I do this mostly when watching
TV in the evenings. I have large amounts of powdered grit from 600 to
30,000. I can get mirror shines on anything I take the time to hand
finish. It just takes time and looking outside the box.

Have fun,
Aggie Who hates autocorrect

Q tips make great buffs for tight places also. the woo sticks work
best but the plastic ones can also work if you are not too

Vernon Wilson
Panama Bay Jewelers

I haven’t used it for a long time because of cost, but when I had a
bottle of Firescoff I found, to my surprise, that silver pieces I
coated well (heat a bit so the spray dries on contact) stayed shiny
and bright right through soldering.


Hello everyone, thank you all for your feedback and advice.

end of a small stainless steel ruler (cause it’s thin, flat and
flexible). piece better result. I may consider the riveting option,
but I must say I prefer the cleaner look of rivet on the front
layer–perhaps hidden rivets would work well enough.

just been reflections, but I’ll certainly check the piece over
again. If you’re looking at the background layer on the left I think
that’s actually a problem caused by my trying to sand out firestain
with flexshaft bits and, well, doing a poor job of it–I don’t think
it was solder spillage. I like the idea of powdered grit and may just
try that.

tried I had somewhat limited success.

Again, thank you everyone who replied. I appreciate the time you
took to comment. It’s a style of piece I quite like, and I hope that
among the suggestions you’ve all provided I can make them