Surely somebody out there has struggled with how to get a decent
finish on the edges of pierced heavy sheet and can help me out.
There are a couple of methods I have found helpful.
Use a string or cord with an abrasive charge anchored to the bench
at one end and thread it through the piercing. Hold the loose end
with one hand and the silver in the other. As you slide the metal
sheet along the cord, direct the sheet so that the cord slides along
the edge of the piercing rather than working back and forth in one
area. This will help to keep your contours sharp and avoid those
scalloped effects and you'll be able to reach the narrower sections
where a file or rotary tool won't reach.
Something I prefer to the above, especially in a slot or V-shaped
piercing is to cut a narrow strip of medium to fine abrasive sheet
and insert it through the pierced area. Secure your silver sheet in
a safe (plastic or leather-jawed) vice or clamp so both hands are
free. Thread the strip through the piercing and use a sliding action
as described above. You'll be able to bring the long edge of the
strip right into the "v" of your scrolled piercing where a few
strokes will smooth the sawed edge. Remove and reinsert the strip
with the abrasive facing the opposite direction to do the same on the
opposite cut edge. It is easier to manipulate the abrasive strip if
it is at least 10 cm long. The width can be about 5 mm or so to
smooth long open curves and narrower if the curves are tight.
The 3-M micron-graded sheets are wonderful for this and the wet/dry
variety with the rigid backing (Imperial microfinishing film, I
think) holds up to much use - especially if you need a very narrow
strip. The standard kind with fiber backing (like Pellon - a
non-woven fabric) will easily conform to the contours and wears well
with a lighter touch. I like the 9 micron grade best but if you want
something more aggressive, 15 micron should do.
As an aside, I've found the Imperial sheets seem to be more
aggressive in use than the regular sheets in identical grade.
Perhaps this is because the backing is less yielding to pressure than
I am not associated with 3-M except as a very happy customer. Hope
this helps. Happy edge-refining!