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Finishing Silver

I am just starting out in jewelry fabrication, and am bewildered by
the number of finishing and polishing methods out there. What i have
used so far is

sand paper (fine)
3M micromesh sheets (600 to 8000)
cratex wheels

There are so many other ways to finish and polish (bristle disks,
scotch bright, tripoli, tumblers with steel shot, the list goes on).

I am interested in finishing and polishing fairly simple fabricated
pieces (mostly flat surfaces so far), using gold and silver.

Any suggestions as to the fastest and easiest methods?

Todd Welti
Research Acoustician
Harman International Industries
Northridge, CA
(818) 895 8124

Dear Todd, flat is the hardest to finish in my opinion. Any curving
makes getting your tools on target much easier. My finishing process
generally starts with rough sanding say 120 grit on a stick or more
frequentoy on my belt sander under water coolant. Then onto 220.
From there I will go to 600 on a green wheel form 3-M, I don’t know
how to get one right now, I got one from Rio’s Catalog in Motion
this February. Form 600 to tripoli, white diamond and rouge. My
designs are usually large open spaces of plain silver requiring
special attention in the finishing process. Cross hatching during
any of the phases is very important, keep the piece moving or uneven
results will occur. If you have further questions I can be reached
off list, @Sam_Patania.

Sam Patania, Tucson


I use a loose rag wheel and some chromium type polish to get the best
shine on silver. Sometimes I do put the silver into my tumbler with
some flitz, gives a great shine also.



I have used only a few items as I get confused when there are too
many options. I usually deburr with files, rotary files or cut off
discs. then I go to Moore discs, medium then fine, after that, if
flat I use 600 sand paper wraped around my flat file followed with
split lap (split felt with tripoly)

Many of my pieces also have an unusual texture which is performed
with a simple auto hammer and a sharp point (no diamond points)
when I am done, I just clean it and hit it with a loose buff of
rouge. Every project will have unique needs. If you want something
polished flat, use the split lap otherwise a plain ole buffing wheel
will do. don’t get too obsessed with wheel contamination. I had a
teacher who almost had a coronary when I got within 10 feet of the
rouge wheel with some tripoly. I have been polishing metal since 1972
and have had no problem raking a wheel if it got too bad. You should
know that tripoly can produce a nice polish when played out.

Robert Whiteside