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High polish on bone

I have some bone slabs, beads and pieces in some jewelry that I
would like to get a high polish on. Any recommendations for
compounds/machinery that would be beste I fully realize that the slab
may need a different type of equipment than the finished jewelry, but
still would like whatever advise could be offered.

Sandra Graves,
Artistic Endeavors with Wings of Light

Hi Sandra,

I have some bone slabs, beads and pieces in some jewelry that I
would like to get a high polish on. 

After carefully sanding down the surface with 600 grit and then down
to the finest grit sandpaper I can get my mitts on,(2000), I polish
my carved fossil tusk pieces with blue silicone wheels and finish
with very fine pink silicone wheels. You can also use silicone wheels
with diamond grit embedded in them. Obtainable from dental supply
houses. Dentists use them for polishing tooth enamel. You can check
out some of my work in the Orchid gallery or on my site.

Lisa, (canvassing for the 2010 census with a handheld computer/gps.
Modern technology!) Topanga, CA USA

Byzantia Jewelry


When I do polishing on bone, I start by using a range of sanding
sponges (The 3M ones from Rio Grande) in gradient grits all the way
from Fine down to Microfine (There’s Superfine and Ultrafine in
between.) Then, depending on size of the work, I use either my
Dremel with a little 7/8" muslin buff and a fine compound, or my
larger buffer with a 3" muslin wheel. There’s no need to get fancy
with the compound- I have some fine white compound that works fine.
(damned if I can remember the name, but Rio sells it.)

The key to getting a good polish is being REALLY patient dring the
sanding stage and really getting the scratches out. Oh, and avoid
dark colored compounds unless you want dark spots where it got down
in the pores. Those don’t come out.

If you need any more help, e-mail me off-list.

I have done a lot of bone carving over the years and I used a buffing
compound that is used on cars that leaves a wax finish, gives it a
high shine and protects it for years. Cant think of the name but it
is not the cheap stuff but on bone a small amount will last you a
long time.


Sandra,…I use ZAM polish on a stitched cotten muslim buff at
3450RPM to polish bone (including agatized dino bone), coral, and
just about any other organic material.

Cheers from Don in SOFL.

Hi Sandra!

I am not an expert on bone, but grew up among excellent craftsmen. I
don’t know of any special machinery or compounds for finishing bone,
but I’m guessing there has to be something at least in mass
production. Anyway, if you’re going to be doing this on your own in
your own workshop, I might have something for you.

The craftsmen I know achieve a polished finish by hand-sanding, then
using pieces of leather and cloth until they’ve got what they want.
From what I remember, there is no machinery used in the finishing of
bone parts or objects: bone is an organic material and very porous,
and therefore any polishing compound such as we use for metal would
probably just make it look spotty. There is also the surface
friction to consider: I’ve never tried, but the speed we use with
metals could even leave burn marks on bone (although this
hypothetical, I might be wrong).

I don’t know about your previous experience with different jewellery
materials, but bone is very different from metal and needs a bit
different approach in any case. Especially if you set up to do
something unique and showy, you need to get familiar with the
material first and then start working on the actual piece. Anyway, I
hope you find a way of finishing that works for you! And hope that I
didn’t wholly misunderstand your question. :slight_smile:

I’m new on Ganoksin, so hello to all from Finland! I’ve enjoyed your
writings as an anonymous reader for a while now, and thought I might
finally join in on the actual mailing list.


i use ZAM also for scrimshaw it works great