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Inside polishing of a ring


Hey everyone,

I need you to settle a debate for me.

Does one tripoli/rogue [polish] the inside of a ring?

Two of my shop mates were arguing about this. One gentleman only
tripoli’s the inside of the ring. The other does emery and rogue. I
just do the wholeshebang, emery, tripoli and rogue.

I just don’t have a clue anymore. I just tripoli and rogue the
inside as well.


I need you to settle a debate for me. Does one tripoli/rogue
[polish] the inside of a ring? 

The goal is the desired finish. How you get there is your choice.
Whether you need to use emery depends on what you used before hand.
If you used a file, you’ll need emery or some similar abrasive,
unless you want to spend a lot of time with the tripoli or whatever
other cutting compound you use. if you already used some sort of
sanding medium, rubber wheels, emery drums, fine abrasives of any
sort at the workbench, then at the polishing lathe you may not need
to use emery again. But in general, before tripoli, you should
normally want a fairly smooth finish. Files are usually too coarse.
It’s your choice, however. After the cutting compound, (tripoli,
greystar, or others) gets all the scratches out and leaves a dull but
smooth surface, then rouge (note the english spelling, Gian…) gives
you your final finish.

Tripoli alone may be enough for some items, if the desired finish is
not a high polish. If you wish to use only one compound, White
diamond tripoli or something finer than ordinary brown tripoli, might
be a better choice, giving a slighly higher finish. And if you use
fine emery first, there are some more aggressive rouge products, like
some of the yellow rouge types, that have enough cut to take over
after fine emery, yet give you a decently attractive polish. Not as
high as red rouge, but often close enough.

But for the record Gian, I do it your way. Emery to get the coarse
marks out, then tripoli or other cutting compound to get the emery
marks out, then rouge. Skipping a step may seem simpler, but actually
takes longer, I think.

Peter Rowe

I just don't have a clue anymore. I just tripoli and rogue the
inside as well. 

You can use whatever works. If you are interested in old school
approach, then the answer is none of the above.

You should use scraper, follow with pumice and water, then
burnisher, and finish with a lot of speed and very little rouge.

Leonid Surpin



Bad attitude here, slight emery (minimal 220), bobbing compound and a
hard blue or green rouge. Whatever gets the stuff shiny, there is no
one right technique, maybe a few wrong ones. Wrong ones generally
won’t kill ya, just waste time.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing


Hi Gian,

Some fellow jewellers only went as far as tripoli on the inside.
Their reasoning was time and money. The inside doesn’t matter so
much, the customer won’t notice etc.

They used a 2-spindle polishing machine that required changing the
heads from outside mops to inside fingers or brushes every time an
item or batch of items was polished. Also polishing the inside of
rings generates a lot of heat. The contact area is large and the
’bite’ is small in contrast to polishing the outside.

A real time saver is to have a 4-spindle polishing machine, or two
2-spindle machines, or ream out the centre of the mops so that they
go to the thickest part of the taper and leave room for the inside
fingers to be fitted on the same end.

My machine is a home made 4-spindle with dust collector. With 4
spindles I have the fingers and brushes on the top hi-speed shaft,
and the mops on the lower lo-speed shaft. This means I can do one
item at a time inside and out with no stopping. When doing the rouge
and I see some scratches I can move to the other end and tripoli them
out and go straight back to the rouge. Brushes are nice to have but
the pendant machine/micromotor will do the brushing with 1" circular
brushes or pencil brushes even better.

Never having to change heads except when they are worn out is an
investment that pays huge dividends. I went from a treadle powered
single spindle, to an electric single spindle, to the 4-spindle and
always polished the inside! Customers see the difference sooner or
later, either in the degree of finish or in the cost-effectivness.

Cheers, Alastair


I think you should strive for a smooth bright finish. Ever notice
with finger buffs you can still have drag lines that won’t seem to
come out with said buff and you burn your fingers trying? I use a 3/4
white china brush on the flexshaft and polish at an angle to the
circumference. Polishing direction makes a big difference inside or
out. Another method with a finger buff is to quickly oscillate the
ring back and forth on the buff, not just dig in at the tightest
point. You’re not aiming for perfect concentricity, you want a smooth
bright finish.

I think customers DO notice the difference, even if they perhaps
cannot or don’t verbalize it.