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Machine polishing

Was: Re: [Orchid] Which lathe?


“Polishing motor becomes the most destructive equipment in the
shop.” Well, if you weren’t fully trained on that polishing motor, I
can see would be destructive it would be. I’ve seen many contemporary
pieces of silver that look like they were machine polished with a
stainless steel scratch brush. I’ve also seen pieces that were so
perfectly machine polished that they looked like mirrors.

I’ve been working with silver for 34 years, and I can say with
absolute certainty that as long as one has mastered this piece of
equipment - any piece of equipment or tool for that matter - it won’t
be destructive. Leonid, I’m a silver restoration and conservation
specialist who’s number ONE concern is the final finish of every
piece I’ve work on. Don’t assume that everyone reading these posts
don’t have your sensitivity. It’s just plain rude.

Jeff Herman

Dear All,

In looking at technology in the jewelry industry, it seems to me we
will look for a more productive way to do something. For me, as long
as it will maintain the quality of my product I will try it. Casting
is a good example. I fabricate most of my models, but follow up with
mold making and casting what I sell, unless it is a commission piece
(rare with this economy).

I do utilize CAD when I make class rings, however I still hand
fabricate many of the filigree antique style pieces I love to make.

As for polishing, electric motors have been here for over one
hundred years. Before that hand finishing jewelry with scotch stones
and various rubbing and burnishing processes were used. We want to
polish jewelry to a beautiful look and finish. As the mass finishing
process is further developed, more pieces will be tumbled. In my view
of current technology I like to teach as much as I use myself. With
everything evolving in our jewelry world, you have to select what
will work for you.

Polishing involves first and foremost what you are making. The list
of different choices can be:

Hand filing with a series of different files from coarse to fine
Emery paper and emery cloth of different grits
Flex shaft burs, abrasives, wheels
Rotary tumbling - ceramic & steel shot
Vibratory tumbling - ceramic & steel shot
Brush polishing - tripoli & rouge
Lap polishing - tripoli & rouge
Buff polishing tripoli & rouge
Cleaning from start to finish at various times

I’ve done my first video for the jewelry program at Southeast
Technical College, which does show some polishing. I consider the
polishing I instruct current industry standard processes. Take a

My instruction says that the piece of jewelry basically tell you how
to polish it.

Best regards,

Todd Hawkinson
Southeast Technical College