Matt finish by hand

hello, i have just got a braclet back from my silversmith tutor whom
i asked to matt finish it. However it is mor what i would call
Frosted, with heavy grain on it.

I have sanded it down again and would like to try and get the matt
finish i wanted. I read somewhere that steel wool and detergent would
do it. I need to get it ready for a friend whom is going to buy it,
and i wondered if this technique would work , or if there are any
other ways people have used to get this effect by hand?

At the present i have no polishing machine or access to one as its
end of term!! regards


Nikky, A nice matte finish can be achieved by using a green abrasive
pad like what you can buy at the supermarket=2E Rub in one direction
only repeatedly, works great!


A rotating steel- or brass-bristled brush would give you a quick
uniform finish. You can get them mounted on tiny mandrels for use
in Dremel tools, but they could also be used in a hand-held electric
drill. American Science & Surplus sells such items in small
quantities at low prices.


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Hi Nikky,

Yup, steel wool and a lot of elbow grease. It sounds like the person
sand blasted it to create the mat finish (frosted). The only other
way, i know of, is to steet wool it. Good Luck,

Passer by

Dear Nikky, You can get a mat finish with just steel wool. It won’t
dig into the surface like what you described you sanded off. You can
also achieve this with various sandpapers. Practice on scrap with
different ones until you get what you want. Sam Patania, Tucson

I have sanded it down again and would like to try and get the matt
finish i wanted. I read somewhere that steel wool and detergent would
do it.

There’s an even easier way to get the matte finish than steel wool.
Less messy too. Go to your local beauty supply house and get acrylic
nail finishing bars. For this technique, the sizeable rectangular
ones (1" x 1" x 4") are best. Get a variety of grits. Start with the
finest grade, and if it’s not enough matte, go to the next coarser
grade, and so on. Stroke the bar across the metal in one direction

Dear Nikky,

I would use pumice powder and a toothbrush or a cotton rag. You can
buy it at any good woodworking supply.


Hi nikky,

Have you tried with a 400 grit sanding paper. Cut a piece of sanding
paper, well about 3"x3’, then wrap it on to a needle file. Hold your
item to matt finish firmly in one hand, then with the sanding paper
wrapped on to the file in the other, give one way direction stokes
on the jewellery item until you get the finish you desire. When you
notice that the strokes are getting faint, change the position of
the sanding paper. For best results, give only one direction
strokes only, so that when light hit the jewel it reflects only the
ways of the strokes you have set and look neater. Hope you’ll get a
good job!


Regarding matt finishes, I use diamond burrs, they come in
different grits so you can do a light or heavier texture. Try a
practice piece. Just lightly run the burr over the metal and try all
in one direction, or circular till you get an even look you want.
This way you can get close to bezels and in tight areas. After you
use the burr, go back and use pumice powder that has been dampened
with water and a wooden handle fine bristle brass brush.

Richard in Denver

Brushing with a soft brass brush (either wet or dry) gives a gentle
matte finish. Or you might try mixing a little pumice powder and
oil to form a paste and just rub it in. Makes more of a satiny finish.


I have sanded it down again and would like to try and get the matt
finish i wanted. 

Hi Nikky, If you have a flex shaft, many vendors carry a really neat
tool that’s like a bit of Scotch-Brite pad on a mandrel. I believe it
has some abrasive in it. Comes in coarse and fine varieties… I have
both but prefer the finer one. You might even experiment with a bit
of regular Scotch-Brite on a screw mandrel on some test material…
could be quick, inexpensive and satisfactory. I believe the
commercial variety is only a couple bucks, though.

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)