I’ve encountered an odd problem with polishing that I thought I
would pick your brains on.
I have been working on polishing some flat, sterling silver stampings
after laser engraving. The stampings get in engraved and then jump in
the pickle for a few seconds to remove oxidation. From there, they
are polished. However, as I go through the process of polishing the
stampings to a near mirror finish, no matter what I do (sand, bobbing
compound, 3M wheels, etc.) the stampings polish out with a somewhat
"frosted" appearance where the metal grain can actually be seen. To
be clear, the surface is polished to an extremely flat finish (i.e.
no scratches left). Yet, the physical appearance of the grain still
shows up and creates a frosted appearance rather than a
"liquid-silver" or true mirror-like appearance as when anything else
is polished. I’ve tried re-sanding, re-polishing, etc. and this
routinely shows up. Has anyone else ever had this problem or know how
to rectify it? In 14 years of jewelry work, this is a first to me and
I’m honestly quite baffled by it.
Thanks for any help you can offer!
Erich C. Shoemaker