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Polishing difficulties


#1

Hi all Im relatively new to jewellery making and work with silver at
the moment.

Hammered surfaces are proving difficult for me to polish, the raised
surface is fine, but i cannot seem to get rid of a darkness in the
indented areas.

I am usiing a split mandrel and emery paper followed by calico mops
for tripoli and rouge. Can anyone tell me if there is a better way of
reaching these areas?

also on the polishing side, what can i use to prepare and polish
between difficult areas like those created between a spiral wire
that has been hammered flat and soldered onto flat piece of silver.
I cannot seem to clean it up as i would like.

any help would be greatly appreciated

nikky


#2

Hi Nikky, Pre-polish your piece before adding wires and textures.
Also make sure your texturing tool is free of any dirt.

Marta


#3
    Hammered surfaces are proving difficult for me to polish, the
raised surface is fine, but i cannot seem to get rid of a darkness
in the indented areas. I am usiing a split mandrel and emery paper
followed by calico mops for tripoli and rouge. Can anyone tell me
if there is a better way of reaching these areas? 

Both a more aggressive polishing compound and a more aggressive buff
(mop) will help. Emery paper has a tendency to ride the surface of
the metal, and you need to get down into the indented areas. Because
some of the words you use make me identify you with living in the
U.K., I’m not sure if you have similarly named compounds there as we
have in the U.S., but a good general compound to work with for your
initial polish is a tripoli. Some are more aggressive than others. I
personally like a compound called White Diamond, but occasionally on
heavily forged pieces, it’s been necessary to start with a crocus
compound, then move to progressively finer grits.

A more aggressive buff will be a wool felt or a treated, stitched
muslin (calico?). Save the loose muslins for your final polish with
rouge.

    also on the polishing side, what can i use to prepare and
polish between difficult areas like those created between a spiral
wire that has been hammered flat and soldered onto flat piece of
silver. I cannot seem to clean it up as i would like. 

The problem here is to get into the recesses without removing the
surface detail, so you have to have something with some type of
’fingers’ that will carry the compound to the recessed area, but soft
enough not to wear away your surface detail before you get the
recesses polished. 3M radial bristle disks are nice, but if those
aren’t available where you are, look for a brush buff. The ones with
darker bristles are stiffer than those with light bristles, and these
are the ones you want to start with, moving to the softer bristles
when you get to the rouge. If you can find them, look for the bristle
brushes that have the muslin in between the bristles. These allow you
to pick up and retain more of the polish compound.

Just remember to move progressively through the compound steps, and
not to be tempted to skip a compound. The steps followed
progressively will give you a finished piece with a shiny, sparkly
and lively surface, whereas skipping steps will only give you a shiny
surface.


#4

Hello Nikki: In my opinion, A hammered finish draws it character
from the “Hammer marks”. Slightly rough in the dent and polished on
the top edges. Before you hammer the metal polish it and also polish
the ball on your hammer. This can leave a pretty brightly polished
dent that requires less polishing. Of course if you are going to use
a hammer to apply this finish the ring will surely be larger when
your done pounding on it. A real good way to get a polished looking
hammered finish is to use a brown/fine silicone knife edge polishing
wheel Rio Grande #332-362 on your flex shaft. Run the wheel on your
shaping block, wearing it down until it is about half size from new.
Alternate directions on the peice and polish away leaving pretty well
polished dents and not increasing the size of the ring at all. It
takes some practice but it works well. Michael R. Mathews SR.
Victoria, Texas http://www.geocities.com/waxcarver/


#5

By using emery paper, you are sanding off the top layer of the high
points of the hammered surface. The depressions where you are not
sanding show dark because of fire stain. Fire stain results from
either prolonged heating or too high of heating. Try just buffing
without the sanding and see how that looks. What buffing compounds
are you using?

There is probably no easy way to clean up inside the spiral. I would
fold up fine sand paper to make an edge and work until it cleaned up
enough to suit me. I might not design my next piece with such a
problem area. You could leave it in the pickle until the whole thing
turns white and then just brass brush it with detergent and water.

Marilyn


#6

Nikki- One trick I’ve used is to use a straight steel brush in my
flex shaft. ( Rio order # 338-314) This will burnish the metal,
leaving a nice polish without distorting the hammer strikes. As has
been mentioned before, it is important to high polish both the area
that you are going to hammer finish AND the ball of your hammer to ed
with a nice, even finish. Any surface irregularities in either the
metal’s surface or the hammer’s surface will distort the effect you
are attempting to achieve!

Happy Hammering!
Jim
James W. Turner, G.G.
Oceanside, CA


#7

Hi All, I missed out on the start of this thread but from Marilyn’s
comments the problem seems to be polishing hammed textured silver.
The indentations will be very difficult to polish if they have a
fire scale coating which occurs when the silver is heated above
about 1000 degrees. I think you might try polishing the silver
before applying the hammer texture. Coat the silver with a fire
scale preventative flux before soldering. Several jewelry suppliers
sell fire scale prevention fluxes. The coating will prevent
firescale and when the project is pickled after soldering. The
hammer indentations will be very bright. Always coat silver before
each soldering step.

Hope This works for you
Lee Epperson


#8

Hi,

I am a silversmith and I use blue gas flux (a liquid). It can be
used 2 ways. First you can get a pump and pump it through your gas
line so that your pieces get covered when you fire them. Second (I
do this), you dunk your pieces into the flux, burn it off and then
continue to heat till annealed. This method greatly reduces your
firescale and is a necessity if you are smithing silver.

Another method is to mix boric acid, borax and denatured alcohol–
paint it onto your surface burn off the alcohol and continue on.
This must be pickled off before you continue to hammer where as the
blue gas flux doesn’t require the same amount of pickling ( it is
much cleaner).

Jennifer Friedman Atlanta


#9

Nikky For polishing hammered surfaces …try polishing the surface
before you hammer it, and also polishing the hammer, then hammer the
polished surface with the polished hammer and you should get a lot
better finish where only a quick going over with a finishing mop and
zam will be all that is required…

Cheers Paul
www.beau-jangles.com