It would be helpful to understand what enameling techniques you are
employing, ie champleve, plique a jour, cloisonne, limoge etc as
some finishing techniques are particularly suited to the original
My preferred approach is to attempt to avoid mechanical finishing if
at all possible by a final "flash" firing of the piece, ie high and
fast where the top surface of the enamel is melted to a smooth glassy
When this fails, depending on the enameling technique, a number of
options present themselves.
(i) Mechanical abrasion with progressively finer grits of silicon
carbide abrasive papers, you need to employ care when changing up to
the next finer grit as small particles of silicon carbide can lodge
in the enamel surface and cause scratching, I typically give the
piece a couple of minutes in the ultrasonic cleaner to avoid this. At
the end of the silicon carbide papers, in my case around the 1500 -
2000 grit, I will revert to a cotton mop in the flexshaft, charged
with Tripoli, or Hyfin or rouge for the final polish.
Cerium or aluminium oxides used in the final polishing steps for
faceting stones can also be employed in place of the rouge, this is
particularly useful where the enameled piece has a high percentage of
white/pale enamels as the rouge can leave a reddish staining that is
very difficult to remove.
(ii) If the piece is flat construction, (as distinct from a curved
surface), then a flat polishing lap can be very fast and effective. I
employ an old polishing lap, too worn to effectively polish stones
and employ cerium or aluminium oxide as the polishing agent. The
outcome is usually about as good a finish as flash firing, the
downside is occasional smearing of the metal onto the enamel surface
which can be difficult to remove.
(iii) The 3M bristle mops mounted in a flexshaft can also provide an
effective alternate, I would typically abrade the piece with silicon
carbide papers and then utilize the blue 400 grit mops, followed by
the 1 micron green mops for the final finish. A bit of care needs to
be employed as it is surprisingly easy to end up with small grooves
where the enamel has been preferentially abraded.
(iv) You can obtain small diamond pads in progressively finer grits,
they mount onto a semi flexible rubber mandrel which is mounted in
the flexshaft. The pads are self adhesive but I have found that I
need a reasonable amount of water to keep them cool enough to avoid
separation from the mandrel, the coarser grits also have a tendency
to grab the enamel/ metal surface boundary and can be quite
difficulty to control, that said, they do provide a very rapid and
very clean abrasion, I finish with a 50,000 - 100,000 polish.