Dear Orchid Members, I would like to hear what process others follow
in polishing metals. I seem to be having more difficulty than I
think I should be in achieving a mirror-like finish on flat
surfaces. Even small flat surfaces. I am working with sterling
silver. If the surface has any curvature to it, I have no problem.
If it is flat, I have a hard time eliminating all scratches without
introducing other surface imperfections. I have read in all of my
jewelry books and they all kind of gloss over this without going
into much detail. The process I have been using is as follows:
file (where needed), 400 silicon carbide sandpaper (SC), 600 SC,
1500 SC, fine Cratex rubberized wheel on my flexshaft, tripoli on 4"
stitched muslin buff (3450 rpm motor speed), red rouge on 4"
unstitched muslin buff (same motor speed).
If I omit any of these steps the results are not satisfactory. I
have tried using the red crocus cloth instead of the 1500 SC but end
up with deeper scratches (BTW does anyone know the grit equivalent
of red crocus cloth? Just curious). If I do not use the fine (light
blue) Cratex wheel I end up with scratches I cannot easily remove
with buffing. I have tried using a bristle brush and tripoli on my
flexshaft to remove small scratches but the fine Cratex wheel works
better for me. I have gotten better results using the 4" buffs than
with 6" buffs (slower surface speed). I try to constantly change
directions when buffing but this is not always possible when buffing
around other components, such as a bezel. I have also tried ZAM and
Fabulustre but have not achieved any better results than using
tripoli then red rouge. I just don’t think it should be this
difficult. I don’t remember having this much trouble way back in my
high school jewelry class (many moons ago!). I think we generally
used steel wool back then. I haven’t tried this yet. What processes
do others use? What could I be doing wrong/better?
Thanks in advance for your feedback, Dale
P.S. - Just a point of interest on another deox sterling alloy. I
recently had some castings done and they talked me into using a deox
alloy. When I asked what the alloy consisted of, they said this
particular alloy was 92.5% silver, 5% germanium, 2.5% copper.