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Polishing of intricate pieces


#1

I have designed several rings with filigree work between two shanks.
My problem is in polishing the fine filigree. My polisher says he
cannot do it. His tools cannot reach the small crevices in the ring.
Are there jewelers out there who could do this for me or does anyone
have any tips.

Any leads would be most appreciated.

vikas


#2

Anything is possible— The question is, is it feasable or
economically plactical? One way to get started is to buy abrasive
string - machinists use it more (www.msc.com won’t be the cheapest,
but they should have it to see) You can also use string or thread
with compound on it, you can also use toothpicks in a flexshaft
(lapidary’s secret weapon). The problem is - toothpicks or similar
won’t reach inside filigree without drastically rounding the edges,
and string will have to be strung into each and every hole - a most
laborious process. If you mean to polish the OUTSIDE of the wires -
that is a simple thing, just use brushes. I’m assuming, since the
outer part is so simple to polish, that you mean the inner surfaces.
My question is, though, why would you want to? a nice buff on the
surfaces of the wires should be real fine looking, I would think…


#3
I have designed several rings with filigree work between two
shanks. My problem is in polishing the fine filigree. My polisher
says he cannot do it. His tools cannot reach the small crevices in
the ring. 

If the fine steel pin tumbler finish is too dull it only leaves -
black polishing the best you can, then full, followed by partial
bombings to produce a brilliant finish. [DONE WITH MUCH CARE]

Regards
colin.


#4

try some cotton string with tripoli or rouge on the string. just
pull it in a sawing motion but beware you dont over cut - goo


#5

Vikas

Cotton twine and string work pretty good. Mineral oil will hold the
grit, I suppose water would to. Not real fast, but it will do the
job.

Terry


#6

Dear Vikas,

I have designed several rings with filigree work between two
shanks. My problem is in polishing the fine filigree. 

A rotary tumbler with mixed steel shot or a CMF (centrifugal
Magnetic Finisher) will polish those hard to reach places easy.
Depending on the piece expect about 20 minutes to 2 hours in a
traditional rotary tumbler and 10 to 20 minutes in a CMF. And you
save yourself the headache of finding and paying someone to do it.

Tools are so COOL!

Sincerely,
Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Sales and Support
Please feel free to contact our Technical Sales and Support Team anytime
technicalsupport@tbg.riogrande.com


#7

Vikas,

If you have no luck finding someone to polish your filigree pieces,
you may look into a magnetic pin finisher. The larger ones have a
speed control so you can adjust how agressive the polishing action
is. Depending on how intricate and tight the filigree is, you may
have some pins stuck into tight curves but they are usually quite
easy to remove. These tumblers should do a very nice job on filigree
because the pin size is so small, it allows the pins to get into
very tight places.

If you have any further questions on these types of tumblers, Please
feel free to contact our Technical Sales Team anytime"

Respectfully,

Phillip Scott G.G.
Technical Support & Sales
Rio Grande
1-800-545-6566
technicalsupport@tbg.riogrande.com


#8

Hello Vikas,

I polish filigree and granulation with a few different techniques. A
soft bristle brush on the polishing machine will go where a muslin
buff cannot reach, and is less aggresive. Tripoli lightly and rouge.
Or with a flex shaft, one can use small brushes, I like the ones with
suede in the middle to hold onto the Tripoli. They come soft, medium
and hard. After Tripoli and rouge, you need to steam clean or soak to
get the polish out of the filigree.

I also use a vibratory tumbler with stainless steel shot and a good
quirt of Dawn dish liquid. I use a custom blend of mixed shot with
extra needles that reach between the wires and granules. After
tumbling, Since I don’t usually go for a super shiny finish I can
use fine pumice and then rotten stone (finer pumice) with a
toothbrush to get a nice soft lustre. Then I rouge the tops of the
granules and filigree with a rouge stick by hand, for contrast. Using
the tumbler first gives a nice smooth finish to bring down a notch
to the lustre. If you want the high gloss finish just stop after the
tumbler. Good Luck.

Regards,
Fredricka Kulicke

Fredricka Kulicke School of Jewelry Art
239 New Road, Suite B 101
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Tel. 201-230-2973
http://kulickejewelryschool.com/


#9

Oh Happiness - there is a tool perfectly designed for your need. Get
a magnetic finisher - they do a splendid job of burnishing in all
tiny spots - exceptionally fine for filigree.

And if you want a higher polish - you can use a drag finisher for
the finest possible finish - after the magnetic finisher. Both are
short cycle.

Judy Hoch


#10

Vikas,

I love my magnetic tumbler. It runs pretty small steel spikes that
can get into spots nothing else can. Also the action of the little
spikes serves to harden the small wires which is usually a good
thing. Janet in Mill Valley where we are having either a glorious
respite from the winter storms or it’s already Spring.


#11

Thackery,

In your reply to this topic, you mention using a rotary tumbler with
mixed steel shot for up to 2 hours. How to avoid the black rubber
tumbler barrel interior from discoloring the metal?

Been there, done that, thanks,
Terrie


#12

Hi,

It sounds like you’ve got a job that’s best done with a tumbler &
steel/stainless steel shot.

About 1/2 hour in a vibratory tumbler with assorted shapes of shot
will probably do the trick.

Dave


#13

Terrie, I use the stainless steel shot with water and original Dawn
in my rotary tumbler all the time, with sterling, Argentium, and Art
Clay Silver. Never once have I had discoloration problems. From what
I understand, it has to be something else getting in there to react
with the rubber and contaminate the barrel. Love the ease of the
polishing!

Kerry
CeltCraft Beads & Jewelry


#14
In your reply to this topic, you mention using a rotary tumbler
with mixed steel shot for up to 2 hours. How to avoid the black
rubber tumbler barrel interior from discoloring the metal? 

Ah, this is always a tuff one. First let me say people do so many
different things with their tumblers and there are so many different
tumblers with different barrel types I don’t know if I can answer
all the issues, but I can address the most common pitfalls. 09 1st,
keep your steel shot and barrel clean! Dump that water after EVERY
use, then rinse the barrel and steel shot. Your equipment is an
investment so take the time to maintain and clean it.

2nd, use a burnishing compound, burnishing compounds are engineered
for this application, soap is not. Don’t over mix or add more
burnishing compound than is recommended.

3rd, and this is probably the biggest error people make with a
rotary tumbler and steel media. Do not burnish more than 6 hours.
You can only work harden the surface of metal so much, after that
you’re doing more harm than good. Compounds break down and become
ineffective, your work starts to flake microscopically and those
flakes immediately oxidize and then imbed themselves to the barrel,
steel media and your work, making quite a black or gray mess of your
work. This also happens when the solution is not changed out and the
barrel/media is not regularly cleaned.

4th, take the time to educate yourself on the mass finishing
process, Judy Hoch has a wonderful book, and we carry a great video
as well. Remember it’s fun to play with all that cool equipment.

Hope this helps.
Sincerely,

Thackeray

Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Sales and Support
Please feel free to contact our Technical Sales and Support team anytime
technicalsupport@tbg.riogrande.com