Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Removing burnisher marks


Starting to get the hang of flush mount and bezel setting after
watching Blaine Lewis’s DVD. On a couple of flush mounts I did, I
let the burnisher slip and it left a nice mark on the metal. Is there
a way to refinish the metal? I’m using colored stones and am
concerned about scratching them. Blaine Lewis mentioned he uses Zamm
as a final finish when using colored stones if I remember correctly.
I haven’t tried that yet.

Any tips or tricks?

Hi Chris, and others!

If your graver, or burnisher slips while Flush/Gypsy setting here is
your how-to-repair answer.

Use a flat-faced Pumice wheel of #180 grit and run the wheel flat
against the slipped section of the metal. When you see that your
wheel has removed much of that indentation, then you should use a
Pink, Flat-faced #1,000grit wheel, this avoids using a polishing
machine to do that intricate clean-up! Both mini-Pumice wheels are
approximately 7/8 inch diameter. Run the either two wheels right
against the edge of the setting hole. I find both grits are fantastic
in removal of any ‘slip-ups’.

I actually once removed a ‘slip-up’ on an Opal Cabochon. The
plant-manager couldn’t find the repaired spot. It’s not the tools at
your bench, but knowing how to use your tools when you are in a bind.


Hi Chris, unfortunately the trick is not to slip. If you do slip and
make a groove you’re stuck with filing it out or rubber wheeling
with a flat edged wheel. The thing is that you can’t leave any dips
or ripples in the surface, so you have to work a larger area than
the groove to remove the material around the groove. You want to
leave no evidence of an imperfection. Once you have the area smooth
with a fine rubber wheel, you can use a high polish silicon wheel to
get a near mirror finish and then polish as you normally would.
Being careful not to polish away the metal from around your flush
setting. Or if you have a laser welder, you can just fill the groove
and finish it.


True about filling the blemish with the laser, which I would do if
it were me, and also true that barring filling scratch, you have to
completely refinish the area.

another method is to use a rotating burnisher to knock the metal
smooth. You can make one too by modifying a bolt (remove threading on
the bottom inch or so) and add some square washers with the corners
ground down a bit. Add a thin o ring between each to allow a minimal
space, bolt it together as tightly as you can and the washers
rotations literally beat out the metal, smoothing it as a planishing
hammer would if it were larger. I think Charles-Lewton Brain also has
a version of the rotary burnishing mandrel you can make too in his
Bench tricks book. or check the ganoksin archives - I know I saw
another one somewhere in the past few years. The actual factory made
item is around 12 -15 dollars from most reliable supply vendors from
Armstrong, Tool, to Roseco, Contenti, FDJ tools, Otto Frei, Grobet,
Gesswein, Rosenthal;s etc. It’s a nifty concept as the factory
rollers save pieces from the scrap heap with very little effort
compared to the horror of tool slippage! Anyway look at the
catalogues if my description is too vague- it’s late!..rer


removing marks from jewellery and bezel setting, not from slips,
just the normal marks. I used the rubberised disks.

I mentioned this to an English trained diamond mechanic (his term).
I have seen his setting and it is of the highest quality.

He looked at me as if I was an idiot. He then went and got the tools
he uses to clean up his jewellery before polishing.

Various pieces of wood and metal wrapped with sandpapers up to 3000
grit. He then kindly showed me how he used each one.

There is a demo of this on Leonids blog on how to wrap a piece of
metal with sandpaper.

His reasoning is that one has better control and produces a higher
quality finish. The extra time it takes is worth the higher quality
finish. And it is a lot harder to slip than with a disk in a flexi.

I now use the sandpaper sticks far more than the rubberised disks.

So hello newbies you do not need to spend a lot of money on tools to
produce the highest quality.

The best thing you can do is befriend a master craftsman.

Go talk to the jewellers in your area you will soon find those who
wish to pass on their knowledge and those who are a little precious
(and nervous about their skill level).

Masters know you will never be as good as them until you put in the
years on the bench.

That is you will never catch up and so will never be competition to

Masters are interested in you improving.


When a burnisher slips it rarely removes metal. Instead it pushes up
ridges on either side of the “scratch”. You can use abrasives to
remove the ridges and groove, but what you may end up with is a lower
surface than you wanted.

To mitigate the problem, prior to going at the mark with an
abrasive, run the burnisher over the scratch in a parallel direction.
This will push some of the metal back into the groove so you won’t
have to remove as much surface with an abrasive. You may even remove
the scratch altogether.

Never burnish across a scratch, always burnish in the same
direction, and use the finest abrasive possible. If your original,
undamaged surface was already well polished you may find success with
4/0 emery paper, especially paper that has been well charged with
metal from previous uses.

Good luck.

An elderly Yemenite jeweler in Jerusalem who makes/made religious
ceremonial objects removes bad scratches on highly polished silver
by using spit and circular movements with a burnisher, followed by
light rouge on soft buff…:-)…

Janet in Jerusalem

Thanks to all you experienced jewelers who share your tips. It’s
tips like these that I can’t find in books. I wish I knew more
jewelers so I could pick their brains but I do have orchid.