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Removing Patina from a finished piece

Hi everyone, I am new to Ganoskin. I have a question. After you patina your piece, and then want to remove some patina for highlights, what method do you use? I have been using a buffing wheel and zam, but its not detailed enough. Tips greatly appreciated.

Hello,
You didn’t mention what metal you are working with or what patina you are using. A little more information would be helpful.
Dee

Sterling silver, I either use black max or liver of sulphur.

If you want to completely remove LOS and you don’t have any heat sensitive embellishments or stones on the piece you can heat it and the LOS will burn off. If you just want to remove some of the LOS from high areas and leave it in the recesses, try using pro polishing pads from Rio (item 337020). Or, a Sunshine cloth will work too. I don’t use Max Black, so I don’t know if these techniques will work on your pieces with that patina.
D

I currently use polishing pads, and I use a buff wheel with Zam… I dont want to remove it all just highlights… I was just hoping there was a better way that what I am doing

There are multiple techniques to do things in jewelry making. If you’re lucky, there will be more suggestions. Have you tried searching the archives?
D

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I use good old fashion fine steel wool. Then a sunshine polishing cloth. I get any bits of steel wool pieces out with a too brush and dish soap. Works great for me.

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Could you clarify what you mean by “not detailed enough?”

It removes patina from the grooves where I want it, for example If I stamp, I want patina in the stamp pattern. Cant figure out how to get the piece shiny but still have patina in the stamp pattern

I can’t add to what has already been suggested other than to run whatever buff you are using on a small wheel on you flexshaft. You might have more control. What I can suggest is that you experiment with tumbling the finished patinated piece in stainless steel shot. It changes the bark finish to one that has a nice shine to it, but is still dark. Good luck…Rob

Another thought: If one of Rio’s Pro Polishing Pads or a Sunshine Cloth is removing LOS from your recessed areas, the techniques you are using to add texture might not be making a deep enough impression. And, the suggestion to tumble your pieces with stainless steel shot is another very good technique to burnish the high spots and leave patina in the recesses. Don’t get discouraged, keep experimenting, good luck.
D

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If you’re using any sort of soft or fluffy buff, whether on a polishing motor or in a handpiece, the nap of the buff is going to reach down into shallow crevices and polish the metal.
You need to use a very hard wheel, or a hard lap, or a manual polishing stick with a leather strop, not chamois, to make sure that there is no nap to reach down into the crevices.
Depending on how many pieces you’re doing a stick with a piece of hard leather glued to it may be your best bet. Make sure it is hard leather, oak or vegetable tanned, and not chrome tanned garment leather, suede, or chamois.

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Are your pieces clean before you apply the patina? Cleanliness is very important. If I were you, I’d take some scrap and do some experiments. Try making deeper impressions by working on a steel bench block, clean well and then patina. Without doing anything else to the piece try putting it in a tumbler with stainless steel shot for an hour or two. If you don’t have a tumbler check Harbor Freight for an inexpensive one. Check out instructions online for how much water to use and what type of lubricant to add. Too much water or shot can make the tumbler barrel too heavy and it won’t turn. Also, be warned that tumbling will work harden your piece, so make sure you are finished working on it and won’t need to anneal it for any reason. If you are going to try Zam and a buff I would Not use a Buff with a lot of Fluff because that’s going to get into the recessed areas and remove the patina. I don’t know what type of polishing pads you are using, but Pro Polishing Pads from Rio are a very specific product that remove patina and tarnish from non-ferrous metals. Finally, if you don’t have the book PATINA by Matthew Runfola, you might want to check it out, it’s a good reference.
Dee

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Tumbling will NOT work harden your piece. At best a couple of microns might be surface hardened, but not work hardened.

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Im not trying to work harden my piece and I know tumbling does not…

If you are finding that patinating your piece is taking what you think is too much time, you can heat the piece and apply patina with a brush more in the areas where you want it. That will at least mean less patina to remove on the high spots. Hope this helps.

I recently came across a tumbling medium called Hone and Highlight which is designed specifically to remove patina from high points leaving it in the recesses. I have tried it once and it was fabulous! The piece must be sturdy w thicker bezels and stones must not be set yet, however. After using HandH I then tumbled with stainless steel shot to shine it up. Perfect combo. www.honeandhighlight.com

I use propolish pads followed by zam and then sunshine cloth otherwise.

Easy way to remove patina from high points: What you need: clean 100% soft cotton cloth (I use old cotton dress gloves; olive oil or other good veggie oil; fine grit pumice powder; Sunshine Cloth. 1. Put on the glove;; 2. Dip a finger in the oil and then into the pumice; 3. Wipe the finger across your piece; 4. Rinse the piece under warm water with mild dishwashing detergent (I like Seventh Generation); Wipe vigorously with the Sunshine Cloth. Done.

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Thanks for the correction on work-hardening in a tumbler. Checking the archives I see this is no longer the conventional wisdom. Although I do find it seems to have a hardening effect on 22 gauge Argentium earrings I make using 21 gauge ear wires.

I also use pumice, but just with my bare fingers, which is not ideal for your hands! I find that, like with using steel wool, it takes about 3 rounds of patina, rubbing to get the kind of detail I’m looking for. Then brush with a soapy brass brush.