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The final finish


#1

I would like to know what a prefered final finish is for things like
pendant backs etc. I have always tried to leave the finish high
gloss, but scratches etc show up quicky after being worn. Any
suggestions would be welcome.

Gerry


#2
I would like to know what a prefered final finish is for things
like pendant backs etc. I have always tried to leave the finish
high gloss, but scratches etc show up quicky after being worn 

Well, you can’t prevent scratches from when a piece is worn but I
find most scratches in my work are from cleaning up after the
polishing.

To avoid scratches, for sterling silver and 14k gold I finish polish
with ZAM on a chamois wheel. Then for clean up I soak it in full
strength Simple Green for a couple minutes. Then over the sink for a
light brushing with a soft tooth brush around the detail but I don’t
brush the back. I then rinse it off and use a clean old cotton
diaper, that graced the backsides of my kids some 18-21 years ago,
to blot it off. Then I place the piece under an incandescent lamp to
complete the drying. Then if some small scratches show up I rebuff
the back only and don’t clean it.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
rockymountainwonders.com


#3

Gerry,

I would like to know what a prefered final finish is for things
like pendant backs etc. 

Sterling scratches if you look at it cross eyed. Since forever I
have high polished then hand brass brushed with soapy water. It is
going to scratch anyways, might as well start the process. To my eye
it looks better than the chrome bumper finish which has a half life
of minutes.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#4

You can use any finish you like, but I would avoid any finish that
might catch on fabric, chest hair, or be abrasive to skin. Within
those limitations use whatever compliments and enhances the overall
design.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV


#5
Since forever I have high polished then hand brass brushed with
soapy water. It is going to scratch anyways, might as well start
the process. To my eye it looks better than the chrome bumper finish
which has a half life of minutes. 

Hi Jeff. I’ve tried doing the brass brush finish on one occasion, but
for some reason, all I got was a build-up of a horrible oily
substance and I had no idea where it came from. The silver was clean
and the brass brush was brand new. Can you give any tips on how do
that type of finish?

Helen
UK


#6

Try texturing the backplate prior to constructing the pendant or pin
or earring. You can use a rolling mill and patterned brass, handmade
paper, patterned steel, wire, lace, sewing thread, sandpaper, fabric,
textured wallpaper - anything that makes a close, interesting pattern
on the metal. Simply make a sandwich of the metal to be patterned,
the stuff to print on the metal and, if needed, another piece of
metal to protect the rollers on your mill. Or use a couple of stamps
or a nail set - anything to make the back not shiny. I usually
texture both sides of the metal at the same time. Then the front
won’t show abuse either.

If you don’t have a mill, try scotch-brite, scotch stone, swirled
application of sandpaper - something to make it not shiny. These
applications would be applied after completing the piece.

Not too surprising, all of these textures are ideal for tumble
finishing. Save your hands and your lungs from buffing compound. The
last thing you do is set stones.

Your customers will love the idea that the back is finished with
their private surprise. Suggest that finger prints and scratches
aren’t pretty and this (pattern) won’t show scratches. Make jewelry
to wear, not to fuss with.

Judy Hoch


#7

Gerry,

I would like to know what a prefered final finish is for things
like pendant backs etc. 

When we talk to designers about how they would like their items
finished, Often, the back of the piece has not been thought out. As
we all know, High polished finishes scratch and ding easily…
usually the minute the customer takes them out of the careful
packaging they came in.

What we suggest which works well with models made for casting is that
your logo and quality marks should be engraved or stamped into the
back of the MODEL. You can then texture around the logo/ quality mark
with a nice deep pattern that enhances /makes the log more visible.
Then leave a narrow 1mm smooth border around the back edge of the
design. Doing it this way reduces your polishing costs and greatly
reduces the possibility of visible defects in an area that may not be
easy to polish. This also allows you to use vibratory, Steel shot or
magnetic finishing to get to areas that need to be brightened before
hand polishing. Concave backs, flat backs and ring interiors and many
other styles will be much easier to finish.

Daniel Grandi
Racecar Jewelry Co. Inc.
http://www.racecarjewelry.com


#8

Helen,

Brass brush finish 101, or how do it

Fine brush with really thin wires, usually set into a wood handle
which self destructs far before its time (expensive consumable) Lots
of soapy water, hand dish soap type although mixed really strong. If
you are lazy like me just dip the brush in the ultrasonic.

Possible to do with power too, years ago there was one at school
(ok, I admit to going to school but not for too long :slight_smile: As I
remember about a 6" very soft brass brush wheel at at maybe 100 RPM,
drip feed on the soap and a good splash guard.

Either way… gentle and lots of soapy water.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#9

Hi Helen,

I've tried doing the brass brush finish on one occasion, but for
some reason, all I got was a build-up of a horrible oily substance
and I had no idea where it came from. The silver was clean and the
brass brush was brand new. Can you give any tips on how do that
type of finish? 

An alternative to brass brushes is the 3M Radial Bristle Discs. You
can get them in just about any grit, and because they’re stackable,
whatever width you need. I’ve only used them dry, with no residue
issues:

http://www.ottofrei.com/store/home.php?cat=1361

A third option for a satin or brushed finish is a ScotchBrite pad,
either by hand or cut to a circle for use with your flex shaft.
Again, I’ve only used dry with no residue issues:

http://www.ottofrei.com/store/home.php?cat=814

One of the best things I’ve done was spend an afternoon covering both
sides of a 6x12 copper sheet with swatches and sharpie notes from my
manual and flex shaft abrasives and bits, including a great little
wire brush assortment I got from Rio. It let me see what I had and
might need, and is still a quick reference.

Cheers,
Ann


#10
....all I got was a build-up of a horrible oily substance and I had
no idea where it came from..... 

That description sounds like firescale. It can be pushed around on
the piece with polishing tools but it’s difficult to remove from the
piece. It can be removed by rubbing it for a long time with a “Water
of Ayr” stone, which is available from a couple of UK suppliers to
the jewelry industry.


#11

Judy,

I love the idea of roll-printing the back-plate with a texture. A
shiny finish is hard to achieve and maintain. I have a question
about using this technique for a bezel setting. If you tumble polish
a completed setting as you suggest, doesn’t it harden the bezel and
make it difficult to set the stone? Or do you have to anneal it
after tumbling?

Sue


#12

Concerning brass brushes, especially the rotary types, if you are
using them on silver, you may see a yellowing effect on the metal
after using the brass wheel. However, using a steel brush on silver
won’t leave the metal yellowish, like the brass will. I use the brass
wheels only on yellow metals, the steel on about everything.

Jay Whaley
Whaley Studios


#13

I’ve never taken one of Jay Whaley’s courses but have his CD’s and
find them full of knowledge. I’m not an employee of his and will take
one of his courses in the future and have not done one before as I’m
on the other side of the U.S. However, he gives great

john


#14

This reminds me of the time I showed my sister a pendant I made for
school. The project was meant to teach us how to raise a pyramiad
shaped hollow back, construct a square bezel, and set a square buff
top stone. I handed it to my sister, expecting her to tell me how
cool my martini inspired theme was on the front of the pendant. She
was looking at the pyramiad shaped back and immediately said, “Oh
wow, this is so freakin’ cool! I love it!” She didn’t even see the
front until I told her to turn it over. So now I finish every part
of my jewelry as if it’s meant to be seen - nobody else will know
what the back looks like, but I know, and the customer knows, and I
like that.

Holly Sabia


#15

Ann - thanks so much for the great idea! My favorite book on patinas
is The Jewelers Directory of Decorative Finishes by Jinks Mcgrath

with the tiles of patinas all labelled - but I never thought of
making my own with the texturizers I have. Thank you for sharing.

Susan “Sam” Kaffine


#16

Holly

Oh wow, this is so freakin' cool! I love it!" She didn't even see
the front until I told her to turn it over. So now I finish every
part of my jewelry as if it's meant to be seen - nobody else will
know what the back looks like, but I know, and the customer knows,
and I like that. 

Reminds me of one of my really bad jeweller habits, I always look at
the back first. I have a tough time in jewellery stores because they
can instantly recognise me as an other jeweller.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#17

I remember reading that the ancient Greeks finished the unseen back
of statues and other art because the gods would see it even if
everyday people couldn’t.

Mike DeBurgh


#18

Hi Sue,

If you tumble polish a completed setting as you suggest, doesn't it
harden the bezel and make it difficult to set the stone? Or do you
have to anneal it after tumbling? 

I’d be very cautious with annealing after tumbling–at least half
the reason I polish that way is to harden.

I once cluelessly used my torch to create a beautiful chocolate
brown patina on a piece of copper chainmail (a very light torched
tint is safe). It had been approaching full hard, but at fully
annealed the rings were so soft that just holding it by one end would
tug the rings apart. Recovering it to a wearable hardness and
applying an alternate patina was quite the lesson.

I’m not familiar with mounting stones, but selectively getting just
the prongs/bezel from hard to annealed and back while the rest of the
piece is “finished” strikes me as a pain. But I’ll let Judy answer
about that portion, since she’s the expert and I’m sure she has a
trick or three!

Cheers,
Ann


#19
I love the idea of roll-printing the back-plate with a texture. A
shiny finish is hard to achieve and maintain. I have a question
about using this technique for a bezel setting. If you tumble
polish a completed setting as you suggest, doesn't it harden the
bezel and make it difficult to set the stone? Or do you have to
anneal it after tumbling? 

Sue - If you are making your bezels with fine silver or 18k or
higher, any hardening is minimal and setting is no problem. If you
are using sterling for your bezels or 14k, the bezels are slightly
harder, but not to the point of making it impossible to set a stone.
If I am making a heavy bezel in any metal, tumbling or not, I cut a
relief groove inside the bezel so that it will come down correctly.
That’s a pretty simplistic description but if you set in heavy
bezels, that is a pretty simple way to make it work.

I have never annealed the work after tumbling because it would mess
up the surface that I have just conditioned. Tumbling with
appropriate liquids has the added benefit of greatly reducing
tarnishing on silver.

Judy Hoch