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Trouble with Final Polishing


#1

Hi.

This is my first posting. I recently learned about ganoksin.com from
an article in the “Art Jewelry” magazine.

I am new to silversmithing and am having a little trouble with my
final polishing. I do a lot of pre-polishing but even so, the
pickling after soldering means that you have more polishing to do.
Are there any tips (besides altering my design) for getting into
really tight places between design elements? I have used all manner
of points, tips and knife edges, mostly in hard felt, and generally
I am not happy with the result.

Dianne Lehmann
Dewey, AZ


#2
This is my first posting. I recently learned about ganoksin.com
from an article in the "Art Jewelry" magazine. I am new to
silversmithing and am having a little trouble with my final
polishing. 

As others have suggested - prepolish helps but i use a scraper with
great effect in tight or hard to polish areas. The ones available to
purchase are far too large and wide to be much use for many
applications and mine are made from old 7+1/2" long triangle needle
files with the end 1" carefully ground smooth and then polished
rubbing them lenghway on very fine [800 then 1200] grit
sanding/polishing paper placed on a flat glass [2" by 6"] plate. I
fit no handles as they need to be griped close the the end. If unused
to using scrapers it can take much practice, but mine have done me
well providing a finish few can compete with.

CjH - from beautiful NZ.


#3
Are there any tips (besides altering my design) for getting into
really tight places between design elements? I have used all
manner of points, tips and knife edges, mostly in hard felt, and
generally I am not happy with the result. 

Hi, Lapidary girl! You can thrum. Take some string, and rub it with
abrasive (I use a string which is doubled and tied to my bench, one
length is coated with tripoly and the other with green rouge.) Thread
it into whatever nooks, holes (like the inside of a bail) or whatever
you need to polish and saw it back and forth.

Second, more elegant solution; consider using different textures and
finishes on your pieces with the convoluted nooks and crannies, so
that you do not have to bring them to a high polish. Myself, I rather
fancy the whiteness of pickled sterling on some of my pieces, and
will just give it a matte finish by rubbing with baking soda rather
than polishing off all of that nice whiteness.

Lee


#4

A Little trick I learned was to get a small piece of sponge in a
small tin can like a mint tin or something like it and cut a hole in
the top of it in the shape of an ellipse. Soak the sponge with oil of
wintergreen be careful not to splatter it into your eyes so you might
want to wear eye protection.

Get a small flex shaft sized soft bristle disc brush mounted on a
mandrel (Rio Grande 338-464 you can look it up in the back of the
catalog by item number). Spin the bristles on the soaked sponge and
pick up some of the oil and the pick up some of you polishing
compound up and polish the hard to get areas. I have had much
success with this method and have used it with all compounds from
bobbing to rouge. Good Luck!


#5

Dianne,

Try the 3M bristle brushes (small for the flexshaft), but keep it
moving to avoid “drag” lines on your piece. The finest gives a nice
sheen, which may be hardly noticeable after you give your piece the
final polish; but repeat… .keep it moving while applying.

Kay Taylor


#6

Dear Dianne,

To give better advice I would need to actually see what you having
trouble with. If you can take a digital picture, send me a close-up
image through the magazine’s website.

But, if you have pre-polished and then soldered and pickled, in
theory you should only have to lightly buff with a soft muslin buff
(using a finishing rouge) to remove the white, fine-silver residue
that is on the piece when the piece comes out of the pickle.

It may just be the hard felt buffs. Are you getting a rippled uneven
surface effect?

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#7

Thank you to everyone who replied to my question. I will give them
all a try and see which works best. To Nanz Aalund: it is the tight
places that give me trouble and I do sincerely appreciate your
willingness to help me with my dilemma.

Dianne


#8
Are there any tips (besides altering my design) for getting into
really tight places between design elements? I have used all manner
of points, tips and knife edges, mostly in hard felt, and generally
I am not happy with the result.

One word: brushes! I use them with tripoli and white rouge, and they
get in everywhere.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA


#9
Soak the sponge with oil of wintergreen be careful not to splatter
it into your eyes so you might want to wear eye protection. Spin
the bristles on the soaked sponge and pick up some of the oil and
the pick up some of you poli shing compound up and polish the hard
to get areas

You might want to research the archives before you use oil of
wintergreen. (Methyl salicylate) Or look up the MSDS?

Any “vegetable” based oil will make polishing compounds stick to
bristle brushes, some better than others. Experiment.

Please don’t use wintergreen.

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA
209-477-0550


#10
Are there any tips (besides altering my design) for getting into
really tight places between design elements? I have used all
manner of points, tips and knife edges, mostly in hard felt, and
generally I am not happy with the result. One word: brushes! I use
them with tripoli and white rouge, and they get in everywhere. 

A few more ideas. With brushes, include the use of small wire
brushes first. They’ll get into areas and at least brighten them up
via burnishing. Better than raw cast surfaces.

toothpicks can be used with a bit of compound in a flex shaft. With
fast cutting compounds like platinum tripoli and rouge, even the slow
surface speed of a rotating toothpick will have an effect. Used in a
micromotor, they’re even more effective.

sometimes, the problem isn’t so much getting it bright and shiney,
as getting it even and smooth first. “scotch” stones, or other pencil
abrasives like the die makers use on steel, can be surprisingly
effective in this, and because the motion is forward and back, or
side to side, instead of rotary, you don’t dig in troughs from a
rotary tool. If you’ve got access to a die filer handpiece, fine
files used with the tool set to a very short stroke (or with
ultrasonic filers/polishers that automatically use a short stroke)
you can literally lap right down into a square corner.

Investigate tumbling methods. Magnetic tumblers have come down in
price a good deal, at the entry level, since first introduced, and do
a remarkable job of getting into tiny details and burnishing them
bright. Standard vibrating tumblers, with fine media like finely
ground walnut shell, also can be quite effective in getting into
details.

Don’t underestimate the power of plain old string. Kite cord, cotton
string of various types, dental floss, etc. All of them with a bit of
compound applied can cut and polish much more quickly than intuition
born of using powered buffers would suggest.

The 3M micro polishing papers/films are a whole new take on
sandpaper. With polyester (I think) backings, instead of cloth or
paper, and very finely graded abrasives, these products are
wonderful. You can cut, with scissors, thin strips of the stuff, put
it in a saw frame, thread it into tiny openings, and sand with great
precision. Progress through the grit sequences of the polishing
films and then the finer/thinner lapping films, and you almost don’t
need rouge.

And don’t forget burnishing. You can turn an old broken bur into a
custom shaped burnisher in a few minutes. Hold it in a handle like
those used for millgrain wheels, and you can, with a bit of practice,
get very nicely refined and bright surfaces. If you instead of the
burs, get some carbide rod, and go to the trouble of making the
burnishers in carbide, you’ll find the results even more dramatic.

And for the fine knife edge buffing problems, don’t forget some of
the polishing grades of silicone rubber wheels. Many types are
available, including ones that lead to a very high polish. And the
knife edge styles of these start out with a knife edge that is much
thinner than anything you can get with a hard felt wheel. They may
not last all that long, but they’re not expensive either. The ones
from germany that use diamond as the abrasive, especially when used
in a micro motor or other high speed handpiece, cut metal like butter,
and leave a wonderful surface. Costly, but if your jewelry warrants
the use of ten dollar rubber wheels, then the results can be worth it
(and they DO last a while).

cheers
Peter


#11

Would the Ruby Stone or Supra Ceramic Stone abrasive sticks, in a
Recipro Z-2X, Z-6X Profiler, or Ultrasonic Polisher from Gesswein’s
Mold and Die catalog work for what you are trying to polish?


#12
Please don't use wintergreen 

Gee…thanks for the heads up I will definitely switch from the
wintergreen. I learned the “trick” from a woman I worked for who
picked up from someone else ages ago.