Monday, 21 January 2013

"Polishing " Jewelry Making Process

1 Polishing motor with built in extractor:  2 lambswool mop on machine for rouge polish:  3 felt cone for polishing inside a ring;  4 felt lap;  5 muslin mop: 6 abrasive mops. Polishing gives metal a reflective shine and a smooth finish, and it is achieved either by systematic hand finishing or by the use of an electric motor with polishing mops. 

Hand polishing 

When you have finished a piece as far as fine grade wet and dry sandpapers, you have several options. If you want a textured finish, turn to Texturing. Here we discuss the ways in which you can give a piece a highly polished finish.

You can buy, or make, a felt polishing stick. This is a piece of wood, approximately 1/4 x 1 x 10 inches, with a piece of thick felt, measuring about 1 x 5 inches, stuck to one end. Squeeze some lighter fluid onto the felt and rub some tripoli polish compound into the fuel. Tripoli is a dark brown, fairly greasy polish, which is supplied in long blocks. Rub the felt briskly over the work. You will need two or three felt sticks, with a different polish on each one. 

Polishing a ring on a polishing motor  Hold a ring in both hands so that it is just below the horizontal axis of the mop. (If you imagine that the vertical axis runs from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock and the horizontal axis runs from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock, you should hold the work at about 4 o'clock.)
Spread a soft chamois leather over a flat surface, squeeze some lighter fluid on it, and rub in some fine rouge polish, in either block or powder form. You can also use kerosene to dissolve rouge powder on the leather. Rub the work vigorously on the leather before cleaning off the polish with a clean cloth.

The inside of awkward areas can be polished with a shank of fine strings. Hang the shank over a hook or fasten them into a vise, and take as many of the strings as you will need. Soak these strings with lighter fluid and rub polish into the moist area. Thread the strings through the section that you want to polish and rub the piece holding the strings tight.

Liquid metal cleaners

which can also be used for plastics and acrylics, can be applied with a soft cotton cloth. Take care that you do not use a liquid that is too abrasive. Use an impregnated silver cloth to give a final shine to a piece, but these cloths alone will not polish metal.

Polish the Inside of a Ring on a felt cone,which should be screwed to the shaft of the polishing motor.Hold the ring with both hands and press the sides against the cone while you rotate the ring.

Using a flexible shaft machine 

A flexible shaft machine with small mop attachments is ideal for polishing small or difficult areas. Polishing is a dirty and dusty job, and when you are working at your bench with a flexible shaft machine, you can prevent the polish from flying everywhere by dipping the mop in kerosene before you apply the polish. As with hand-held polishing sticks, keep separate mops for each polish. Hold your work firmly in one hand, using the bench pin for support, and hold the shaft of the flexible shaft' machine in the other hand.

Using a polishing motor

A polishing motor has one or two arms to which different mops can be attached.. You should try to make sure that the motor sits in some kind of box, with enough clear area around it for the spindle arm, in which all the polishing dust can be caught. Keep separate mops for the different kinds of polish. 

Use a brass mop and detergent to give silver a matte finish.When you use a polishing motor, always wear safety glasses, tie back any loose or long hair, and do not wear any loose clothing or jewelry that might get caught in the revolving wheel. Screw the appropriate mop to the spindle and stand in line with your work so that you can see clearly what you are doing.

Switch on the machine, then hold the polish against the mop for 2-3 seconds before holding your work firmly and squarely against the mop. 

Turn the work between polishing strokes, but remember that the mop has a very fast action, and it is easy to lose the crisp edges and corners by over-polishing. Place the sides of the piece directly on the mop, and any difficult angles can be worked by using the edge of the mop.

A felt mop is mounted onto a flexible shaft machine to polish difficult areas. Work on your bench pin, hold the mop on a block of polish while it is rotating, and then carefully polish inside the piece. Take care that the metal shaft does not mark the silver edges.After the first polish with tripoli compound, clean and dry the work before using another polish on another mop. At this point, you can go straight to a soft muslin or lambswool mop, used with a rouge polish.


When you have polished the articles, clean them by placing them in an ovenproof dish of hot water and either a liquid cleaning agent or a household detergent to which you have added a teaspoon of ammonia.

Writer – Jinks McGrath
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