Polishing Hard to Reach Areas
1 Minute Read
When it comes to fine jewelry making polishing is a very important step - it can be the difference between an okay piece and a high-end piece. Personally, I like to polish every single corner of a piece, no matter how small or tight it may be.
But sometimes, it can be difficult to get into every nook and cranny. To accomplish this, I transform old yellow treated muslin buffs into new smaller versions, perfect for reaching into tight corners. I also cut the buffs into triangle shapes. These two configurations give me the versatility to reach any corner of a piece.
I normally use a 5-inch wheel that has three rows of stitching although any size wheel will work for this project. Before the second row of stitching on the wheel is gone and it is no longer good, I carefully cut the wheel apart using a scalpel knife. I then cut all of the threads that hold the buff together.
I separate the layers of the buff and cut out discs. I can cut up to three layers at a time by using a hollow metal punch I found online. Originally designed to cut leather, the punches come in a set of 12, with sizes ranging from 1/8 to 3/4 of an inch. The punches also work well for cutting out sandpaper discs.
After cutting out the discs, i use a 1 mm drill to make a hole through the centers. This allows me to stack as many discs as I need on a miniature mandrel.
To create triangle buffs, I use scissors to cut out the shapes. I then insert the buff into a split mandrel and use it as if it were sandpaper. I prefer these buffs over brushes because not only are they easier to get into every surface of the piece, but I've also noticed that polishing compound sticks better to the muslin buff material. Also, because these materials have a greater contact area with the metal, they give me better results.
Once I have everything cut out, I follow my normal polishing steps of coarse, medium, and fine sandpaper and then Tripoli and rouge using my new tools.
The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. “More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry,” says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.
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