How to Make and Use a Burnishing Tool

When I was just starting in the jewelry industry, I didn’t have a “mentor” or someone to teach me what to do, or not to do. I learned a lot by looking at a project, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and how I would accomplish my idea. I did a lot of things wrong, but I also did a lot of things out of my comfort zone, to learn.

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Tool modification is always right up there with one of my favorite subjects, so whenever I can, I will bring it up and show you something to help you in your craft. I’m there for ya…..

Today we will make and use a small burnishing tool to get into tight spots and smooth and polish. First, get one of those small burs that you broke, but refused to throw away because the “JewelryMonk” told you not to because you would be able to use it again. Sand off the tip to a point, rotating it as you sand it on a Snap On Disc. After you get it good and uniform in shape, sand it smoother on a piece of 400 Grit Sandpaper by hand, or put in your Foredom and spin and sand till smooth.

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Next, take a piece of paper, any scratch paper will do, and add some Yellow Rouge to it by rubbing the rouge on the paper, over and over, till there is a thin layer of rouge on the paper. Place your bur into your foredom and spin and drag it over the rouge covered paper. This will polish the bur into a shiny point. I like to place the bur into a Pin Vise to make it easier to hold.

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 Now just rub the burnisher firmly over the piece you want to burnish, or polish. be careful not to mark the jewelry with the tip of the burnisher. Just rub over the area you want smooth and shiny and it works like magic. If the area you are burnishing starts to get a little dull, just rub the tool over the yellow rouge covered paper again, this will shine the tip again.

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There you have it, a simple tool to make, but the burnisher is one of the most under-utilized tools you can have. Make them in different sizes and shapes.

Feel free to share this with your jewelry making friends, they will thank you for it, and also think you are Super-Smart. haha

Take care and have a “smooth” day.


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11 Responses to How to Make and Use a Burnishing Tool

  1. Dana August 12, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    Your tips are always so helpful and amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    • JewelryMonk August 12, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      Thank you so much Dana.

  2. Charlie October 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    Thank you very much Doug for your generosity in sharing your knowledge. I’ve bookmarked your site, glad to have found Jewelry Monk. Also keep those Podcasts coming : )

    • JewelryMonk October 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      Thank you Charlie, I will keep it coming and the podcasts as well. Cleaning up my plate so I can get the podcast on a weekly schedule.

  3. milt November 29, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Enjoy much!

  4. Moira November 4, 2015 at 8:52 am #

    Hi Jewelry Monk! I’m in the UK and was trying to find out exactly what my Gt Gt grandpa did in the mid 19th century. He was a button burnisher and I assumed he was polishing buttons all day but looking at this article about your burnishing tool has given me a real insight into what he did, especially with more intricate buttons!
    Thanks again,

    • Doug Napier November 4, 2015 at 10:58 am #

      Moria, thanks for that, that is so cool that you can have a “tie” to your history through something like this.
      Again, that is so awesome.
      Take Care

      • Moira November 5, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

        You’re welcome Doug. If you do anything on enamelling I’d love to see that too.

        • Doug Napier November 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

          Will let you know.


  1. How To Use A Burnishing Tool To Polish | JewelryMonk - March 14, 2016

    […] let me direct you to a Blog Post I did over a year ago on how to make a burnishing tool out of an old bur. This post will show you […]