Pre-Polishing Tips (Finishing)

Pre-Polishing Tips (Finishing)

rubber wheelHey everyone, I have been absent from the site for a bit, but I am doing good, staying healthy, and still making jewelry every day. I thought I would post a tip from the past, just to let y’all know I am still here. I will get back in the “groove” soon. Give me a comment to let me know you are all still out there as well. 
Today we will touch on a couple of pre-polishing tips. A few technical details in your pre-polishing will make a huge difference in the quality of your finished jewelry. Polishing “Prep” will make your finishing job easier always. spending a few extra minutes with attention to detail will save time later, and give you a much better product. Depending on what your piece is like to begin with will decide how you approach this. If you do not take time to prep your pieces before polishing, you will polish harder and more aggressive than you need to, and lose most or all of your detail, making your pieces look overworked and washed away.First, tumbling, if you are working with a casted piece, you will have a casting surface that is a little rough. If you have a Vibratory Tumbler, I would recommend a 2 stage tumbling process, the first stage I usually tumble in a Ceramic Media overnight for 8 – 12 hours. I have my tumbler hooked up to a timer, set it up overnight and get it in the morning. This will remove the casting surface and give you a consistent surface. Then I place the pieces in the same vibratory tumbler with Stainless Steel Media Mixed Shot for 1-2 hours.
Tumbler1media ceramic media steelWhat the Steel does is “burnish” the surface and give you a shiny finish in those hard to get to places. A Magnetic Pin Tumbler also works great for this operation, and will do the job much quicker. Magnetic tumbler media is a lot “finer” and will get into those hard to reach places, like between prongs and fine detail, much better. If you are not dealing with casted products and the surface is a little better to begin with, you can go right to the steel shot or magnetic pin tumbler.Tumbler2 media pinIf you do not have a tumbler, then work in “stages”. If your piece has scratches in it, you will have to remove the scratches before you start polishing. depending on the size and depth of the scratches will determine how aggressive you will work the piece. if you have deeper scratches, start with a file. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my favorite go-to file is a #4 cut Barrette Needle File, it has a good cut to it, it has “safe sides” meaning you can place the edge or side of the file against en edge of the piece, and it won’t leave a mark. If you get one of these files, I suggest you modify the sides of your file. The teeth of the file do hang over the side a little bit, so I rub it on a Whetstone to remove the burs or teeth that hang over, then polish it on a piece of paper with Yellow Rouge on it, the same way I polish my graver blades. (see day 3 lesson)Filing File sandpaperFile sandpaper2

file prep file prep2

After I file the scratches or defects out, I cut a small piece of sandpaper (400-600 grit) and wrap it around the end of the same file and sand over the area I filed. You can also attack the areas with Sanding Abrasive Discs. These discs come in different grit and work wonderful. They snap on and off quickly. I would suggest a variety of these as well. The aluminum oxide ones do a great job as well. Also rubber wheels and knife edge Cratex Wheels. You can also get these in different grits.

sandpaper hand sandpaper dics rubber wheel

One thing I am trying to show you is there are different ways to go about getting the same results. you will develop your favorite processes, I am giving you some ideas to go about it, but if you skip the preping process, you work might suffer. Use some or all of these processes to prep your pieces before polishing and you will have a much better polishing experience, and a better looking piece in the end. I will go over some polishing tips soon, so stay tuned.

Now have a Great Day!


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54 Responses to Pre-Polishing Tips (Finishing)

  1. Beth July 14, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

    Thanks Dave for the refresher! We are still out there and still learning from you!

    • Peggy Kinnetz July 18, 2016 at 10:38 am #

      Love your posts. Keep ’em coming. You keep me inspired.

      • Doug Napier July 19, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

        Thanks Peggy, That is good to hear.

  2. Doug Napier July 14, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    That’s cool, thanks. I will be here.
    Take care

    • Amanda July 15, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      Am still here learning and making!

      • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

        Good to hear Amanda!

  3. Stephanie July 14, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

    Thanks so much for the prepolishing tips Doug! Sometimes we forget these things. I’m still here!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

      Stephanie, you are welcome and glad to see you are still here.

  4. Jackie July 15, 2016 at 7:20 am #

    So good to see one of your posts! I always look forward to your tips and information. Thank you!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

      Jackie, you are welcome. I promise not to be gone so long in the future.

  5. Diane July 15, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    I’m still here! Glad you’re doing well.

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

      Diane, I am doing very well. Thanks, and glad you are still around.

  6. Sheryl July 15, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    Thanks! You are always so helpful!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:35 pm #

      You are welcome Sheryl.

  7. Dana July 15, 2016 at 7:43 am #

    I’ve been out of the loop for a little over a year, but I’m back with a new studio and full time devotion to making jewelry! I really struggle with finishing my pieces to look like perfection. I’m still learning, hopefully always will be, but with about 3 years of metalsmithing trial and error, I’m happy to say that my work is definitely improving, and a lot of the credit goes to your posts. Thank you Doug for sharing so unselfishly!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

      Dana, you are so welcome and posts like yours just fuels my fire. When I hear others getting value from anything I have done, I remember why I am here.

  8. Tals July 15, 2016 at 7:45 am #

    Thanks for these tips. I’m looking forward to learning from you as I am relatively new to the wonderful world of jewelry making.

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

      Tals, welcome to the world….. it is a good place.

  9. Amie July 15, 2016 at 8:01 am #

    Always look forward to your posts…re-runs or not. Learn a little something every time! Glad to hear you’re well!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      I am doing very well Amie, thanks. Learning is always a good thing.

  10. Jeff July 15, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    Never thought about tumbling before polishing. All I have is rouge impregnated pecan shells. Even that cleans things nicely. Then I could buff one more time

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

      Jeff, anytime you can put something in a machine and go do something else and have the machine do part of your work it is a good thing. We just need more machines to do the rest….. haha

  11. Ilse July 15, 2016 at 8:15 am #

    Great tips!

  12. Dee July 15, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    Always great tips from you Doug. Thank you

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

      Dee, I wish I had more time to devote to the site, it is my passion. I just need to find my balance and “groove”. I will…..
      Good to hear from you.

  13. Amy July 15, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    Thank you for the info:). Have a great weekend

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

      Thank you Amy, I will. You too.

  14. Shelly July 15, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    Hi Doug, glad you’re OK. I’ve missed your podcasts, so looking forward to hearing more from you. Lots of love, Shelly

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

      Thanks Shelly, I look forward to getting back to a rhythm, I am learning patience and balance….. still learning.

  15. Babette July 15, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    These were great tips! I am still a beginner. May always be at the rate I am going, he he. But I sure do enjoy getting your emails! Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

      Babette, keep at it, you will do good.

  16. Cathy Enright July 15, 2016 at 9:24 am #

    Thanks for this post Doug! I always appreciate your tips!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

      Cathy, you are welcome.

  17. Anne July 15, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    I’m new to your blog and already love it – thanks so much for sharing – I’m looking forward to sitting down and reading all you have already posted.

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

      Welcome Anne, stay a while, enjoy!

  18. Lesley Rahner July 15, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Question??? If one does not have a vibratory tumbler, can you use your rotary tumbler with ceramic media for the same result with cast pieces?

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

      Lesley, yes you can. you might have to play with the amount of time the pieces are in the tumbler though.

  19. Carolyn July 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Thank you!

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

      You are welcome Carolyn.

  20. Stephanie July 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    Thanks for the tips, Doug, pre-polishing is such a time saver! Glad you’re back!

  21. Kate July 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

    I always look forward to hearing from you! I appreciate all the tips you give.

    • Doug Napier July 15, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

      Kate, thanks, it is my joy.

  22. Marion July 15, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    So happy that you’re healthy and well! Again…thank you for sharing of yourself with your wealth of knowledge!!! Stay up!!! :~}

    • Doug Napier July 16, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

      Marion, it is good to be healthy again, I am feeling better than ever. #StillUp

  23. Noctis Jewerly July 16, 2016 at 12:21 am #

    Still here and still appreciating YOU and all you do!!!

    • Doug Napier July 16, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

      Thank you Noctis! I ain’t going anywhere…..

  24. Wallace July 18, 2016 at 2:37 am #

    Still here, Doug. Really appreciate all you do. Enjoying Instagram moments too.

    • Doug Napier July 19, 2016 at 6:40 pm #

      Wallace, thanks. Hopefully I keep you entertained with all my “unorthodox” Instagram posts.

  25. Sheree Wickes July 18, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    Glad you are doing well! Was just thinking I hadn’t seen any emails recently… Thank you for Sharing!!!

    • Doug Napier July 19, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

      Thanks Sheree, I am doing well. I will get back in the “groove” here real soon.

  26. CAS July 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    Thanks Doug I always enjoy your post, podcasts and coments. Look forward to all future information.

    • Doug Napier July 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

      Glad to be here for ya CAS, Thanks for the encouragement.