Many jewellers see polishing as a mundane job. In fact, it is one of the most important operations in the process of repairing or making jewellery. The final appearance of the jewellery to a large extent, will determine the acceptability of the work by the customer. A poor polish will make even the most expert workmanship look sloppy.
Buffing and polishing are the two procedures used to produce the final high luster on jewellery. These are two separate operations.
The first round od buffing is an abrasive process where a small amount of the surface is removed. Tripoli and Unipol are the most commonly used compound for buffing. It will remove minor scratches left from sanding and smooth out all surfaces.
The final high luster is achieved by polishing a second round with a softer buff and different polish compound. Polishing uses harder compounds such as rouge and Unipol gold. Varieties of rouges are available for different uses and are distinguished by their colour. With rouge, there is almost no cutting action; it burnishes the metal, moving the surface layer around to smooth the fine scratches left from buffing.
Never mix the polishing buffs. Once contaminated with even a slight amount of another polish ,it will not produce its normal mirror finish. Always clean off the jewellery and your hands after using tripoli to buff to avoid ” carry over” to the next buff.
SAFETY: Never raise the jewellery above a horizontal in line with the motor spindle, or lower it too far below. Both of these situations will cause the wheel to grab the item from your hand. Work should be pressed firmly against the wheel so that you feel the cutting action. A firm even pressure throughout the operation is preferred.
Move the piece constantly. Holding it for too long in one position may cut undesirable grooves in the metal or remove details and change the shape. Press the jewellery against the wheel, then move it downward, sideways, roll, rotate, in a figure of eight and position it so that the wheel reaches all possible areas of the metal.
Buff across solder joints rather than with the joint. If you buff with the joint, the solder will polish away quicker, leaving a groove in the metal.
For a professional looking finish, you need to start with the flex-shaft. Its small wheels and brushes will allow you to polish prongs and other delicate areas without damage, and reach areas inaccessible with the larger wheels. Then buffing and polishing on the larger polishing machine will result in a smooth even high luster, the work of a true professional.
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