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Thread: Mirror finish to silver clay pieces

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    25

    Default Mirror finish to silver clay pieces

    Hi I'm new to the forum and would be really grateful for any advice!
    I've been making silver fingerprint/hand/footprint jewellery for a little while now but have noticed that the pieces in some online shops look much more shiny and reflective than mine. I've been sanding pre- and post-firing with sanding sponges (180, 220 and then 280) and then polishing but was wondering if there is anything else I could be using that would achieve a mirror finish (preferably without investing in any kind of machinery!)
    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    1,744

    Default

    could be photoshop? Though it depends what yours look like now. Maybe post a picture?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Birmingham, UK
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    What polishing compounds do you use?

    To achieve a mirror polish, I use a variety of different compounds depending on the piece. I love using radial discs for most projects because they're so flexible and versatile. I do the basic sanding then follow with yellow, blue then green radial discs. You can achieve a near mirror finish with the green radial disc but it's best to finish with rouge on a nice soft mop. I also use eveflex rubber polishing cylinders, they're fab

    As medusa said, lots of people add effects to their photographs during editing that may make the pictures appear much more shiny.

  4. #4
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    dear old Blighty - (in deepest Wiltshire)
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    Will add a little more to this.

    High lustre finish will require no more tools than mentioned, just the right compound. Rouge is lovely, but if you can spare some funds, try Luxi-White. I love a mirror finish on my items. To prevent dulling - don't mix your mops and different polish compounds. Keep your mops with the compounds so you don't mix them up (pendant drill mops) or a for those readers with a bigger machine... have a zip bag with your mops and polish. At the moment, Cousins UK are doing samples on some lovely compounds. The samples are from the Menzerna range and will last you a very long while. You could go for the yellow compound.

    Make sure you have a nice fresh fluffy mop (use an old fork to rake the old compound out a little if you are using an existing mop) and away you go. Not too slowly, but equally not so fast that your item flys out of your hands into the ether or on the cat's tail (ooops - but to be fair, it was a long time ago, well okay five years ago, and she still loves me). Make sure you do have something covering your eyes and wear a mask to filter out the muck that flies about)

    Finally, don't forget to rinse of the polish - nice bit of hot soapy water and then rinse and dry. I must confess I do have an ultrasonic, but have been known to avoid using it where possible as it is so noisy.

    must confess this works for me, but I love the high gloss polish, as I mentioned earlier. You can use the micro sanding cloths that go to a very high grit - but it is very labour intensive on the shoulders and neck!

    sorry, got a little carried away - I love polishing!
    Last edited by Wallace; 15-03-2013 at 10:51 PM.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    Thank-you for your detailed replies! Which have made me realize how ignorant I am! When I started making the fingerprint jewellery I bought a package which included all the tools and materials, which as I mentioned included sanding sponges (that come in sheets and you just cut off a small piece and sand by hand). The polish is just a pale pink liquid that came in a little bottle. I wasn't even aware of the existence of discs and mops and compounds! Sorry for my ignorance but I'm guessing the discs and mops attach to some kind of tool?! Would be very grateful if you could elaborate! Sorry!
    Many thanks!

  6. #6
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    Feb 2011
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    most of us use either a bench polisher like this http://www.rutlands.co.uk/workshop-&...ener-&-grinder There are much much cheaper models and you can convert old bench grinders as well. This was just the one I found fastest.

    or we use a pendant drill, see discussion here: http://www.cooksongold.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2810 Dremel do cheap versions and you can sometimes get really cheap ones in Lidl or aldi. Apply tripoli http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery...prcode-998-198 as a first polish and then rouge http://www.cooksongold.com/category_...omSuggest=true as a final polish. There are loads of other compounds which you can get and everyone has a preference, but those are the basics.

    What you really need to avoid is getting the tripoli on the actual print especially if it's the regular PMC and not the new sterling. pure silver (which is what you get from regular PMC is very soft and the tripoli will strip the print very fast. I'd also be cautious about using the rouge on the print as well, personally. mask it with masking tape and that will help to protect it.

    Whether it is worth investing in all this depends very much on how much making you intend doing. I suppose in theory it is possible to apply the compounds by hand and use a lot of elbow grease.

    But to be honest, most PMC pieces I see don't seem to have that high a shine on them. Maybe you are looking at sterling pieces?

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