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Thread: Cleaning a piece after polishing

  1. #11
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    I have a decent ultrasonic tank, but rarely use it, as it takes forever to heat up and also leaves weird white marks on my pieces that then need re-polishing out.

    I find a mug full of boiling water, left to cool for a few minutes, and washing up liquid, put silver pieces in and leave till the water is just about cool enough to stick your fingers in, then a bit of a scrub with an old soft toothbrush removes pretty much everything. I've also found that Luxi and Menzerna polishes are far easier to remove than rouge and tripoli.

  2. #12
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    I've tried the toothbrush and detergent method and it works pretty well. But someone in the family recently gave me a platinum solitaire diamond ring (approx 1930's vintage ) and a gold three stone diamond ring from around the same era to clean. They were well encrusted with grime and it took many repeated immersions and goings-over with the toothbrush until I'd got all the grime out. And when I looked at them with a 30x loupe I could see that I hadn't got it all out; there were still bits I'd missed around the pavilions of the stones.

    I'm toying with the idea of an ultrasonic, and one of the small Elma models looks attractive. Does anyone have any opinions on or experience of them?

  3. #13
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    Some points:

    True ultrasonic baths have the power to create tiny bubbles in the solution. This is called cavitation and gives the detergent effect for cleaning. The higher specification also have a heater and a timer.
    If you buy a counterfeit model as described here you might be disappointed: http://www.elma-ultrasonic.com/en/home.html.

    Lastly, if you have an antique piece with tiny stones, more aggressive cleaning might cause them to drop out. Dennis.

  4. #14
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    I soaked the ring I was working on yesterday and it has eventually come up clean and shiny. Going to buy a cheap kids toothbrush today!

    That's interesting about the different polishes - I've certainly found that the tripoli in particular is a swine to remove as it gets really stuck in there. Unfortunately I've got a massive block of the stuff and it seems really wasteful to not use it...wonder if there's any way to recycle it..?

    Next question - which Luxi to get as there's loads of different ones?! Any recommendations on which are best and in which order? I use a pendant drill rather than polishing by hand with a cloth.

  5. #15
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    I have an Elma S30H - heated, 2.75l. That's about big enough for 2 good sized bangles. The saga of where it was purchased has been covered before... The manufacturer's support has been excellent however. It is very effective at removing polish residues as well as general gunk - although as Dennis says, cleaning rings can loosen the dirt that's holding the stones in so I'd always put something like that into a teaball. Read up on your stones before cleaning any in the ultrasonic - there's a lot are not suitable for it, so have to be done with the toothbrush still. I did a repair on an opal ring last week; that's one to *never* put in an ultrasonic (as with AFAIR all the organic-origin stones - amber, pearl, mother of pearl etc.)

    Doing one or two items with a toothbrush is fine - yesterday I was doing about 20 at a time though.

    On the Luxi, there are 2 polishes for low speed use, one's green; the other purple. They're what I'm using at the moment with a micromotor (unless it's platinum, in which case I use different polishes).

    Forgot to add - I also have one of the cheaper ones which I use if I need something quick (heating time!). So long as I use hot water and a drop of detergent it cleans polish residues very effectively; it's a little less effective on built-up gunk as the transducer is less powerful.
    Last edited by ps_bond; 13-06-2014 at 08:34 AM.

  6. #16
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    See I'd assumed that low speed meant polishing with a cloth rather than a motor? It looks like the blue one is roughly equivalent to tripoli? And I'll just carry on using the rouge I've already got...

  7. #17
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    I've got the Cooksons one. It works quite well but is very noisy and sets my teeth on edge. My main problem is finding things to put items in so that they don't scratch each other. Most of the supports you can buy are too big for mine. I use a flat nylon sieve which I bought for enamelling and a plastic coated pronged thing but sometimes things still come out with a faint white mark which then has to be polished off again. I also have a piece of wire which is bent into zigzags for things with bails or holes but sometimes they touch the bottom. Nightmare!

    Oh and on the polish front, most of us use Menzerna nowadays as it's better than all the others.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victoria View Post
    See I'd assumed that low speed meant polishing with a cloth rather than a motor?
    No, it's low linear speed. A 20mm felt turning at 10krpm on a pendant drill, micromotor or Dremel has a linear speed of 10.47ms-1 (and for buffs I wouldn't run them faster than that), while a 75mm buff on a 4800rpm polishing motor spindle has a linear speed of 18.85ms-1. Go up to a 100mm buff on the same spindle and it's moving at 25ms-1.
    Last edited by ps_bond; 13-06-2014 at 09:02 AM.

  9. #19
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    I rarely use polishing compounds, so I'm not a great authority, But Menzerna polishes are all the rage now, either from Sutton tools or bought on line. So consider those. they started life as car polishes but have had great reviews in the Jewellery trade. Dennis.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=me...en-GB:official

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by caroleallen View Post
    I use a flat nylon sieve which I bought for enamelling and a plastic coated pronged thing but sometimes things still come out with a faint white mark which then has to be polished off again.
    Those faint marks Carole are caused by the sonic bath itself. In a more economical bath the sonic "generator" is located in one position causing an etching effect on the piece as it is actually too intense, you may be able to remedy this by relocating your piece in the bath.
    Poor old Les

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