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Thread: Cleaning a piece after polishing

  1. #1
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    Default Cleaning a piece after polishing

    Quick question (hopefully!) - what's the best way to clean a piece after polishing? I find that polishing compound gets stuck in the back of stone settings and in the hallmark which I can't get out. I wash in soapy water with a soft brush then use a combination of a pin to pick out bits of polish followed by a sonic cleaner and cotton buds but there's always something left in there...it bugs me!

    Thanks!
    V

  2. #2
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    I think everyone will tell you that an ultrasonic cleaner will do the job. I only have a cheap 20 one that needs hot water and 3 or 4 goes but it does the job, you can actually watch the vibration take the compound out and I've put chains in and it cleans them perfectly. It depends what you want to spend or how much time is a factor

  3. #3
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    Maybe my sonic cleaner isn't very good then as even after quite a few goes there's still polishing compound stuck in there...?

  4. #4
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    I had a sonic cleaner and it was rubbish, didnt do anything. I just put my stuff in the tumbler and leave for a couple of hours, comes out really shiny.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victoria View Post
    Maybe my sonic cleaner isn't very good then as even after quite a few goes there's still polishing compound stuck in there...?
    You really need hot water and washing up liquid as strong as possible, that was all we used at college back in the day and a toothbrush

  6. #6
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    Ok will try with really hot water. Would a toothbrush not mark the metal/take off the polish?

    Tumblers...there's a whole other problem! I find that tumblers leave a pitted effect on the surface of the metal and so I get a better smoother finish by polishing by hand. But I'm probably doing something else wrong there!

  7. #7
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    I gave up on my ultrasonic - both a cheap one and a not so cheap one (but I work mainly with silver clay so am wondering if the two don't get on, one day I will stick some "real" silver in it and see if it comes out with white scars like my silver clay does!) Anyway... I find hot water and washing up liquid works pretty well, if you have time to leave it to soak overnight then it all comes off really easily with a blast under a hot tap... tumbling also gives me a headache - I got rid of all the pins and just use the round shot - works better on flat surfaces but not so good if you have a piece with small fiddly areas... can't win em all!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victoria View Post
    Ok will try with really hot water. Would a toothbrush not mark the metal/take off the polish?

    Tumblers...there's a whole other problem! I find that tumblers leave a pitted effect on the surface of the metal and so I get a better smoother finish by polishing by hand. But I'm probably doing something else wrong there!
    I've always used a soft toothbrush with no problems Victoria. Our workshop had industrial strength washing up liquid, a hot tap and a toothbrush, I don't know if ultrasonics hadn't been invented in the 70s or our silversmiths just didn't approve

  9. #9
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    Thanks Caroline, sometimes the simplest methods are the best! And a sonic cleaner is no quicker than a quick scrub with a toothbrush. Off to soak the ring now in hot water...

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has problems with the pins in the tumbler Melanie - and I find it gives me a headache as well! I now only use it for my textured cufflinks as it cleans the cufflink arms nicely and the pitting doesn't show on a textured surface.

  10. #10
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    If you are using rouge or tripoli, it's the fat base that gets into the crevices. Luxi isn't quite so bad. You could try softening the fat in hot water and then try the ultrasonic if you still have it, it does really harden when cold

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