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The Secret to the Shine

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

When it comes to getting that high polish finish on a piece of jewellery, the secret is all in the prep work.

Never under estimate the power of sanding. It's really important to work through every grade starting with 240 grit and working your way up to 1200 - 1500 grit.


What type of paper?


We use wet & dry type sandpaper. The grit is silicone carbide and the adhesive makes it water proof, which makes it quite durable. This is also used in the auto


motive industry for panel and paint work. When the sandpaper is dry is when it takes off the most material, it can be used wet in the polishing process as the water works a lubricant, however this is not necessary.



How do you use it?

Sandpaper can be used as-is, and it's great for getting into all the nooks and crannies. We recommend cutting or tearing the sandpaper up into small pieces, and folding it over a couple of times. Folding it makes the paper a little more sturdy, so you get a better "sanding" action, also you can fold or roll it into the shape you need for getting into tight spots.

If you are working on bigger items with straight lines such as a ring, taping sandpaper to a flat stick so it's secure, will give a firm surface to add pressure to, making your sanding more efficient as it covers more of the piece on each stroke and giving some resistance. For the inside of rings, using a piece of dowel covered in sandpaper is a real time saver.


Always follow the shape of your piece to avoid uneven spots. For example, if you are sanding a ring, sand in a curved motion that follows the silhouette of the ring.

If you were sanding a large piece or the edge of a ring, laying it flat on your sandpaper and using a figure-8 motion will allow you to sand evenly without creating tapered or uneven spots. Sanding with a straight back and forwards or side to side motion can end up with a taper, as we tend to put a bit more pressure on our work in one direction than the other.


When do you move to the next grit?

The trick to this is to look at your work under good light. When the grit you are using no longer makes a difference, it's time to move to the next one.

However, if you discover a mark has appeared and seems to take a really long time to get rid of it using finder sandpaper, you need to go back to 240 grit. It is then really important to go back over the grades of paper in that area, to bring the surface up to the level you previously achieved. You might find it easier to do the whole piece again as it may be too hard to blend the two areas. Remember - though this seems really frustrating - rushing through stages will result in an uneven and non-refined final polish.


Final Tips...

It is important to sand in the same direction to achieve a high polish. Sanding in different directions can create some really cool effects if you are wanting a matte finish.


Some people can find sanding tedious and a frustrating process, or you could be one of the lucky ones who find it relaxing and meditative.


Happy sanding,

Debs.



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