Monday, March 15, 2010

Studio Tour Part 3: Polishing

Polishing is integral to how I create jewelry. I like the look of a polished piece, and it is sometimes difficult to achieve. Often, items that are finished with a high polish are polished many times during the building process. Each of the parts are often polished before they are attached together. In this way, tiny spaces that are made from the attachment are pre-polished underneath, yet every time something is soldered to the piece, some of the shine is lost, and the whole piece may need polished again! This is especially true when working in silver as opposed to gold, which keeps it's shine better (not perfectly) through the soldering process.
This is the polishing area of my shop. Keeping it clean from the dust that flies when polishing is important to continuously achieving a serious shine. A powerful dust collector is very helpful in this matter, but even with one of these, there are particles that collect on the countertop. I keep a dustpan and brush close by to clean up before and after working here. That dust has metal in it, so I keep a bucket underneath to collect the dust for refining.
The wheels for each grit abrasive are kept in baskets with their respective compounds. Keep lots of fresh wheels handy. If items are not cleaned thoroughly between tripoli and rouge, they will contaminate a rouge wheel quickly. It is also a good idea to keep separate wheels for different metals.
Because I do a lot of polishing, I have started to wear gloves. They are similar to nitrile gloves, and simply tear away if caught in a wheel. I have heard a few conflicting philosophies on this matter. I have seen folks wearing nitrile or even heavier gloves while polishing. I have heard others say that it is dangerous to wear gloves while polishing because they may get caught in the wheel and cause injury to your hands. I am interested in any thoughts on this matter. As a teacher, I am uncertain what to tell my students about this as well.
My aloe plant happens to be in this picture, so I have to make note of it. I have had this big guy since he was just a cutting from another plant, and he loves it in my shop. I think my steam cleaner gives him the perfect level of No jewelry studio is complete without an aloe plant. It is good Feng Shui to share your workspace with healthy plants :)

1 comment:

  1. When I grow up I want to be you! I really need to get more organized around here. After taxes Layne - I swear, then I will post my studio pictures.
    Seriously, I'm really enjoying your posts, helping me plan for the future when I get my metalworking area together. Thanks so much for sharing!