We like the antique look that the following steps give our finished jewelry. We offer them here as a suggestion only. You may find other methods that work better for you. With practice and experimentation, your options are limitless. We recommend these supplies: a brass brush or a burnishing wheel, a muslin buffing wheel, a yellow Chamois polishing wheel, white buffing and rouge compounds, Silver Black silver oxidizer, mild hand soap, a soft cloth towel, and paper towels.
J.B. cleans the cast piece with a wire brush
A recently cast piece will come out of the mold with dirt in the pock marks. Rinse it off in the final rinse water. Buff it on a steel brush wheel or with a brass hand brush, taking time to periodically re-wet the piece. This will get the dirt out and burnish the metal. Burnishing the piece gives a better polish by sealing the metal surface, preventing the polishing compounds from impregnating into the metal microscopically.
J.B. buffs the cast piece on a muslin buffing wheel.
To buff down rough and jagged edges, we use a yellow muslin buffing wheel with white buffing compound. Apply the white buffing compound to the wheel, saturating it completely. With both hands, hold the edge of the piece against the buffing wheel. Use enough pressure to wear the jagged edges down. Sometimes the jagged edges will catch on the muslin wheel and throw your piece across the room. It takes practice to learn how much pressure to apply. The metal will get hot if applied too long or pressed too hard, so be cautious. Periodically recharge the wheel with buffing compound when depleted and continue until the edges are smooth and the surface scratches are gone.
With a pure hand soap, like Ivory, and nothing but your fingers, gently rub the piece under water until it is clean. Dry it off with a soft cloth towel.
Apply Silver Black or other antiquing oxidizer to the piece with an eye dropper or paint brush. Let it sit under a hot lamp overnight until it is dry. This will produce the best results. If you are pressed for time you can skip the lamp and dry it with a paper towel, as we have done on occasion.
J.B. polishes the cast piece on a Chamois polishing wheel.
The piece is ready to polish. We use a Chamois polishing wheel with white rouge compound. Polishing the metal removes the antiquing from the highlights, giving the piece a more contrasted look. Polish the surface much the same way you buffed the edges of the piece. However, apply pressure lightly so as not to remove too much of the antiquing from the crevices. Continue polishing until you are satisfied with the results. You can obtain a bright, rich luster.
Clean the piece a final time with hand soap and your fingers. You may even want to wash your hands before doing this. Definitely do not use a brush to clean at this stage. Dry the piece with a soft cloth towel to avoid scratching it. You now have a piece of jewelry, hand crafted by you, which is ready to hang as a pendant, to be used on a bolo tie, or for whatever you want. Enjoy.
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