This is where the rubber meets the road in the jewelry-making process. Finishing can make or break a piece.
With casting, if care is taken with the wax (ie. making sure the wax if very smooth, free of nicks and scratches, and nice and even) then your finished piece will be that much easier to clean up.
I’m going to be very meticulous with the finishing here, because I really want these rings to be beautiful and shiny. They are, after all, wedding rings, and need to be extra special anyway!
Check out our starting point:
First step in finishing; filing off the remnants of the sprues. We’re left with hearty balls on the band after the casting; and its no easy task to file that down with hand tools to make the bands smooth and even again. The goal is to make sure one would never know it was there. That takes some time, and some elbow grease.
I save my gold filings for use in future projects. It may seem like overkill to keep gold powder/dust, but it adds up for future use.
Once the band is even again it gets a nice light sanding. I used a Foredom tool with a coarse then a fine sanding drum to make the work easier. It cleaned up it very nicely.
Once the sanding is complete; it’s over to the polishing wheel for a liberal coating of Tripoli compound; a waxy paste that is mildly abrasive. It can quickly and easily remove the fine marks the sanding has left, and is the first of the polishing steps to ensure a mirror finish.
After the tripoli does its work, the rings get a quick scrub in soap and water, and then on to the second phase of polishing compound; Red Rouge. This is where the rings buff up like a dream. A few minutes under the rouge wheel and they shine.
Another quick scrub up, and….. they’re done.
It’s been months of slow work (I had the privilege of being able to take my time with these) but I’m VERY happy with how they turned out. This work could be done in just a couple of days, but it was also a learning process for me I had no desire to rush. It also helped that my brother asked me to do these last fall.
The wedding is July 27th. I hope you’ll join me in wishing the newlyweds-to-be a lifetime of happiness … and great looking jewelry.