Polishing Gold?
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Joined: November 01, 2010
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Polishing Gold?
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Posted on Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:38 am
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Hi,
I have tried searching and maybe I'm using the wrong terms but the only polishing info I've seen on here is about steel, copper, bronze, aluminum and a little on silver.

I just got a rotary tumbler and have finished a JPL3 in white and rose gold. The rings that I got (from TRL) were a satin finish of 14 Karat gold fill. I want these to be a high shine finish since they will be gifts to people who like shinys (like anyone doesn't).

From the little I found scouring jewelry sites it seems that mixed stainless shot (meaning different sizes and shapes) with water and blue dawn for ~4-6 hrs will get it moderately shiny, then polishing with a polishing rogue and a flannel rag and putting it in an ultrasonic bath for 45mins will get it pretty darn sparkley.

So my questions are:
Is this information accurate?
Will the "Gold Fill" get too worn away by 4 hours of tumbling and reveal the brass interior?
Is there something better?

Thank you in advance! (I promise to post before and after pictures once it is done!)

Joined: December 06, 2010
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Posted on Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:28 am
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The steel shot burnishes the metal, it does not abrade it, so the cladding should not be adversely impacted by the tumbling. Please note that unless the shot is fairly fine, it will only polish the outside/exposed surfaces and any area untouched by the shot will retain its satin finish. Rouge will bring up a nice luster, though 5-10 minutes in the cleaner should be more than enough to remove the traces of polish left behind.

One thing, using dish-washing soap will gradually deteriorate the drum lining. I would suggest getting some burnishing soap which does not affect the rubber.

Best regards

Joined: May 07, 2008
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Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:49 am
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slagoon: You don't need fear destroying the gold layer on 'gold fill', as it's not only a thin gold plated brass wire, but has a relatively thick gold layer on the brass core. And this layer should last virtually 'forever' during normal use of a piece of jewellery - including cleaning.

So if you use a non-abrasive (or only slightly abrasive) cleaning method, you will be always fine with Gold Fill wire. Tumbling with stainless ball shot is (as jldoggett already wrote) a non-abrasive cleaning method; even mixed ball/pin shot that works also in tighter spots won't harm you jewellery.

But note, that your shot should be really clean, and must have had already some 'break-in' time. So if this is your first tumbling, with new shot, let run it alone (without your jewellery) but with burnishing soap, for several hours. Do frequent water changes every half hour or so during this breakin tumble, until the water remains clear after some tumbling time. And THEN you may tumble your jewellery with that shot. And I would use rouge or other (even finest) abrasives only, if deburring had to be done - but never for burnishing/cleaning a piece.

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
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Posted on Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:19 pm
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Ok cool - thanks. Can you recommend a good burnishing soap or at least what to look for/avoid?

Joined: May 07, 2008
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Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:08 pm
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The (valid) standard recommendation is Blue Dawn, the classic, non-perfume, non-skin-care version. I use it myself, besides a dedicated 'brightener' tumbling soap I use from time to time to shine up my tumbling media. Shiny media result in shiny jewellery - gunky media will transfer gunk to the tumbled pieces. So, keep your media clean, and you won't rue...

BTW: When using soap the key to clean results is to use NOT too much soap - just as much as necessary to 'break' surface tension, and to hold rub-off in the water - usually one drop of dawn per liter water (or some drops per gallon) suffice. More is used by me only when pre-tumbling fresh cut rings before weaving, to remove any oily residues originating from cutting fluid or even the wire factory. And I cannot tell it too often: Always prefer several shorter-time tumble sessions with water exchange over one long-duration one...

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: November 01, 2010
Posts: 18
Submissions: 6

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Posted on Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:47 am
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Thank you so much - I ordered my shot this morning and once it comes in I think I have a handle on what I need to do. I'm really excited - I think this is gunna be great. Again I'll throw some before and after pics in

Joined: November 01, 2010
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Way overdue on showing before and after
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Posted on Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:38 pm
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Sorry guys, I got way behind on my "to do" list and I'm finally uploading a before and after shot of the JPL 20G gold filled necklace before it was tumbled and after. I tumbled for about 1 day total with water changes every 2 hours or so.

Joined: August 18, 2008
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Posted on Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:04 pm
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Wow! Thats amazing how good it turned out! I thought the color of the gold-fill when they ship it is the true color! Sad

Now i got to shine mine up!


BigTitann~

Joined: November 01, 2010
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Posted on Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:06 pm
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Yeh I had been fairly less than thrilled with the colors - but then after shining they got much more like the stuff you see at a jewelry store.

Also I used the exact same camera setting and lighting so I wouldn't misrepresent the images

Joined: August 18, 2008
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Posted on Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:40 am
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I shined up all my sterling and Gold-fill today. Ketchup... it works well! Not quite as good as yours I bet. But It made me happy!!!


~BigTitann~

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