Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Fire Polishing Jewellery

Sometimes jewellery pieces come out of the kiln with imperfections that need to be ground away.

You can do a quick shaping on the conventional grinder and then fire polish. However, you will not get a fire polish at a low enough temperature to avoid distorting the piece. The way to get a fire polished surface or edge is to make the edge less rough before putting the glass into the kiln.

After you shape the pieces on the grinder, make sure you scrub them well to remove any particles created by the grinding process. Dry them and then cover the rough areas with a white paint marker. This will indicate when you have removed the scratches caused by the previous rougher grinding.

Get out your wet and dry sandpapers. Start with the most coarse (about 200) and work the ground area until the paint has been removed. Keep the sandpaper and the area being worked damp. When all the white paint has been sanded away, wash, dry, paint and go to the the next finer grit. Repeat this with progressively finer grits – normally use the grit number twice the previous grit (larger numbers indicate finer grits).

Normally, going down to 400 or 600 grit will be enough to enable a fire polish at a low enough temperature to avoid distortion of your piece. This heat range will be at a low temperature tack fuse.

This smoothing process does not take very long and is much cheaper than buying several finer grinding bits - most grinder bits are 60 to 80 grit, although it is possible to get bits up to 600 grit.