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lopacki

Polishing Jade and such.

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I have been cutting a full range of stone since 1978, over the years I have encountered more than a few stones that were very hard to get the perfect polish on.

 

I am going to do my best to help those out there that have problems with polishing Jade to a water wet shine.

 

1) First and foremost if your carving is not smoothed out with burrs sanding and other approaches to exactly how you want it to look finished you’re going to encounter problems. I always finish whatever I am working on to a 600 mesh, once I think its ready to polish I check the entire surface with a ten power loupe, if I see any scratches no matter how small I continue to work on the piece until I can find no scratches under ten power.

 

2) If the piece is generally smooth I have no problem putting it into a tumbler to smooth it even further. I usually tumble in three steps, 600, 1200 and 14,000 mesh. I always do my final polish by hand no matter how good the tumble finish looks. I have learned over the years that there is no machine to give the hand finished look we are all looking for.

 

3)If not generally smooth but have large areas that will allow some wheel finishing (My largest wheel 2 ½ inches) I use wooden wheels, dowel rod and even tooth picks to get all of the nooks and crannies super smooth, usually the same steps mentioned above. I use a mixture of diamond powder and honing oil (very light oil) and apply it to the various wooden tools I am using on the project. Remember if you are using three different mesh diamond powder you will need a separate tool for each different mesh size. I keep each tool or wheel in a ziploc with the mesh size market on the outside.

 

4)If your working on something that is very irregular this can cause major problems especially in the low spots. Again finish everything low spots and all to the 600 finish, once here I have a trick for you that my 88 year old rock hunting friend taught me. I use boar hair rotary brushes on my Foredom bench lathe to take care of almost all the polishing except the small low areas. You can purchase this type brush down to tiny mandrel mounted as small as ½ inch. I have attached images below that show the brush I am talking about. Depending on what I am doing I have brushes charged with 360, 600, 1200, 14,000 and 50,000 mesh. I usually stop at 14,000 but once in awhile I will go all the way to 50,000.

 

5)When using the brushes I have vials with a mixture of mineral oil and diamond powder (it takes very little powder), I have tiny paint brushes that I apply this mixture to the rotary brush with, as the rotary brush spins slowly I will usually touch the piece I am working on lightly against the rotary brush and then lightly touch the small diamond/oil brush against the rotary brush. It is amazing but believe it or not all of the oil diamond mixture stays right on the brush bristles, I put a piece of white paper below the brush the first time I tried this technique to see how much got thrown off the brush, there were no oil spots on the paper when I was finished.

 

I do not have an intricate carving to show the results unless the Fire agate I post is considered intricate, this stone was finished with all of the techniques I have just discussed so you decide wether or not this will work for you.

 

If you have questions feel free to shoot me an email and I will do my best to give you a helpful answer.

 

Images below 2 jade beads finished to 50,000 mesh perfectly smooth and perfectly polished. A small fire agate that took around forty hours to finish to this point and last but not least the bench lathe and rotary brush.

 

All my best .......... Danny

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Daniel:

 

Thanks for adding this informed and authoritative information re: polishing. I just discovered the boar bristle wheels about a year ago myself.

 

I think the hardest part is not moving on until you finish with whatever grit you are working with. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go backwards in order to go forward. I don't always finish to more than either 600-1200, as the faces I generally carve don't look their best with a high gloss. But I carved a catfish a while back and took it up to 3000, and the shine was beautiful.

 

I'm so glad you are here and sharing all your knowledge with the folks here. Look forward to seeing your posts in the future.

 

Debbie K

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hello to all of you,this tip might help some of you with sanding and finishing gemstone carvings.i use cratex rubber bonded wheels and bullet points for sanding,you can run them against a steel file to shape them to get in a lot of hard to get areas.best regards,ken

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have any of you try to polish jade whit the same jade dust but very fine dust , I try it one time and it works very good but takes to loooong to get the fine gritt jajajajjaja you have to do all the proces by filtering the dust whit watter untill you get the finest dust , if diamonds are polish whit diamond dust becouse they are the same hardest ,why not the same whit jade ???? any coment welcome :rolleyes:

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Potters use a carefully prepared fine particle slip called 'terra sigillata' to produce a glossy, fired clay surface without a glaze. Clay of one's choice is mixed with water to be a very thin mixture which is then allowed to settle. The finest particles float longer than the larger/heaver parts of the clay and are on the top. The fine particles are poured off the top and used as a slip to cover the surface of the pottery before firing.

 

Would the slurry produced by working jade with water produce a similarly differentiated particle size mix that could be settled out, and then could one harvest only the finest particles from the top?

 

Janel

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hi janel, that's exsactly the proces, that I use it takes many many days but as it is too much is ok , you get allot of it and the shine is great I have only used on e sand paper # 2000 and it get very nice shine ,thanks for esplaing , my englhis is limited jajajajjajajajajajja :rolleyes:

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Hi Dante,

 

Your English is good enough to understand! Thank you for adding that the process takes time. Is there a way of knowing how much of the settled jade material is useful after it has settled or stratified?

 

What do you mean by using "on e sand paper", is that emery cloth (a finer grit than sand paper)? Do you put the jade slurry material on this?

 

 

Janel

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sorry , forgott the other question , yes is the regular black sand paper for stone the one you use whit watter or dry , thre are many grits , the one that is 2000 grit is for hig polish after you used then you put the jade slury and boalaaaaa :lol:

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sorry , forgott the other question , yes is the regular black sand paper for stone the one you use whit watter or dry , thre are many grits , the one that is 2000 grit is for hig polish after you used then you put the jade slury and boalaaaaa :lol:

 

hey dante, do you use the 2000 grit sand paper by hand or on a pad or some type?

what do you apply the jade dust slurry to, to polish ?

 

thanks

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hey dante, do you use the 2000 grit sand paper by hand or on a pad or some type?

what do you apply the jade dust slurry to, to polish ?

 

thanks

hi shane,sorry the slurry is to shine the stone for the final step,dont use by hand ,I make e wood plate whit e fomy base and on top glue e piece of sand paper or leather,not to fast ,thats for cabs ,for carvings ,I make from e sandells cut e piece drill e holle put e shank and spin slow so you can grinded to round shape,or any shape you need wans is don clean whit alcohol or azeton then glued any thing you need sandpaper or lether(dear lether works very good on jadeite) then you aply the slurry mix whit watter just like serium oxide is the same principle, I have only try this whit jadeitte as is that I use the most but in tehory it most work whit any stone I dont think neprhitte will be diferent, just try there is more to win then to lose no?? :lol: I put some pictures during the week of the prosses of the slurry and the tool I use and make the sanding and the shine, thanks for asking :P

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Daniel, just wanted to let you know that after you had mentioned boar-hair bristle dremel bits to me a week or two ago, I tracked some down from a professional carver that I met at a local gem and mineral show. He sold me several bits that fit a dremel, some of them finer hair and some of them stiffer hair. Bottom line is that the boar hair bits worked wonders on the obsidian carvings I've been working on! For some reason, the boar hair really delivered the diamond powder to the curved surfaces better than the wood bits and I was able to achieve very close to a water-wet polish.

 

I do have a couple of questions though. First of all, I can't seem to find very many places online that sell boar-hair bristle dremel bits or wheels for arbors. Can you possibly refer us to a website/s that sell these products?

 

Also, do you use the stiff bristle for 1200, and 3,000 grit diamond, and then use the fine bristle for any grit higher than that?

 

Thanks for your time, your information has been invaluable.

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Quinn,

Gald that you finally have had success with the polishing. I purchase all of my brushes from Indian Jewelers Supply in New Mexico. They have a website www.ijsinc.com the website leaves alot to be desired. If they still have their printed catalog this is much easier to find things in, call 505-722-4451 and ask for their tool catalog. In it they have a full selcetion of mounted and wood center boar hair brushes.

 

I find that the stiff ones seem to hold the diamond/oil mix very well so I have never used the soft bristle brushes so I can't give you feedback on them.

 

Once again I am glad that you finally found the soultion for your problem.

 

All my best ........... Danny

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